Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week 2

This has been such a whirlwind of a week. Monday was Leo's first obedience class. I enrolled him at Petsmart to take classes with my youngest son. The classes are one hour every Monday for eight weeks. The first class went okay. There are only two pups in the class including Leo - the other one is a miniature Poodle. Since my son is underage I am required to be present. The instructor went over some of Petsmart's philosophy with dog training and then started with having the students praise and treat their dogs for standing, sitting, or lying patiently in front of them. Leo was at one end of the training area and I was at the other end and he was doing a better job of going to the end of his leash and watching me or just looking around, but he was laid back and relaxed about everything.

Next up was teaching them about "Watch me." Zach, my son, struggled a bit with this and I know he was fighting against impatience because Leo was trying to get to me or just ignoring him. Regardless, he did get a few glances in and praised him accordingly.

The last thing they did was to take two laps around the store. That was another lesson in patience for Zach. Leo was much more interested in coming back to me and fortunately the other student did well independently so the instructor could help Zach. Part of the issue with Leo was encouraging him to come forward and not wanting to pull/drag him, yet cheering him forward and then Zach stopping because Leo wasn't coming. It was kind of a delicate balance of go but not too fast but keep the motion up or Leo just stopped and sat. He's quite the stubborn little guy. After making it back to the training area he and the little Poodle got to meet each other a play a bit. Then it was time to go. Next week I'm going to stay outside the training room/area so that I am less of a distraction.

On the up side, we are practicing "Nothing in Life is Free" with mealtimes and Leo really picked up on that one fast. Of course being an excited raw fed dog doesn't hurt. He is throwing sits, downs, and quick "Watch mes" in without even being asked which means we are having to shake things up a bit and move around so he gets up and then can sit on command. I have faith that the little whipper snapper will come around and work for Zach and his brother in time.
The rest of the week was not super eventful until Thursday night. I took Leo with me to agility to get the feel for the environment. He walked in like he owned the place and got some of the dogs all stirred up to meet him. He really enjoyed meeting Larkin, a little miniature Schnauzer that comes to class. I kept him on leash about half the time and in his kennel the other half and he was quite relaxed, ears perked, watching the dogs run. A great first experience.
Friday the kids were with their dad so I took Leo to work and he hung out in his kennel in between breaks. I took him on a walk mid-morning and he was so enthusiastic about it we did two laps around the business park which adds up to about a half mile or so. If he was bigger he would have been dragging me so obvious was his enthusiasm.

After the other employee left with her dog, I brought him in for the last couple of hours and he got plenty of love including from the other manager's daughter who was quite taken with him.

After we left work we picked up "big sis" and went to the dog park - another first for Sir Leo. Again, no fear and he was totally into just going around on his own sniffing stuff. He was doing just great and no dogs were even worried about him or anything until this jerk of a dog showed up. I knew he'd be a problem before he made it into the park because he was already going nuts at the fence. I ended up carrying Leo around most of the remainder of the time and the dog was so ill-behaved he was jumping on me to try to get to Leo. The owners did nothing and I was less than pleased. Before too long we left and ran to the pet store to pick up some things for today.
Today was March for Mutts at over between the baseball fields. It was a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels and Ani-Meals. The turnout was good, the weather could not have been special ordered better, and there were vendors and demos including our JAG agility team. We were there for demos and a confidence course. We arrived later than I had originally planned and I managed to forget Leo's leash. Fortunately someone had one to loan us so we were safe. After Vegas and I ran our first time on the demo course, I took both dogs outside the ball field to check some things out. I didn't make it too far because a Dane and  Pomeranian are just too irresistible to people and there was a Dane puppy there about 15 weeks old. I spent quite a while talking to her owners and finally made it over to the Fido's booth to get Leo's Rabies vaccination. After that the poor kid pretty much had to hang out in his kennel while Vegas and I had our second run on the new demo course then helped people on the confidence course. However, we then headed to my mom's house which was just a few minute away.

Dear Leo got to meet the "terrible three," my mom's Yorkshire Terriers. They're not really bad - they just happen to be super barky little dogs who are a pack of their own. At first Mom was concerned her youngest, Jake, would be too rough with Leo - who she was immediately enamored with because he's so awesome. It turned out we had nothing to worry about. The three would rather have barked at Leo than play and while he was quite assertive in checking them out, the only issue was him er, um, hmm, well, being a bit of a hump dog. (Can't wait until his family jewels are gone!) That said, he did really try to play and succeeded in making Mom smile because he's so blasted cute. Leo has this adorable way of getting down on his forearms, rear in the air, pitter-pattering the ground with his feet, and just being a kick. Most of his antics were ignored by the three, but it was good for him to have the chance to interact. He got some zoomies out and perhaps the next time they meet things will be a bit more relaxed.

We finally headed out after a couple hours of visiting and watching the dogs. When we got home I put the dogs in the front yard and we never made it in the house for almost two hours. I mowed the lawn and they hung out anxiously waiting for me. Of course when we came inside all they cared about was dinner. Once fed all they wanted to do is crash and that is the end of this week's story because Leo is snoozing the evening away in his bed. He's finally one pooped pooch.

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