Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obedience Training

Well, I had a bit of a scare the other day. Ari was in her car seat asleep with the hood down; you could barely see her socks sticking out the bottom. We were getting ready to go on an errand with the dogs. As I was getting everyone ready to go, Toby decided to get really excited and run towards me. He had no idea Ari was in the car seat - it was my fault, he wouldn't have gone near her if he could see her - but in his exuberance, he nearly knocked the car seat over before I grabbed him, literally picked him up off the ground using only the fur on his neck, and threw him against the door. (Yes, he weighs 74 pounds.) Needless to say he's been a bit scared of me ever since. Now, Ari would have been just fine even if he had knocked her over, and it really wasn't Toby's fault, it was mine. He was being a rambunctious puppy, and I have really slacked on his training.

After this, Justin and I discussed things and decided to re-enroll Toby in obedience classes. (We're only doing Toby because the most exuberant thing Talsi has ever done is fluff on people.) He hasn't been since he was 8 weeks old and it's high time for a refresher course. I really just don't know enough about dog training to correct the behaviors in him. None of them are violent, they are just out of control - he's mentally still a puppy, and I can't control his excitement sometimes, and it needs to stop before Ari starts crawling. While I would stake everything short of my life on the fact that he would never be aggressive, I wouldn't stake a nickel on whether or not he would bowl over a small child in his excitement and desire to play. I need to be able to say "Down" and Toby go down, exactly where he is, and immediately - and I have no idea how to train him to do this.

So Toby is taking an obedience class! From a lady whose 6 Golden Retrievers all hold utility (intermediate) and above obedience titles from the AKC, one of which is Champion. I wanted to enroll him in a serious class, not just a Petsmart train-your-dog-to-be-nice class, because I need to have real, immediate, off leash control over him. All that to say - next time you see Toby, ask before petting him or playing with him. We're really going to get serious about making him calm down when told to, so don't be offended if we don't let you play with him while he's being trained. :)

We're going to take him to a place called River Ranch Dogs, a short drive up 1314 from our apartment. I've spoken with the lady and I'm confident that she knows what she's doing and that she'll be able to teach me how to teach him. Hopefully soon we'll have a well mannered, well adjusted, happy Golden!

No comments: