Bandit's first class was held this morning at 10 a.m. out at Cascade Kennels in Woodinville, which is where the "Puppy Manners" classes are held. It's a really nice facility out in the country. There must have been between 10 and 14 dogs in his class. Bandit and I were moved twice because when two dogs who like to bark are too close in proximity to one another they need to be separated. After about five minutes it was exciting to see Bandit's one brother, Brady, arrive with Andrea and her daughter K. They got along like puppies do, but I'm not sure there was any real flicker of, "Hey, I remember you."
Bandit spent most of the session with me sitting on the floor with my legs outstretched, Bandit on his back in-between my legs, my feet together and one hand holding both his paws. This is a method for calming a puppy and getting them to relax (putting a little pressure on him with my knees when he fidgets and fusses). It's particularly helpful for dogs who nip and get overexcited. We also learned how to manipulate the leash so the dog doesn't have anywhere to go except "down" or to "sit" when in a big group with other puppies. The instructor, Becky Bishop, mentioned a couple of times that these techniques are particularly helpful for herding breeds like Australian Shepherds. Becky seems to really know her stuff, and her techniques are very dog-friendly rather than being punitive in any way.
Tonight, K and I are going to watch a movie and I'm going to teach K this calming technique. Becky recommended doing this technique for up to an hour at a time. Her husband also instructs and gave some very good pointers. We received a postcard with a web site to go to that lists all the training techniques we'll be learning and have learned that we can go over them again later, or in case we missed something during class.
After class, we sat outside on the grass and let Brady and Bandit sniff around. The whole class was encouraged not to let the puppies "play" with one another. That's being saved for next week, in addition to some real obedience.
Our homework is to work on the calming method and "wait." We also found out that we need to be putting Bandit into his crate 3-4 hours (in broken up periods) a day. It's not for punishment, it's just for getting used to the crate and so it becomes a handy tool for life with a puppy/dog.
It was difficult getting pictures of the two brothers together, but here are a couple: