Tonight we had our second puppy class where Maggie met her siblings once more. Maggie is learning a little more self-control when around other dogs, but she is still 60% play when with her brother and sisters…and that is OK…she needs to play with other puppies…the fact is they ALL want to play! However, when it came time to work…she was all work. Tonight we worked on “shaping”…a silent process whereby the puppy learns a new skill by “thinking through” what you would like her to do and then being rewarded for doing it…no commands or verbal cues (until the skill is learned). These puppy labs are very smart. I gave you a link in an earlier post (here it is again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DWbV5VKZxc) that explains exactly what it is. She did VERY well…in addition to being very cute, she is very smart. She seems to be completely house trained…no accidents for a couple of weeks. She has learned both the verbal and hand commands to lie down and sit. You never use the two commands (verbal and non-verbal) together when training a service dog as they must respond the same to either command independently. If you use the hand AND the verbal together, they will always look to respond to them only when used together. This would be a problem if they are assigned to a person without arms or to someone who could not verbalize a command. These are things we do not normally think about until it is explained. Service Dog training is a whole new world of puppy training. But I must say, Maggie is a quick learner and is fun to train.
Right now Maggie is sound asleep…all of this excitement really wore her out. Maybe, just maybe, she will sleep through the night and not wake me up at 3:00 AM to go out!! Probably not, which means I should be in bed now, too!