Nugget and I completed our Reactive Rover training with flying colors. In our last class, he walked right with the trainer dog but consistently looked back to me for direction. Additionally, he was exposed to all different types of dogs throughout the training. After the class was over, the trainer even asked us if we would like to volunteer as a helper dog in future classes. How exciting!
We had our last Canine Good Citizen training on Monday, so we are ready to take the test on June 5th! The last couple of classes we have practiced each step of the CGC, and Nugget is doing so well. He is listening quickly and consistently without the need for treats. Not only is he completing the test steps in training, but he is also using what he has learned in everyday situations! It has been really amazing to see him mature. I have taken him to a couple crowded events recently. First, we went to a Farmer’s Market that was filled with people and dogs. Nugget calmly walked by my side and through the crowds. He also politely greeted both people and dogs. He only became excited when interacting with one bouncy dog who was ready to play. Last weekend, I took him on a walk through town during a car show. He adjusted quickly to loud noises and a lot of people. Several people stopped to pet him, and he even sat patiently by my side while a man got a cup of water for him. We are so ready for the test!
Nugget and I started a new basic training class on Tuesday. Although Nugget and I have been in training for months, all of our training has pretty much been one-on-one with a trainer. I wanted him to practice his skills in the presence of other dogs so he could learn to more intently focus on me with distractions around. The class we are taking uses “clicker training”, which I have not experienced before. After our first class, I can say I think the clicker is very effective. In our first class we practiced sitting in front of me and by my left side, responding to his name, touch, and loose leash walking. Loose leash walking takes a lot of training and time, and Nugget seems to finally be understanding the concept. I was very impressed with the progress he made in class.Lastly, Nugget is involved in Day-N-Train at his daycare on Fridays. Basically, he gets a break from playtime to have one hour of training with his trainer. At the end of the day, his trainer sends me pictures and an in-depth report card of everything they worked on. It’s really cool, and I think it is beneficial for him to practice in a highly exciting environment.
In a few weeks, Nugget will start a Therapy Training class where he will specifically work on skills needed to pass a therapy dog test. We are getting closer to our goal, and the July therapy dog test is quickly approaching! I cannot wait to start this class and incorporate real-life scenarios into our training.
Yes, we are training crazy right now, but we both enjoy it a lot! I even had a meeting with the local courthouse, and they are very interested in having Nugget (and several other dogs) available to comfort victims during emotional trials.