Monday, October 1, 2012

Dave's Guest Post

Nika and I went to her new class for the first time tonight. Well, it was Nika's second time, since she went with Katie last week, and it was the third week of the class altogether. Anyway, we got there a little early, but "Some Nights" by fun. was on the radio, and I like that song a lot, so we listened to that. I often wonder what the dogs think of the music in the car. When it's just me and a dog, I tend to turn the music up fairly loud. Does that sound louder to dogs than to humans? Is it uncomfortable? They don't complain. I do at least keep the volume down low enough so that it doesn't hurt my ears, which I don't necessarily do if it's just me. Since dogs hear better, does that mean that they just hear sounds that we don't hear? For some reason I always assume that to hear things we don't means that everything else must be amplified. Also, I wish that "fun." didn't have that period in their name. It's very hipster and it makes it hard to write sentences about them.

Class began with me talking to the instructor and the bait bag mysteriously falling to the floor. I realized this, but too late: Nika had already finished the two string cheeses and most of other treats. I don't think she stole the bag off of me, but she certainly didn't hesitate to take advantage of the situation! Fortunately, we had some extra treats in the car, and they were a kind that I could break up into thirds, so we made it the whole way.

We practiced heeling, sit-stays, down-stays, sits and downs with hand signals, and recalls during class. Nika did really well at all of them. She's funny though, in that she'll bark at me if I'm not giving her something to do. She can quietly do an extended stay, but if she gets ignored for any amount of time, she gets demanding. That means that we really did spend the entire hour working. The other two handlers and their dogs maybe spent 35 minutes? When the teacher talked they would listen, and their dogs would just sit there next to them. Not Nika! She wanted to work the whole time. Fortunately extended stays give me the chance to at least look in the teacher's direction while I'm walking away from and back to the dog and feeding her.

It was fun. We'll go back next time. I think we should teach her off/jump on command, and then try using off when she jumps on people. Hint, hint, Katie :-)

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