Saturday, 5 November 2011

First day at school

Rodders didn't want to stay awake this morning which made things a bit challenging but we managed to get washed and dressed so that we were ready to go to school on time.

We were the first to arrive at school and the next pupil was a 5 month old Briard called Monty who was huge! He wanted to play and Rodders wanted to hide under the nearest car! Next came Red a Welsh Springer Spaniel followed by Sam a Springer and Buster a gorgeous Tibetan Terrier. All the time we were in the car park Rodders was trying to hide under a car or behind me.

The class before us were brilliant and they let their dogs mingle with ours at the end of their lesson. Rodders didn't know which way to look as there were dogs in front and puppies behind, it was difficult for him to hide from all of them.

We met our trainer, Sam, and we all headed inside. At the door we had to make our puppies sit and wait for us to step over the threshold before asking them to heel. Rodders managed the sit after a fashion but the wait was a bit difficult as he could tell there were lots of exciting smells ahead.

Once inside we were all introduced to each other and then it was time for the puppies to meet each other. We passed them around, fussing and giving them treats. Rodders found this really difficult and shook for most of the time. The lady with Red seemed to be used to a smaller puppy and he was a bit better with her, but he was glad to get back to me.

We then had to walk in a circle doing heel, followed by sit, followed by heel. Rodders was as good at this as I am at synchronised dancing, he didn't know which way to go or what was going on, there was so much noise, so many people and puppies he was very confused. We got allowed to stand in the middle for a bit so that he could watch what was going on and get used to the volume and activity. We got it eventually although he wasn't very good at heel.

We then moved on to sit & stay, where we got them to sit and then stepped away from them for a moment before coming back. Rodders didn't do too badly at this and was settling down a bit.

They then all got out their tuggy toys and were playing as part of being taught to leave. This meant that the noise volume increased and Rodders was unsettled again so we decided that it was more important for him to get used to playing with a toy in that environment than teaching him to play and leave. It took a while but he started to chase the toy as normal

We then went back to sit and heel to calm the puppies down a bit before heading outside to the field. The puppies all had to sit and wait at the door on the way out. Once in the field we did the same exercises again but with down and wait thrown in. Rodders didn't understand the down command at all and it was difficult to get him to go down on his tummy. If he did he couldn't stay in one place as there was lots of grass and rabbit poo to eat! He was also much slower than the other puppies when walking to (sort of) heel and we kept getting overtaken by the bigger dogs.

After the field we headed back inside and had to do sit and wait at the door again. Once inside we were all lined up and given feedback on how we did. Sam thought Rodders had done OK for his first time but needs to build up his confidence around people and dogs. The others all told me not to worry after 2 or 3 weeks he will get it.

The hour had flown by and we paid Sam for the tuggy toy and puppy pack before we left.

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