28 March 2012

CGC Course - Weeks 1 & 2

I forgot to write about it last week, but Pi and I have started a Canine Good Citizen prep class.

Pi is a pretty shy dog. She is generally well behaved and decently obedient (more so for me than other people but it's not like she becomes a monster the moment I leave the room or anything). However, she is not confident around new people or in new places, especially if both are happening at the same time.

Sometimes I wonder what I did to her as a puppy to make her so shy. At any rate, it is kind of interesting to see her progress in just 2 short weeks. Well, more like 1 week since I didn't really do anything before the class started.

Week 1
We make it to the class and in the room past the hyper, barking golden with no problems. As the instructor is doing introductions and talking Pi is being good and laying at my feet, no problem. But then two of the other dogs got all riled up apparently because she was looking at them. So the instructor asked me to reposition Pi which resulted in her making sad faces at me because she didn't understand why she had to move/what she was doing wrong (probably because she wasn't doing anything wrong, poor dog). After that she pretty much lay there panting her uncomfortableness the whole time. She was also very timid when the instructor came over to meet her (she wouldn't eat the treat offered). We went outside for a bit in the middle and she livened up a bit after that but overall she was an unhappy camper.

Parts of the Test Introduced:
-Accepting a Friendly Stranger - definite sad faces were made
-Sitting Politely for Petting - some submissive posturing
-Walking on a Loose Leash (more like heeling) - we are pros at this, the teacher was impressed that Pi stopped when I stopped
-Sit, Down, Stay - this is kind of a joke for us too although it was awkward to have her stay and me move around with the leash still on because we never did it that way although apparently that is the way to teach it (or at least a good way)

Week 2
I feel like I had a different dog in there today. She was smelling everything and exploring and seemed to actually be enjoying it. We did "Accepting a Friendly Stranger/Sitting for Petting" with an actual stranger (and a man no less!) and she actually had a hard time sitting waiting for him. It was unbelievable. We also did it again at the end of the class with the other students being the stranger and she was all "happy-happy wiggly-wiggly I'm going to lick your face". Wow. I would say that she had no real difference in her attention to me but a huge difference in her demeanor. During the sitting there while the instructor talks part she actually laid all the way down and rested her head on the floor, totally relaxed.

Parts of the Test Introduced:
-Appearance and Grooming - no problems, although it seemed like the instructor was expecting some (based on my reports of shyness)
-Reaction to Another Dog - Pi maintained her attentiveness on me with minimal treats while walking near the other dogs
-Reaction to Distraction - she didn't break her stay when the instructor rolled some baby toys past although she was super interested in them

And so now the question is, what's the difference? Can it really be that just that one visit last week made her completely comfortable with the surrounding? It seems unlikely because we were in a different room. Also, she accepted that strange man no problem which is unrelated to the physical environment.

My suspicion is that the biggest difference was me. The first week we were almost late, I didn't know where/how big the building was, and I didn't know how she was going to react with all those strange dogs in the room. I was so worried that she would growl at one or snap as Pi and I did have problems with leash aggression last summer.

Hopefully now that I know Pi is a very good girl I'll be more relaxed and she'll be the happy dog I know and love.

Exhausted, dirty, and loving it!

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