Today was Eli's first day of Puppy Kindergarten!
I was surprised that he was being antisocial. He had a great time playing with Aunt Delmi yesterday. I was sure he would enjoy interacting with the other puppies in class, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He hid under my chair and looked to me to pick him up and make him safe. I guess that's okay. It's what he's supposed to do, isn't it?
We learned some interesting things together today. Much of what we learned, we came home and told daddy about so he can start using the tips with Eli's big sister, Mei-li.
We got right into working on our homework for the week. I was using the word "focus" for Eli to look at me and that was going really well. In class, we were playing the Name Game, saying the puppy's name, having him look, giving him a marker word (mine is "yay"), then rewarding him with a treat. Eli took right to it! Again, though, we have been practicing the focus on each other. Our homework assignment is to practice the Name Game 100 times this week. So far today, we have done it eight times. I am also doing it when he is distracted with something else, just for the practice. He is excellent with it!
Our other assignment is to work on staying at the "sit" for up to 30 seconds. The way this is supposed to work is that he gets told to sit and as soon as his butt is down he's given the marker word, "yay", then a treat. He is then required to stay sitting until I tell him "release". As he stays sitting, he gets a "yay" and a treat in increasing increments. With Eli, however, as soon as I give him a treat, he picks his butt up. I then have to tell him "sit" again. He will sit for me for 30 seconds if I do not give him the treat reward, but reinforce the sit by telling him "yay". The trainer says it is important not to let the puppy fail. I'm not sure if I should keep him at the sit without a treat reward until I want him to release his sit. Perhaps I should not have started this kind of training on my own.
I used to work with the clicker. Someone in class was using a clicker with their puppy. I think Eli recognized the sound, poor confused Puppers. I do not use it anymore for exactly the reason the trainer stated in class today. I do not always have it with me and I am not always quick enough with it because my hand does not respond to my brain fast enough. Therefore, the clicker will not be an effective training tool for me and Eli.
Puppy Kindergarten is going to be a fun six weeks for us. I am nervous about the test at the end, but I am pretty confident in Eli.