Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obedience School!

Oliver got a lucky placement into a training class on Monday. It is a 6-week class by a local "dog whisperer." After only one class, we have a clicker and a few answers, but many more questions! Although Ben thought me cruel for restricting Oliver's access to the kitchen (we couldn't get him to stay off the counters, table, chairs, and island!) since he is not allowed upstairs (he cannot be trusted not to chew everything in sight!), he learned from the dog trainer that the best thing to do for a food aggressive dog like Oliver is to restrict their access to rooms in the house - in other words, no free roaming. Ben had to admit that I was on the right track on that one - well, now that he heard it from an expert!

During the first class, we learned how to teach Oliver to "SIT. " If you know Oliver very well, you know that we already taught him that. Umm, okay. In the meantime, I had started teaching Oliver to catch his kibble piece-by-piece in order to slow him down a bit. It was not only working, but he seemed to enjoy it! Instead of eating with his tail down and his sole focus on his food, he was up, pert, alert, and his tail wagged between bites! I stumbled onto something fun by experimenting with ways to keep him from gulping, and everyone in the family got a kick out of feeding him that way and watching him catch the bits in mid-air!! Unfortunately, the dog trainer says we have to feed Oliver in his kennel now, so we aren't tossing him his food anymore, but it was a fun trick to teach him!

Ah, well, we're only one class in, and it is my hope that after our six weeks are up, Oliver will be over his food aggression. The rest of the training is just gravy....

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