Monday night we started the first night of the Basic class. As far as landmarks go, this was the smallest one imaginable. If the timing worked perfectly, you would begin taking your brand-new 9-week-old puppy to the first session of the Puppy Kindergarten classes. You would attend all eight classes in that series (the classes typically are held every two weeks.) Then you would graduate and start the Basic series, attending those classes for 16 weeks or so. Then you would move on to the series of 8 Advanced classes.

Trouble is: that all adds up to about a year of instruction, but CCI puppies typically are with their puppy-raisers for 16 months or more.  Furthermore, the chances are that when you get your puppy, the Puppy Kindergarten series will already be underway.

That’s what happened with us and Dionne. Although we took her to a couple of the Kinder classes, our instructor, Bob, said we’d be welcome to move on to the Basic group, which we did in March. That series finished up two weeks ago Monday.

Even Basic class graduate still practice cradling. 

Steve and I opted to do the Basic classes again because, if we do, we’ll finish up the series at the end of October. Dionne will then be able to go through all the Advanced classes once — and we’ll still be able to get through the lion’s share of a second set of Advanced classes before she turns in May 15.

Given that we’ve gone through all the instruction with four previous CCI puppies, we probably could muddle along without going to classes much at all. But a) we’re supposed to attend, b) the sessions are often quite entertaining, and c) we feel we benefit from being reminded of what we’re supposed to do.

And, oh yeah.  The classes also remind us of what a good girl she can be. Last night, there were 7 other Basic dogs in attendance, along with their handlers, and when Dionne and I did our “Let’s Go” around the classroom, I heard people chuckle with delight at the way she prances when she walks. She executed near-flawless Rolls and Heels, and her Under was passable (even though we hardly practice it.)

She broke her Down-Stay, but it was interminable and one of the other attendees, in a deliberate attempt to distract the dogs, all but stepped on her.

We forgave her. She’s got plenty of time to work on getting it perfect.

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