Saturday, October 08, 2005

Puppy Kindergarten

My group offers a 10-week class called "Puppy Kindergarten" for members with new 8- or 9-week-old pups. More often a learning experience for the people than the dogs, the kindergarten class encourages and teaches us how to begin working immediately to gain the trust and obedience of a creature that would, in the hands of the average person, probably be no more than an adorable and barely forgivable tasmanian devil (of the Warner Bros. sort).

But the kindergarten teachers are wise and patient, and the simple tricks they know are profoundly effective.

I took year-old Lomax to kindergarten not because he needs to brush up on his basic skills, but because I could always use a refresher...AND because Lomax loooooves other dogs, which is a fine thing for a family dog, but not such a fine thing for a service dog. Not everyone with four legs (or two, for that matter, as Lomax is nondiscriminatory in these matters) is a potential playmate.

His brother Liam comes to these classes, too, because this is apparently a genetic enthusiasm. Liam must stay down under Matt's chair and observe the class, and behave without whining and fidgeting and sucking up to "his people" for attention.

But I took Lomax through the class itself. It must have looked comical, three other tiny puppies in the on-their-back "cradle" position with their handlers, and me with the remedial student, having to actually reeeeeach forward to grab and inspect his back feet.

He did a fair amount of wiggling and sniffing because he's not just friendly but also intact ("GIRLS LIVE HERE. I SMELL GIRLS. GIRLS. GIRLS. GIRLS."), but by the end of the class, he seemed to be fairly attentive and calm. The real test will come at his first official South Bay puppy raisers meeting this coming Monday, which will be wall-to-wall with people and dogs who are new and exciting. And they'll all be in costume.

Photos to come, I promise.

4 comments:

Kiwi's Mom said...

Kiwi is a lot like Lomax as far as wanting to play with every living and non-living thing in sight. Even though she is no longer on her way to being a guide dog, I do want her to have better manners and not want to jump (in the playful way) all objects.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see pictures of my boy (well, I guess your boy!) in his halloween costume!!! I bet he's going to hate it. :) Have fun!! Give him a pat on the head for me!

8675309 said...

Consider his head patted!

And y'know, he's pretty tolerant of the costume, except for the...helmet....

;^)

Anonymous said...

Haha!!! I can't wait to see pictures!! :) Oh, by the way, I love the picture of him on your lap!!! So cute!