Spirit had his first formal obedience class last night -- we didn't get kicked out!!
It seemed like a large class to me, 15 dogs probably, all types, sizes and temperaments. We were some of the first to arrive so we got to watch the dogs come in. Spirit gave one dog an unfriendly bark and we promptly became the honorary first member to hold the lemon juice thingamajig. The trainer squirted lemon juice into Spirit's mouth and gave me the evil eye LOL, and Spirit didn't bark at all after that. Hmmmm...lemon juice? Really? Well it worked so we'll leave it at that
Then 2 german shepherds came in with a kill attitude
and they got the lemon juice thingamajib too LOL
To start the class, the trainer lined us all up against the back wall, very close to one another with us separating our dogs ... it was really quite remarkable to me how much control and calm there was in the room. HOW does that HAPPEN! The trainer has 30 years experience, lots of involvement with German shepherds ... she's amazing, really amazing.
Only give the command one time - Rule #1!
We practiced standing still and sit; heeling and sit; and down beside us. This was already familiar to Spirit but it was challenging for him being in this new environment. He did fantastic though. Much of the time, while we were listening, he was laying down beside me which indicated to me he was feeling relaxed. He made me proud
4 German shepherds in the class. I was very pleased with Spirit's temperament. One GSD was a bit timid, the other two were kinda mean, seemed like to me. One of them growled at the trainer -- she calmly walked over to the owner, asked him if he was aware of it, he said yes and she flatly said, "I expect you to correct him for that." End of discussion!
We stayed afterwards to watch his littermate, August, in the intermediate class. August is going into the show circuit, he's so beautiful. But you know what? Spirit has more brains
He sat and watched all the dogs through the entire class and was very well behaved. We will be in that class one day.
It is rather tense to be in a room with so many unfamiliar dogs. Still shaking my head about the lemon juice, would never have thought of that on my own. She recommended it for when your dog is barking inappropriately. You tell them to hush or be quiet, and if they continue they get a squirt of lemon juice. One or two barks is good, that's what dogs do...but when you tell them to be quiet, they need to know you mean it.
This trainer has a lot of experience, 30+ years of training and is heavily involved in the German shepherd breed. I like her