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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sit Lulu Sit!

Lulu and I started puppy training classes two weeks ago and let's just say we both need a lot of work.  At our first session we spent the majority of the time teaching our puppies to sit--which I thought Lulu did pretty well already.   But evidently to master the sit command means only having to say it once--- it is not the case with my kids, how can I expect that with my dog? 

Anyway, we worked on the one "sit" command followed by a treat and plenty of time in between each "sit" and she picked it up pretty quickly. We then moved on to puppy etiquette--or no jumping on people.  This is a tough one for Lulu.   She gets so excited when someone approaches her, especially if it is someone she knows.   We practiced having our dogs sit while the trainers came by to shake our hands and after several rounds, Lulu seemed to get it.  

After spending 40 or so minutes working on these behaviors we let the dogs off their leashes for "puppy playtime."  Lulu was one scared little pooch.  She wanted no part of the puppy sniffing rituals.  I could just picture her thinking "no, means no" as one dog sniffed around her nether-regions.  As she tried to cower behind my legs,  I was instructed to ignore her and walk away, that by bending down to pet her I was coddling her and reinforcing her skittish behavior.  "Oh no," I thought to myself, "I'm teaching her to be a wall flower!"   I did what I was told and walked away (and believe me, it was tough) and sure enough she started to mingle.  Before I knew it she was running around with Cooper the adorable Goldendoodle having a great time.   

At the end of the session, the trainer reminded us that even though the pooches did an outstanding job that evening, that generalizing these behaviors out in the real world would be slow to come. Based on the past two weeks,  it is evident that Lulu is no Emily Post and we have a long road to travel.  

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