Rocket Completed Basic Training

It’s been quite a challenging experience adopting Rocket. He is so full of energy and still has a lot of puppy in him so he’s easily distracted. He did show signs of being a quick learner though and the idea of some formalized training instruction appealed to me.

Eight weeks ago we started Beginner Dog Training classes at PetSmart. I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I have a hard time approaching unfamiliar social situations to begin with but it wasn’t like I was going alone. Rocket was with me.

The other dogs in the class were about as diverse as Rockets heritage. They ranged from toys that would fit into the palm of your hand to a head strong but loving Malimute. There were a couple dogs about Rocket’s size too which was a treat for him as it give someone for him to play with.

Our instructor, Ashley, was amazing. I found her instruction easy to follow and she was very approachable as well. I found it easy to ask her questions and she always had an informative answer. After the first week I was already seeing results. The course uses clicker training with positive reinforcement. I questioned how well this would work for Rocket at first but it didn’t take long to convince me obviously.

Wednesday, being the last class, was graduation for the dogs. We had a little test where we demonstrated the various commands we learned over the last eight weeks. Then we had a couple fun competitions to see who could “stay” the longest as well as who had the most tail wag. We also got to show off any other tricks we’ve learned and Rocket’s buddy Tate showed us a new one, “Dance”. Finally all the dogs got ice cream and graduation pictures. I’ll post Rocket’s picture when it arrives.

By the end of the course Rocket would “sit”, “stay”, “down”, “come”, and even “beg”. We still have more work to do to refine his responsiveness and to this end I must remain diligent about continuing his training. I think perhaps in late summer I’ll see if I can afford to enroll us in the intermediate class. Ashley seemed to think he’d do well with it.

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