Today was Bandit's third in a series of six classes. He's right in the thick of learning all the good stuff that'll help him to become a well-behaved and pleasant dog to be around.
Right off the bat we all had to practice our sits and downs. Then, we split into two groups and walked through chairs set up in a course to practice having our dog stay at our side as we walk, cueing the dog by using our body movement and authority. I learned that I don't want Bandit to walk in front of us when leash walking. He needs to be at our side or a bit behind. If he's in front he thinks he's in charge. We also did a group lession on "wait." Bandit did really well. I'm the one who needs the help. "Wait" needs to be said in a pleasant short clip, not a pleasant drawn out clip which is said in a manner where the voice goes up at the end. When I said wait correctly, Bandit almost instinctively knew what to do.
Becky fitted Bandit for a StarMark collar which will aid us greatly in teaching him to walk nicely beside us. It's a much better collar to use than the choke chain collars which used to be the standard for training. Instead of saying "heel" like I remember from 4-H days as a kid, I should use the command "right here."
Today I learned the distinction between "wait" and "stay." It's recommended that we get wait down before moving on to stay. Bandit does pretty well with wait and then the command of "okay" to move out from waiting. When we get to "stay" we can say something like "release" and then tap Bandit on the head. We got some great demonstrations of how to actually move through these learning exercises. Becky and Dave's dog, Zuma, is the the most well-behaved dog I've ever seen (and a beautiful black Lab).
Here's Bandit at playtime during class today (on the left). The other Aussie in class is a standard-sized female who's just shy of her first birthday, but I can't remember her name. The people in the picture are Dave and Becky Bishop, the obedience instructors from Puppy Manners out in Woodinville.
Bandit plays really well with the other dogs at playtime