Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back to School...

To make sure that we have done our homework diligently, we always repeat what we learnt in previous lessons. In the next class we learnt how to make our pups sit and lie down. We also had to walk our pups on different surfaces so they don't balk when they encounter something strange like gravel, metal, wood or plastic bubble wrap.

The following week was quite challenging. The pups had to learn to jump over obstacles, walk the plank and hopscotch across a rope ladder to help co-ordination.

Then they were introduced to strange noises and shapes in order to desensitise them. A DVD of thunder and lighting was played as background noise. Jamie did not like that! Someone in big gumboots and a large bright umbrella stomped around causing chaos. There were also large stuffed toys with their own sound effects scattered around.

But the piece-de-resistance was a large black garbage bin. When it rumbled loudly into the courtyard the pups scattered in all directions. I had to keep remembering that though one's instinct is to comfort and mollycoddle, this would be interpreted by the pups as encouraging fearful behaviour.

We also forget to praise them when they are sitting quietly and behaving well. We make the mistake of reacting only to negative behaviour. Our dogs still see that as getting attention.

So I try to remember when Jamie is being an angel to tell him so!

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