Sunday morning, I got to attend two puppy classes! I definitely want to take Kaline to these classes when I get him—I just hope there are enough other people with pups so that there is class.
The classes are run by Amy de Benedictis, the Puppy Lady, and they're awesome! The first one is called Play and Learn, where the puppies get to play with each other while the owners learn from Amy. Unlike a lot of “puppy socialization” classes, the puppies do not get to play non-stop and do whatever they want. Periodically, the owners have to go get their puppies, either through calling to them or actually walking up to them and putting a treat on their nose. They have to leave the play session, after which they are rewarded for doing so, along with doing a few more simple obedience commands. It's super for them: they learn that they do have to listen, even when they're playing, but that after coming back to their owners, they'll get to go play again too. They also work on familiarity with things like skateboards, obstacles like tunnels, and ramps.
The puppies are learning sit, down, a pretty excellent recall (SO cute to watch!) along with a handy “wait” command. Not nearly as formal as stay, it just means don't go forward. I use it a ton, especially when I'm out with four or five dogs and one of them randomly decides to poop in the middle of a sidewalk. So much easier to clean up quickly if your other four dogs aren't trying to yank you in all different directions!
The pups, unsurprisingly, are cute enough to make me completely incoherent. One is a beautiful dark brindle American Bulldog/pit bull/Lab mix—definitely my favorite! Then there's a real smart but somewhat nervous little shepherd mix, plus two incredibly floppy standard poodle littermates. During playtime, the pups always paired off, poodles together, mixes together. It was pretty funny.
The next class, for slightly older puppies, is Let's Go On Leash, where the pups learn things like heel and stay, in addition to their other commands. That class had two Labs (I love Labs!), a pug/beagle mix and a tiny shaggy brown-and-white mix.
I can't wait to get my little Kaline into these classes—I think they will be invaluable precursors to getting into the intense Saturday group class run by Freddie. The exposure not only to other dogs, but to random things like the tunnel, will be fantastic for him.
And speaking of Kaline, the litter is doing very well—they're two weeks old today, and their eyes are open!