Firstly, apologies that I haven’t posted for a while, I’ve been running to keep still with lots going on recently.
In the meantime, however, Willow has been to two obedience classes run by Pets in Practise. She was a little overwhelmed at the first class by all the other dogs, all of whom were much bigger than her and having not done puppy classes she was at a slight disadvantage but managed not to disgrace herself. It had helped that we had taught her a few basics beforehand and certainly by the second class she was a lot happier and even made friends with one of the other dogs.
Having learnt ‘sit’, ‘lie down’ and ‘leave’ before the classes started, she has now added ‘stay’, ‘paw’ and ‘high five’ to her vocabulary; we’ve also started doing some targeting work and getting her to go through a hoop. She’s obviously quite bright and picks new tricks up fairly quickly although using frankfurters to bribe/teach her obviously goes a long way to help! She is also a lot better at coming back to the ‘Come!’ command when she’s off the lead and again frankfurters had a lot to do with this, but she’s not completely reliable and if there is someone interesting nearby or, better still, a dog anywhere in the vicinity that might play with her she suddenly becomes very deaf. In Willow’s world there is NOTHING more exciting and interesting than another dog who might possibly play with her.
The setback we’ve had is with toilet training. She was partly house trained when we got her and we were continuing to work on it but all of a sudden she started messing and peeing in the house and refusing to go outside in the garden at all. Being of a nervous disposition and wary of anything new or unusual, I think she must have been scared by something when she was in the garden. This could have been a noise coming from nearby, the sound of a dog barking in one of the neighbouring houses or possibly even an interesting scent – we have had foxes in the garden in the past. Whatever it was, the result was a lot more cleaning required in the house. Over the last few days we’ve made a concerted effort to go outside with her as much as possible to show her that there is nothing to be scared of and every time she does her business in the garden she gets a lot of praise for it. So far she’s still not 100% reliable but she is getting better.
We’ve got another four training sessions to go with Pets in Practice and I’m confident that she will keep doing well. As she’s a bright dog I think it will be good for her to keep learning new tricks to stop her from getting bored. So if you have any suggestions for useful tricks for her to learn please feel free to let me know! One I certainly need to look into is teaching her to wipe her feet on the doormat when she comes through the door.