Hayduke went through a puppy kindergarten this past spring (Blue Sky Dogs) with flying colors, though with perhaps a little bit too much enthusiasm. We took the class from Colleen who runs a pet shop on Cantrell Road, and it was worth every penny and every minute we spent.
For his beginning obedience class, we switched to the Little Rock Dog Training Club. They have a much more extensive lineup of courses for people who want to show their dogs, but we thought that many of the skills involved would translate well to just having a good, obedient, reliable family hiking dog.
Boy, were we wrong. What a waste of time and money! We spent nearly eight weeks relearning all the things we already knew from puppy kindergarten, except that we spent time to learn them in a snooty, dog-show way.
Hayduke had already learned that when I say "sit", he should put his butt on the ground. He's very good at it. Sit. Butt. Ground. Good sit. NOT a good sit, according to the snooty dog show people. He should sit THIS way, doing THIS, and not do THAT. Hayduke wasn't interested, and I wasn't either. He'd sit sideways, or stick his leg out, or lean on me. He and I were both so grumpy about the 'new rules' that I really believe he started sitting wrong on purpose. In fact, when he'd occasionally get it exactly right, he'd realize it and get up and sit again, pointing backward.
When we practiced 'recall', I'd call him from across the room. "Hayduke, COME!" I'd say in a happy, excited voice, and he'd run as fast as he could straight to me. But was this correct? No, it was NOT. I was supposed to say it sternly, in a voice of authority. "Hayduke, COME", in a frowny loud tone. I pointed out that the students who said it this way had dogs who walked slowly to them, or ignored them completely, or wandered off to someone else. Mine was the only dog in the class who actually appeared to want to mind his human.
Most of the class was completely impractical pickiness and time spent fiddling with skills already learned. We were both disinterested and frustrated. I had to invent games for Hayduke to play or he'd get bored waiting on other dogs to do things perfectly.
Ugh. We finished our class, and we got our certificate (that's it, up top), and phooey on them. We're not going back.