As we missed our regular training session while we were both poorly last week, Kevin (dog training instructor) kindly invited us to join his Saturday afternoon puppy class today and I am very pleased to report that apart from Polly taking the opportunity to poo on the agility field, this session went very well.
I can't tell you how much I have to psyche myself up for dog training each week ... I'm not really sure why, it's a bit feeble of me really as everyone is very friendly, but I guess I've just become too used to my own company after being self-employed and doing things my own way for far too long, so joining a group was always going to be a stretch. Polly loves going to class though and it seems to be doing her the power of good, not to mention helping us both keep fit, so I'm determined to stick with it. I'm sure I'll settle into my dog class training groove soon enough.
I love that each lesson brings forth a little more understanding for us both. Today Polly seemed to pull on her lead much less than previously and she worked hard to respond to my instructions. Whenever she slipped up a little, it was usually because I managed to confuse her. Also this time, I noticed her resisting the temptation to drag me towards the other pups, which made the session much easier on my shoulders.
Polly also managed far better on the agility equipment this time, noticeably loving the jumping and running through windows, tyre and tunnel and she even impressed me with an enthusiastic circuit of hurdling! We became slightly confused with another of the jumping circuits which was new to us, so we moved on to practice our control over the little A frame instead ... this is coming together quite nicely now, but will no doubt improve when I work out how to walk quickly backwards whilst managing a training lead, without tripping over my own feet, ahem.
Poll's 'down stays' and 'sits and stays', are cementing well, as is her returning to heel position - there's no doubt, those drills each session definitely pay off. Best of all today though, was the first really noticeable sign of a positive recall when playing off lead with other pups ... my Polly may not be the most responsive when called, but she did eventually leave those gorgeously bouncy playmates and head towards me when I called and that was a strong step forward, making the nail biting drive along those bendy country lanes well worth the trouble and effort today!