Last night we embarked on a new adventure. My husband and I took Nala to a group class for training your favorite canine for the AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and learning the ropes to be a therapy dog. Joana the instructor and owner of Sit and Stay gave the class at a local VFW. She is a great instructor and gave out lots of interesting information. She certainly could give Caesar Milan a run for his money! We started off by walking the dogs in a circle and then having them.....you guessed it, sit and stay. Nala was pretty good at doing this. She mastered the sit and stay quickly, but as the evening wore on she started getting stressed You could tell after about 30 minutes she was looking all around and was not into it anymore. When we started the exercise to make her sit then come and it was hard for to focus and she just wouldn't do it. At the end of the session, Joana pointed out that Nala was one of two stressed dogs in the group, the other being a female Golden Retriever. I know she can be a nervous Nellie now and then. Maybe it was a bit over whelming for the first time being in that situation. There were at least 10 dogs with their respective humans there, a good sized crowd. There was also another bulldog named Alfred who was just 10 months old who sat next to us. He was interested in sniffing Nala more so than the other dogs. Birds of a feather I suppose.
Joana emphasized that we must train our dogs in every environment. At the park, in the yard etc. not just the class room, and that good behavior must always be rewarded. She does not believe in tugging at the leash to correct behavior. Her mantra is "Don't correct, redirect!"
We will keep working on what we learned at class and maybe next week she will be more comfortable there. Until then...sit and behave!
Below is a bit of video of last night.