Yesterday was a very big day around our house, Ella had her first puppy training class. It was pretty much like taking your child to kindergarten for the first time except you get to go with them and your kid is furry and walks on all fours. I was like a mom beaming with pride and at the ready with my trusty camera. Here is Ella sitting in the backyard after a round of playing ball, little does she know at this point that she is about to have the ultimate play date with a room full of puppies.
When I called to sign Ella up for the class they suggested that we tire her out a bit so that she would pay attention in class. I have watched enough Dog Whisperer to know that a walked and pooped dog is the best kind of dog for training. Today was our third walk ever since we just realized it was safe to take her out of the yard. She is a matter of days from her last vaccination but the vet said it would be fine. Friday on our first outing she was afraid and pulled on her leash. Saturday she was OK until running kids and tricycles approached and scared her. Sunday she was running at the door when I grabbed her leash ready to go tail a wagging. Here she and Lucy are with their tails in synch on our walk.
Remember how I said Ella has only been on 3 walks outside of our yard, well think of the adventure that Petsmart was for her! Sure we have had a few play dates and trips to the vet and rides in the car, but Petsmart is a whole different ball game. When we sat her on the ground in the parking lot with dog smells everywhere she started pulling and whining and basically refusing to budge at this point we had to pick her up and carry her into the store. We got a cart and wheeled her into puppy class sitting in the basket. It was quite a site to see a 35 pound English Mastiff puppy being wheeled around the store.
Class was like a giant episode of Cute Overload, I hardly remember a word the teacher said I was so involved in looking at all the puppies. We sat between a toy poodle named Biscuit who was more afraid than Ella and an outgoing black lab Somora. In front of us was a prissy little black Pomeranian whose name escapes me and the tiniest boxer I have ever seen named Stella. I think there were 15 puppies total in the room. At first Ella was a little afraid but then she just laid down on the floor like a good girl and almost appeared to pay attention. Maybe she will let me borrow her notes since just like in high school I didn’t take any.
The drift of our first class was about clicker training and getting your dog to look at you. Using the clicker, giving Ella a treat and saying the word yes was a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy but I think Chris and I will get the hang of it. During these practice runs with the clicker we were encouraged to go throughout the store, by this time Ella was a pro and no longer afraid. On our clicker adventures around Petsmart we encountered not one, but two full grown female mastiffs! I can’t remember either of their names but one was a fawn like Ella and weighed 165 and the other was a brindle who just turned a year old and weighs 170. Both of the owners thought Ella was adorable and that she was going to grow up to be a whopper which is exactly what we want. Since we got Ella from a rescue we have no idea what size her parents were, but we are hoping for the best that she is a biggie.
One week of class down, 7 more weeks to go! Don’t you worry I will be taking pictures at each class so expect more reports on the cuteness oh and the training too.