Toucha-toucha-touch Alice

Tonight was week two of Puppy STAR class. I had been worried about coming to class since Control Unleashed class on Thursday was so difficult for Alice.

We arrived early and walked around to potty. As we approached and walked into the building, suddenly there was a cacophony of dogs barking. I think this scared Alice and she turned into statue dog and didn’t want to walk anymore. Since we were standing there in the middle of the aisle way that everyone uses to bring their dogs in and out of the building, I just picked up her and carried her into the ring.

Once we got in the ring she calmed down and was fine. Before class started and while the instructor was introducing things, I mostly let her look around and did an occasional touch command with her.

The first thing we did in class was work on petting our dogs in long slow pets all the way down their backs instead of riling them up with our petting. Alice liked this for a short while, then was done with it LOL! So I stopped and took a picture of her being cute 🙂

Alice looking into the camera as other dogs practice petting in the background.

We did a few chin rests, and then I noticed Alice was starting to act cold. So I put her PJs on under her harness, and she crawled up into my lap to get some warmth from me.

Luckily the next series of things we worked on were handling. We touched their paws, their collars, their ears, and their mouths. I could do all of this with Alice cuddled up in my lap keeping warm, and she loved it. This was her favorite part of class! Since there was so much touching of our dogs involved, we named this blog entry after the song in Rocky Horror Picture Show “Touch-Toucha-Touch Me”.

I got a couple of pictures of Alice in my lap being very happy and relaxed.

Alice in her PJs and pink plaid harness in my lap looking up at me.
Alice relaxing and staying warm cuddled up in my lap.

Eventually, though, Alice had to get up and do some more active training. We worked on sit next. Alice doesn’t like to sit while wearing her PJs, but she did OK. I only made her sit three or four times since I know she doesn’t really enjoy doing it in the PJs.

While were were hanging out and everyone else was working on sit, I got two final pictures of Alice.

Alice standing on the green matting with two dogs and handlers behind her.
And finally Alice sits while wearing her PJs!

Pretty soon, though, Alice wanted to just hang out. I could tell she was getting pretty done with class, but we only had a few minutes left so I figured I’d see what they were going to teach next. It was feeding out of a box or tall bowl. This builds confidence when a dog learns they can stick their head inside a box to eat.

We all got a chance to practice, but the only problem was that the bowl they had selected for the little dogs to use for this was still too big for little Alice! Oh, and we also had the problem where she didn’t want to walk over to the bowl. When she didn’t want to walk over to where the bowl was in the middle of the class, I said that we didn’t need to do it, and we’d just head out. But the assistant brought it over to us, so I tried it. Alice wasn’t afraid of the bowl at all and willingly stuck her head in—but the bowl was too tall and she couldn’t reach the treats at the bottom of it LOL!

So we packed up and headed out.

It was a pretty good class—Alice wasn’t thrilled to be there, but neither was she unhappy to be there. I think she’s simply not a fan of training classes in general. I was talking with the person who owns her mom, Cheeks. She said that Cheeks didn’t like classes, either. Cheeks liked training at home and out and about, but found classes tiresome. She was able to perform in the ring just fine, but classes were just blah. I’m thinking Alice might be the same way. It’s too bad since I LOVE training classes, but it’ll be OK.

The important thing is that she really enjoys training outings for service work both with and without her service dog friends. That’s what is important in Alice’s life, so if I have to pick if she enjoys classes more or going out into the real world more, I’d definitely choose the real world.

I think after these two classes I’m currently taking are over, I might just stick with Out on the Town classes for working on all the things I’d normally learn in other classes. I think Alice will like those because they’re out and about and doing things—not just sitting around in one spot doing the same thing over and over again, and not with dogs around her barking and stressed the whole time.

Hestia will be happy about this, because that means when I get an urge to take a different kind of training class, I’ll be taking it with Hestia who LOVES classes probably more than I do!

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