Posted by: kathandroger | May 14, 2017

Dog Class.

I have had dogs around for many years now, and have never taken any of them to dog classes. They have all been reasonably well behaved and have done all I wanted them to, but we felt that with our new pup Polly that she would maybe benefit from some French education; she could become bilingual at least. So we enrolled her in the local class outside a little village about half an hour away, only to find that the main teacher comes from our own village! The site of the “education center” is on a couple of fields covering a few acres, and contains an obstacle course for the expert older dogs to practice on before entering agility competitions.IMG_3739We both have ambitions that Polly will become the local and then international champion over courses like this, but first she has to learn to listen to commands and stop rolling onto her back for tummy tickles! Anyway she loves the classes, which honestly are really useless for training dogs, but quite useful for training owners. The dogs are grouped according to age, and we are in the first class still, usually about eight animals of about six months or so. And do they love it! The first activity yesterday was to let all the dogs off the lead and let them run around together in the larger fenced field. I wish I had a fraction of the energy of a young dog; they bound about in games of chasing and trying to knock each other over and generally have a lovely time. The only problem comes when the instructress (they are invariably female) asks us to call the dogs back. Absolutely no notice is taken of the owners, a problem worsened by the fact that we have one Mila, one Masha, and two Mayas. The owners shrieking at the top of their voices at non responding canines is an real entertainment. The acknowledged method is to tempt the animal back with varied food treats, but often that means that one owner is overwhelmed by the marauding pack of dogs, and the others just carry on shouting in vain at the wayward animal. I have the enviable ability, since my teeth were renewed, of being able to whistle very loudly, and Polly often responds and comes back, to my immense pride and to the obvious but hidden jealousy of the other owners. Eventually the dogs are recaptured and often rest exhausted for a while.IMG_3741The young dogs have their mini obstacle course, a couple of which can be seen above. Polly was a bit nonplussed the first week we attended, but now finds it all a bit too easy, and can’t understand why the some other dogs are frightened by the seesaw and the tunnel. She is a very confident little dog; too much so on occasions, like when I opened our upstairs window to let her see outside and she decided to jump! I literally only just managed to grab her in mid air. A fall of several metres would have dented her confidence!

Dog classes are great fun and important for socializing the animals. All too often dogs are scared of others and fight, when with more contact at a young age would, I am sure, prevent the problem. For teaching dogs the basic commands I find them pretty useless, as all can be done much more easily at home when the dogs’ full attention can be gained. But they are good for sharing problems and teaching owners how to handle their animals, and above all they are a real good laugh. We shall continue.


Responses

  1. Brilliant! This looks like very good fun. Maybe you can teach Sonny a few tricks on your next visit!! Love Mare x

  2. I’ve suggested to my aged dad that he starts taking his dog to classes. Not really for the dog’s sake, but because it would be socialising for him and something he and the dog can do together. The dog herself is getting on a bit, but being a kelpie is still way too full of energy. Dad seemed quite keen on the idea and I told him it doesn’t really matter if the dog doesn’t actually learn anything.

  3. We rarely see dogs being walked, let alone trained or socialised, around us. They are mostly shut outdoors and left to their own devices, to bark at anything that moves. The only training seems to be a good kick or hit with a stick when they don’t obey commands.
    We saw a former neighbour lift his spaniel off the ground by his collar, drop him onto the ground then kick him, just for barking at our dog.


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