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Monday, November 19, 2007

Graduation for One

Bird Dog Cheyenne
Believe it or not, we are not disappointed. This weekend we met with one of our trainers and she recommended that Dakota move to the next class (Beginner Novice) while Cheyenne stay in the same class (Beginner) and not graduate with her sister. The reasoning behind this is not so much that Cheyenne is not able to handle the obedience commands but rather that the Lab Brats really need to be separated.

So, yesterday was our first day with the Lab Brats in separate classes. Although they were on the same field, they were much further away from each other and this calmed both of them down significantly. That doesn't mean that they were not looking for each other or that Cheyenne didn't let out a bark to get her sister's attention. It was just that Cheyenne was realizing that it is mommy that she needs to pay attention to; not Dakota.

A couple of further points that we noticed. The first thing is that although we used to let the girls run around the training field beforehand, to get rid of some energy, we noticed that this allowed them to think that the field was for play. Needless to say, we now don't get there early and let them run around. Play time is after training and only if they do well during the training; not before.

The second thing is that sometimes it is best to take it slow in training and not try to rush for towards that more advance class. Some dogs take longer then others to train. This doesn't mean that they aren't as smart but maybe just that they learn differently then other dogs. The rule of thumb is to keep working on the commands until your dog can do it in their sleep and never give up on training your dog because you think he or she is too difficult to train. You should see how many times I have to tap on Cheyenne's head and say "Ready" to get her to finally look up at me. Is she a stupid dog? Far from it! It is just that she is a Retriever and she much rather be chasing/retrieving a duck or something then learning how to sit straight.

Training is an art that should not be rushed; especially with Labrador Retrievers. In the end, it is worth it!



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