Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Inside a dog it's too dark to read

I'm taking Isis to remedial obedience classes. She "failed" her pre-test, and rather than risk failing the real test, we're going to weekly "tune-up" classes, where we actually get to practice around other dogs.

Our obedience school doesn't encourage dog-on-dog interaction at the basic level, which makes sense to me. It would take too long to learn anything with the distraction of six untrained dogs in the room. We leave the dogs in the car, and bring them in one at a time to practice each new command.

Unfortunately, even though I've worked with her fairly regularly outside of class, this method hasn't effectively gotten her trained past sit, down and stay (as long as I'm looking right at her). I'm a fan of this tune-up structure, in which we walk our dogs around one another for 45 minutes and practice heeling.

We worked with two German shepherd males, who might have been about Isis' age (six months), although they were a little bigger. One was white, the other dark, and Isis was by far the most beautiful. I was delighted to see that the other shepherds wore prong collars too. (I'm a believer. It doesn't hurt. I swear.)

The discouraging part was all the criticism I got for handling the lead wrong and correcting her incorrectly. Why can't I correct with my left hand? (The fact that it hasn't worked thus far should be a clue.) Apparently, I should be correcting harder.

This is the slap in the face that all parents must feel. My dog has obedience problems, and it's my fault.

Yesterday at the library, I impulse checked-out two books about dogs, one about an assistance German shepherd and one called "Police Dogs in Action." That the latter was written in 1974 has no bearing on its continued validity, I'm sure.

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