Sunday 10th April 2022
Today was Maya’s introduction to professional training.
We had first come to know of Graham having met his wife and her sister outside the Co-op with two beautiful GSDs last year. I asked if they were breeders and when they said yes, asked if I could give them our details for them to consider us for one of the next litter of puppies.
Sadly, that never happened through them, but when I let him know we were suited with Maya, he said he did obedience training and socialising so he was the first person I thought of to help us.
Finding the property was straightforward following his directions and we arrived about half an hour early, so I was able to observe the previous class in action. It was interesting to watch the mix of GSDs, collies, labradors and a pug going through the paces.
Hubby got Maya out of the car when the class finished and we stood to one side by the gate as the dogs came out. Maya was curious, but not bouncy.
I introduced us and liked Graham on sight, just as I thought I would. After chatting with the two ladies and dogs we’d met before, he asked us what we were hoping to achieve. He made a fuss of Maya and we handed him her lead. He got down on the ground with her and they had a ‘moment’.
He fussed, she licked, then she lay down and snuggled in. It was a good start.
Shortly afterwards, he put her on a choker and set off across the field. She pulled and he ‘checked’ her, then after three of those, she walked as sweet as you like. Then it was my turn.
Using one of his leads on the choker, he showed me how to hold it in both hands. I’d used this method with Maggie all those years ago, but my grip was better then and as it turned out, his way of putting my hand over the lead was better and more comfortable for me now than under it as I’d done before. After Maya realised I was on the other end of the lead but not taking any nonsense, she was brilliant for me.
There were nine of us in the class, the two GSDs, a chocolate labrador, two collies, a ‘doodle dog’ (not sure if it was a golden or labradoodle), a shih tsu, a shaggy dachshund x westie I’d guess and us. Today we were walking the dogs in a line, then socialising them by weaving between the others one at a time followed by an owners meet and greet to fuss the other dog then introducing our own. Maya was wonderful. She may have got a little bored towards the end as the ‘Wait’ and recall test was a no-go, but that’s something we can practice here at home. She took it all in, behaved herself by not lunging at the other dogs, and generally got the idea quickly so it was a positive first encounter and the next one will be in a fortnight as Graham has to go into hospital.
We are going to invest in a choker, purely for training, though Graham has lent us one for the time being. What was interesting today was that we have been doing a fair bit right already, so are well pleased with that. Repetition and reward is the order of the day, and I am confident we have done the right thing.
As an aside, the two bitches we’d met before have got totally different temperaments to Maya, so maybe we were destined to have her and not one of theirs.