Rodders and I went off to the new dog school on Wednesday evening and it was very different to what we are used to. I'm not even sure that he realised he was at school!
It is much more relaxed and not regimented in any way. They are happy if the dog is on a loose lead walking somewhere close to you, it doesn't matter if they are not right at your side as long as they are somewhere near you. It doesn't even seem to matter if the dog is on your left or right. When they show you an exercise to do you go off and do it in your own space with the trainer walking around amongst you and offering help. They also change the exercise fairly quickly so that the dogs do not get bored.
Rodders did brilliantly at sit and stay while I walked away from him and then came back, he was fine while I pretended to tie my shoe laces at his side too. In fact he just ignored me. He was fine with walking and stop, when I said stop he just sat at my side.
I am not sure he has got the hang of clicker training, he just sits down whenever I click.
There was one exercise that confused the hell out of him though. The trainer brought around a washing up bowl and the idea was to get your dog to interact with it as a way of learning to free shape and to work away from you. For every interaction you click and treat in the bowl. Rodders didn't get this at all. He just sat and looked at it. If I did get him to acknowledge it and gave a click and treat he didn't take the treat out of the bowl. We tried to move the bowl and out it back down, still nothing. We swapped the bowl for a cardboard box, still nothing. We swapped it for a bit of round plastic with a hole in the middle for putting posts in to and we got a reaction.
In some ways he is already more advanced than the other dogs there. hey still seem to be working in front whereas Rodders is used to doing things at my side.
The other nice thing is that they email you course notes the following morning so I can share them with OH and we can talk about them. So far he seems to understand this sort of training more than me.
We will keep going and see how we do over the 7 weeks.