Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We had a very successful puppy class this morning, in spite of a power outage and me forgetting the camera. Not that I would have been able to take pictures anyway, because my hands were completely full with Rockwell.

I had picked up the car yesterday so this morning, it was merely a matter of loading him into the passenger seat, after I covered it with layers of towels, and heading out. Because of the power outage, the traffic lights were out and I had to do a four way stop manoeuver at every light between here and there. But we made it without incident. The power was out at the little barn where the puppy class was held but we had light if not heat and we were enthusiastic.

There were three other dogs and their puppywalkers there - Rockwell’s sister, another female yellow Lab and a little black Lab female. Rockwell’s sister barked the most and the little black Lab had been to the most classes and acted very grown up. Rockwell initially was ballistic and I let him off the leash for a few minutes. Then we had to start work. He lunged at everything that went by him, including the instructor. There were some children there too and they served as great distractions for the dogs. I noticed that Rockwell’s sister was the same in terms of being easily distracted, so I didn’t feel so bad about Rockwell.

Once he settled down a little, he showed some of the benefits of our work together. In fact, he was the best on the class at “stay”, of all things. I had to make him sit at one end of the little arena and wait while I walked to the other end and then call him to come. I left him there and he looked off to the side at the other dogs but stayed in his spot. When I got to the other end I said his name to get his attention and asked him to wait some more. The tension grew appreciably and then I called him to me and he ran down the carpet and into my arms! Practically Hollywood.

I am most encouraged by this class and it shows that the baby steps are paying off. I expect by the summer, Rockwell will be a wonder dog. Sometimes.


At 5:45 p.m., March 15, 2006, Blogger M-Fax said...

I am sure he is already a wonder dog!

At 5:57 p.m., March 15, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

MFax, maybe a wonder dog as in "I wonder what I am going to do with him now!" Sometimes he could try the patience of a saint. But I do see improvement and we are all looking forward to being outside more as the weather improves.

At 6:08 p.m., March 15, 2006, Blogger Natalie said...

Yay Rockwell and Julia! I think you're doing an awesome job with him and I'm sure he'll grow out of that "I wonder what I'm going to do with him" stage soon! ;)

At 8:37 p.m., March 15, 2006, Blogger 8675309 said...

Julia, I've often said that one of the best things about doing this act of service is being able to hang out with the community of other puppy raisers -- my "puppy meetings" are always very encouraging, and it sounds like your class was encouraging as well.

It sounds like you're doing a terrific job with Rockwell. Keep up the great work, and know that your readers are part of your community too!

At 3:17 a.m., March 16, 2006, Blogger Amy and Winter said...

Yay Rockwell and Julie! I love training classes! At first the dogs are sooooo distracted but once they start working, wow! Keep up the good work! And good luck with classes, they help a lot and once you can get him going through his paces surrounded by other dogs, strangers and kids...he should work so much better outside of class as well.

Buhbye, Amy & Polaris

At 4:45 p.m., March 16, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Nat, Jenny and Amy - you guys are great for keeping me encouraged too. On our walk today, he tried to have a hissy fit and I snapped the leash down and he came right out of it! And we walked very nicely all the way home.


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