Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Doggy Class

So, Brutus started his new Doggy Class today. This class is being taught at PetSmart in Eden Prairie by a woman named Libby. Libby has been teaching this class at this particular store for thirteen years, and she is a no nonsense woman. My son Andrew worked at this store through high school, and has fond memories of Libby, thank goodness! I was also glad to hear that Libby had fond memories of Andrew, otherwise this relationship could be a bit awkward.

Anyway, class went just fine. Actually, it went good. We didn't really learn anything with the dogs today, but just spent the hour getting the dogs comfortable with each other, and with her, and learning about the different types of collars and leashes and how to use them. I have always felt very strongly against choke chain collars. They can do great damage to a dogs esophagus when they are yanked on. She actually uses one on her Great Dane, but not for training. She uses positive reinforcement for training, but she shows her Great Danes professionally, and apparently the chain is part of the "costume". The other chain she went over is the "prong chain". It has actual prongs on it that when tightened, put pressure on the whole neck. It looked more like a torture device, but she said they are actually safer than a choke chain because there is less chance of damaging the dogs esophagus. She still doesn't highly recommend them, but she said there are certain situations where they are necessary, and I guess that we had one of those situations in our class. There were only three dogs in the class. Brutus, London, a beautiful coon hound and grey hound looking mix, and then Riley, the dog that had on the prong collar who looked like a big goofy sweet stuffed animal. The problem was, this dog was rescued, and apparently after being rescued it got into a tiff with a small dog, and the dog took a chunk of fur out of it, and it's been having a really hard time with aggression since then. I don't blame it. It had already been through enough. It was having a really hard time settling down. This mom had had this dog in classes that only involved positive reinforcement since last June, and still couldn't get Riley to walk past a "strange" dog without growling, and Riley was also overly protective of her when it came to her husband and kids.

There is also the harness option, which goes around the chest cavity of the dog, and then the gentle leader which is clasped tightly around the head of the dog from under the chin to the top of the skull, and has a loose band that goes over the nose. It allows the dog to breathe and eat and bark, but if the leash is pulled back on, it will tighten up a little and pulls on the back of the head, thus directing the dog. The mom with the silly furry dog had tried every option, and the only thing she could use short of the choke collar, was the prong collar. The way she explained it was like this. She said that this dog was thrown away because it was untrained and out of control. She loved this dog, and wanted it to have the best life possible, but in order to do that, she had to get it trained to respect her and it's boundaries. In that type of situation, I can understand it. She was one of the kindest women I had met, and a very experienced dog owner, so I put my judgment out the window in this case.

Anyway, there are only the three of us, and Libby brought in her beautiful dog "Link" to say hello to each of our dogs. What a beauty. I can see why she shows her dogs professionally. This particular dog was so beautiful, and so well trained. I am actually looking forward to next weeks class.

After class, I took Brutus to PetCo, yeah, I said PetCo, to pick up a bunch of stuff. I figure I'm probably on video running from Brutus's peeing excursion at PetSmart, so I'm going to let my shopping trips there cool down for a couple weeks. This shopping trip he was still on his gentle leader, and the shopping experience was much different than the last one that we had. He did lift his leg once, but I said "no" right away, and he stopped immediately. Everything just went better. I definitely learned that he has to have his gentle leader on. He's just too immature to go anywhere in public without it.

After a big morning of doggy class and shopping, he is now crashed on the bed next to me. Now it's time for me to get busy. Grandma and Grandpa from Illinois are coming to visit us at the lake tomorrow, so it's time to start packing. Brutus will love them, and hopefully he'll be a good boy.

1 comment:

  1. I just love Brutus, and sorry about your terrible day yesterday. They are just like 2 yr. olds (naughty but so innocent and so darn cute)! Keep up your great patience because he just will be the absolute best companion for years.