Back to School!

I think one of the things my students are most shocked by about me, is my commitment to training classes. Although Shayne and Rio are both really well trained and are mostly well behaved (except when they counter surf and eat my oreos!), I think it’s so beneficial to keep taking classes with them. The one on one bonding time, continuing to build communication, and practicing something new together are all fantastic ‘side effects’ of taking classes together.

I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but it’s been about 10 months since Rio was enrolled in any training class. Shayne jumped into a CGC class for 4 weeks to brush up before her test back in August but Rio hasn’t had anything since early spring last year. It’s quite sad. I love taking classes with them and really don’t care WHAT type of class they are in.

To be honest, when I started the search for a class, I was searching for anything. Really. Family manners (any level), competition obedience, rally, agility, flyball, freestyle…anything. I was just so desperate to take a class and get some instruction. Heck, there was a moment that I nearly got up at 6:15 am to leave for class at 7:20 to get to a 8:45a class that was an hour away… but I’d have to drive through town at rush hour so I’d have to leave extra early.

Beggars can’t be choosers. I teach classes 3 nights a week, a popular time for training classes; I teach classes Saturday mornings, also a popular time for training classes; I have private lessons on the evenings I don’t teach classes, and like I said, evenings are popular times for classes. That left me with Saturday night or Sunday night classes and the reality is these are few and far between. I found one place close to me that had flyball on a night I was able to attend and I think Rio would ROCK at flyball. But it’s at a place that has some hunting dog classes that use shock collars and some behavior modification plans that use shock collars and I don’t want to give my money to a school like that (though I know they do teach R+ basic manner classes).

I was feeling a bit hopeless when I saw a facebook post by a agility training school about an hour from my home. They had weekday classes during the middle of the day! The one class they had listed was right smack dab in the middle of my mid-day dog walking clients so I decided to ask if there was any chance of either an earlier or later class. Since I have SOME flexibility with my mid-day walking, a little before or a little after the class listed would definitely be workable. Lucky for me, this school is FANTASTIC and they actually scheduled a class just for me! Right now I’m the only one enrolled but hopefully they get a few more to make it worth their time to hold the class.

I actually have some butterflies about getting back into classes–I’m just so excited! The hour drive each way is a bit daunting but it is well worth it to get to have a class again! I’m sure I’ll let you all know how it went!!

  1. “Trained” and “training” are really subjective for some people. Most of my family, until we had Elka, assumed that “trained” meant that she didn’t go in the house. Leash walking, coming when called, carrying items…these things didn’t really enter their dog consciousness. Most of my family isn’t animal people, and if they are, it’s cats, who they only litter box train! I guess it makes sense.

    Agility class sounds like such fun! I’d try it with Elka, but I think my backyard needs a better fence before I teach her to jump! šŸ˜‰

  2. Sounds neat. Too bad you didn’t go for the flyball class, though I understand not wanting to support a facility that uses those training methods. (I’ve been known to buy every obedience training book in a used book store, simply to prevent anyone from buying the book and using some of the rather barbaric training methods they demonstrate.) It might be a good idea to drop a email to the flyball club and let the known that their choice of training location is why you did not join their class- it isn’t likely to make a difference, but will let them know it might be an issue with more than just you as well.

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