Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Training Day

Our first obedience class

Obedience Day!  GDA is really insistent on making sure the guide dog puppies and their puppy raisers attend obedience training.  Both inside the GDA campus and by signing up for an outside class as well.  A few Saturday's ago, Chris and I drove out to Sylmar to attend Dylan's first obedience class.  They run the classes by the dogs age.  Our age group were the 5 to 8 month old puppies and their raisers.  Now you need to understand that many people have raised multiple puppies for GDA over the years.  This was our first!  I also understand why they keep coming back to raise more puppies.  There were about 20 dogs, all 5 to 8 months old with their family of people on a grassy slope under the pine trees. You would think this an ideal setting for an obedience class.  Think again.

Facing the wrong direction, this black lab was a button pusher.
While the instructor was telling us all about how dogs get to their raisers and know how to push all the right buttons to get their way, every dog there was eating pine cones.  Pine cones are not on their diet.  You heard a cacophony  of "leave it" the entire time.  Every dog there was antsy, fidgety and disobedient.  The instructor even took a puppy from one frazzled raiser and showed us how to keep the dog from pushing our buttons.  (they make it look so easy).  Dylan was not impressed and kept finding more pine cones to eat.

"Leave it"
Then we went on a walk around the campus, where they had placed items to distract the dogs while following in a line-up of puppies, all distracted by the items they placed there to distract them.  Dylan seemed to be in a hurry to lead this group as she would not slow down and kept racing in front of me to lead this merry band of pups.  Stopping only long enough to sniff out the distracting agent (leave it) and then racing to the next one.  Needless to say, I was not doing a good job in keeping her in line.  To the point that I asked one of the staff there to help me.  She took Dylan and as Dylan raced to lead, she would yell the command "heel" and do an about face.  She did this about 10 times.  I'll say this, Dylan is as hard headed as she is cute.  Handing her back to me saying, "That's what you need to do."  Ok then!

A merry line of pups.

"That's what you need to do"
So most of the day was spent training the puppy raisers to be more obedient in training their puppies.

Chris and I did discover one important fact at obedience training day,  every puppy raiser there expressed the same doubts, fears and insecurities in doing a good job in raising their dog.  Every staff member there told us what a great job we were doing.  I guess that's why they keep coming back.  That and it is a great program.

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