Our new puppy-class instructor, Shayna, took over at the beginning of January, and Steve and I are pretty happy about the way things are shaping up. I missed class two weeks ago, but Steve went, and he came home exclaiming about the games that Shayna had had the group engage in. It piqued my interest enough that I made sure to attend the next gathering (last night).
Shayna’s not a flashy character. I’m not sure what her background is, other than that she’s taught obedience classes for some of the big pet food stores. I like the fact that she seems to have a learning path in mind, and she offers clear suggestions when asked about how to respond to various behavioral issues.
And I love the idea of getting us engaged in puppy-training games. So many of us have been through the classes over and over again. Certainly we continue to gain new insights into training from time to time, but it’s also easy to feel jaded. When Shayna asked if we wanted to play Puppy Tic-Tac-Toe, that got my attention.
I had never played Puppy Tic-Tac-Toe before. To do it, Shayna laid four very long leashes on the floor in a familiar cross-hatch pattern. She said we needed to divide ourselves into two teams, and we instantly recognized that we had five black dogs and six white ones. The battle lines were drawn.
The idea was to put your pup in a Sit position somewhere on the grid, with the goal of getting three dogs of your team in a row. The twist: if your pup broke its Sit, then it was out, and that square could be refilled.
I’m sad to report that the Blacks won the first game. But that was entirely HUMAN ERROR (how can anyone forget how to play Tic-Tac-Toe? Apparently… it happens.) In the second round, some doggy errors did occur, but the game still wound up a tie, as it did when we moved to the more challenging phase, in which the puppies had to execute Down Stays.
The puppies seemed to find the whole exercise only mildly amusing. But it made us humans perk up. And I feel a whole lot more interested in attending the next class in two weeks.