This week Maggie went to her weekly Puppy Class with her siblings, and this is always an exciting time for Maggie. Some of her siblings live with other pets, and seeing another puppy is no big deal; however, with Maggie this IS a big deal! She wants to play, bark, and jump…it is a challenge to get her to focus on us. All-in-all she is doing pretty well and is kind of in the middle of the pack when it comes to her behaviors and learning her cues. At Puppy Class she had to learn a new “down” position. She had learned to go down in a sphinx-like position, but now had to learn to go down on her hip. Why? First, she can’t pop up as quickly from that positions and behave like a jack-in-the-box. Also, she could not stay down in a sphinx-like position for an extended period of time (which be required if she goes to work with her client). The down on the hip is a much more relaxed position for an extended down. She is learning to do this now on a regular basis…we click and treat when she does this…all positive reinforcement. She is so smart!
So far this week, we made the rounds to several stores. First to a hardware store that was under construction due to remodeling, then we went to the drug store, and finally to the grocery store! Of course she was a hit at all three. She is learning to be pretty good about greeting people with “four (paws) on the floor”, but still has a way to go…it is just so exciting to meet new people.
Maggie gets new homework assignments each week at Puppy Class, so we are always challenging her to learn new things. Maggie has to “think things through” on these assignments. I know that sounds strange for a dog, but she does a really good job of doing so. Positive reinforcement is her motivator, and that is what she gets for doing things correctly…treats, treats and more treats…and lots of loving praise. I love our training methods. Through all of this training she will learn self-control. This week she is actually learning to “leave it”…that involves lots of self-control as she has to look at a piece of her treat in an open hand and on a table and not dive after it…now try that with a Labrador (who will eat ANYTHING). She is actually accomplishing this. THAT is self-control!!! Yes, if she restrains herself, she does get the treat as a reward…this is what she lives for!
Lastly…check out another Maggie picture show!