Last night we returned to puppy class for the first time in what felt like ages.  Our instructor, Bob, took all of September off, and then Steve and I missed the first class upon his return (two weeks ago).  We’ve chosen to repeat the Basic series of classes, which started Oct. 7th and will continue through mid-December. Though Dionne knows all the Basic commands, it’s a congenial group — filled with several of the same folks we’ve been gathering with since puppy kindergarten. And we’ll have plenty of time to start the Advanced classes in January and complete that series before we turn in Dionne in mid-May.

Dionne executed her Under well — as she did the Heel, Roll, and Downs that we worked on.

It’s a pretty mellow hour. Sometimes I teeter on the brink of boredom, but there are almost always a couple of goofy puppy antics to make me laugh. Usually we also see at least a thing or two we can learn from. Last night, for example, Bob gave a masterful demonstration of how to tease a puppy into a Roll (Junebug had been balking). And watching different handlers demonstrate the Heel command reminded us why it’s a good idea to practice giving that from different starting positions.  

They’re subtle refinements — but they make us feel like we’re still getting tips on how to become better trainers. God knows, we can use that. There’s also encouragement to be taken. Dan and Janice Flynn, the enormously experienced puppy raisers who’ve had something like 18 CCI pups, are attending this series with their newest charge. After class, Dan shook his head and muttered to me about how distractible this one is. Their last puppy, Sorbet, was the easiest puppy they’ve ever trained, while the new girl was shaping up to be one of the hardest. “That’s a tough transition,” Don commented. Tough for them, maybe, but it could be inspirational for us. 

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