I took my new little dog to a training class to get some help with the basics of getting him to be a well-mannered pet.
The training course is six weeks long and run through the local Petco.
Copper is in the Adult Dog 1 course with another little dog named Licks.
Copper and Licks are both little scaredy dogs and spent most of the lesson hiding under their respective owners’ chairs.
Fortunately the lesson was mostly about the basics of what we as owners could do to correct undesirable behavior at home.
For example, Copper has a strange habit of digging into the couch when we sit down. The trainer thought this might be because he isn’t getting enough exercise due to him being crated during the day while we’re at work.
Copper’s house training has been progressing, he no longer pees in the house, only poop. In general we’ve been doing the right stuff but the trainer still had some tips.
We take him out and reward him for pooping, but what if instead of pooping he wanders around the yard?
The solution makes sense. Take him out in the yard on a leash and keep him in the “bathroom area” of the yard. Pretty soon he realizes what we want him to do and then he gets rewarded! Success!
Copper also got some homework to work on before his next class in two weeks (the classes are normally every Monday, but we’re taking Labor Day off).
His homework is to learn how to pay attention. We teach him this by holding a treat for him by our face and saying, “Look.”
If he looks we say, “Good dog!” and give him the treat.
As this continues we wait longer and longer between saying, “Good dog!” and giving him the treat until he stares at our faces for ten seconds.
After the ten second point, we start doing it without the treat or in more distracting environments until he stares at our faces for thirty seconds without a treat.
He’s managed maybe two seconds of staring with a treat before the cat distracts him.
Since we’re supposed to do it without distractions we’ll have to train him without Lucky in the room in the future.