Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ella Graduated

This is a delayed report on the outcome of Ella's Good Manners class.

Ella finished her basic obedience class. Most of the time she stood by while we, the people, struggled to learn how to behave. The class started with five dogs and ended with three. Peewee, the wiggly giddy pit, and Carter the emotional lab dropped by the wayside. The other two graduates were Zoey, a beautiful border collie mix, and Dancer, a jack russell with groucho marx eyebrows. We enjoyed every minute of the class. We bonded with the other dog owners over our efforts, and cheered on the four legged students when they showed off their new skills.

Ella now understands sit, down, stay and leave it (great cue to use when your dog finds that dead thing on the road). She also learned to target which is when you open your hand and the dog touches it with its nose. This skill is used to train dogs to touch other objects. For instance, you want to teach your dog to ring a bell when it needs to go out. Our instructor taught her dog to close cabinet doors with targeting.

In order to graduate each dog had to do two tricks. Ella already knew how to crawl. It was something she did naturally and we just added a cue.

Scott taught her to spin and to loop through his legs in a figure eight. We missed seeing the other dogs' tricks due to scheduling conflicts, but I can just imagine Zoey doing something outstanding and athletic and Dancer, well, dancing. I'll miss seeing them every week. Maybe we'll see them in a future class. We plan to take Ella on to the next level which is Canine Good Citizen. That one will be a challenge as they have to pass a test at the end that requires them to handle crowds, loud noises and other distractions, along with more obedience skills.

I recommend the basic obedience to anyone who has a dog, no matter what age. It taught us alot about dog behavior and how we are constantly giving dogs signals with our bodies. It helped to be learning with other dogs and their owners because we could see the dogs responses to cues given properly and improperly. So, if you and your four legged friend have been having communication issues, grab that leash and sign up for a class.


jaded1 said...

She seems very proud of herself too!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Ella and to the both of you. I hope Ella got a nice doogie treat.

Bloggerwife said...

Ella got lots of dog treats. We had to keep her away from the instructor, because she would go up to her and sit in front of her for treats! Along with her certificate, which she is very smug about, the trainer gave her a frisbee and a new toy to play with.

Anonymous said...

My dog Alfie also graduated from that class. It has been about 6 months since he graduated and sit is the only command he really stuck with. Although I know that those classes were for me more than him.
Congrats Ella!