Cura and I have been together since 2009. We want to thank all of you who followed the early days as well as those who popped back on occasion during the long hiatus. Training was done, the days passed, and we were settling into our life together.
Fast forward: Cura is slowing down and a new member of the family is in training. On top of that, we are all busy with our new calling . . . Running the Training Department for Paws and Stripes. Join us on our journey!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ignoring old friends

Cura is a very friendly dog and is very energetic so one of the very early challenges was helping her to learn that she needed to ignore people and dogs that she knew when she was working.   I think that this last cycle of classes proved that she has well and truly mastered the whole 'impulse control' concept. 

For months now, she has stopped reacting to the arrival of Rick and Heather (something that they both glad and sad about).  But, just because Cura doesn't react when they arrive doesn't mean that she doesn't love them anymore -- as soon as I release her to 'Say Hello', she is clearly very pleased to see them.  But, the amazing development this time around had to do with Cura's old kennelmate.  A few months ago, the dog that Cura lived with at the shelter was also finally adopted and began attending the training classes.  Both dogs clearly remembered each other and would make attempts to greet each other and play (sometimes accompanied by wining or barking). 

This last round of classes, both dogs behaved beautifully!  Cura began treating and responding to him exactly like all of the other dogs in the class -- essentially ignoring him despite the fact that they are old friends.  Oh sure, she would look, but no more wiggling and fussyness.  And he is doing better as well.  They don't attend every cycle, but he is clearly benefitting from the socialization that he is getting (he is on the timid side, so needs exposure to situations outside the home). 

I really enjoy attending the classes.  Sure, everyone else is learning basic commands -- something that Cura no longer needs, but it is a wonderfully distracting environment that is perfect for reinforcing Cura's advanced skills.  By practicing in busy, active environments, Cura's skills become more solidified and she learns to focus despite anything else that is going on around her.

The next cycle of classes start the weekend after Easter -- looks like 'training withdrawals' are in our future . . . but, there is always the upcoming test! 

No comments: