Sunday, November 21, 2010

Puppy Training at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

Honey being distracted in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

We had our first puppy training meeting with Honey at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. This was the first weekend the hotel has been open since the May floods. It is amazing what $285 MILLION can buy! But I digress... Tina, the Nashville obedience trainer, met us, Pat with Moose, and Lindsee with Diva to help us train the pups.

Honey walking on the left!!

We wanted to address the few issues we noticed with Honey. First, she loves to eat her leash. When we try to take her out for a walk, she jerks her head around and somehow manages to get the leash in her mouth but then she will walk fine for us so is it really a problem? Well, yes and no. While she is still a pup it is not considered a problem but one we should address now since it may become a habit - and one that would make her ineligible to be a guide dog. We noticed Pat and Lindsee (both raising their 5th dogs have metal and leather leashes for their dogs).

Secondly, Honey loves to eat just about everything outside. This is very common in Labs but scavenging behaviors should also be addressed now to prevent problems in the future. Jerking her leash while delivering a stern 'No' should help. Now, I have been doing that since she arrived but not quite as forceful as Tina did. Honey paid attention to Tina. Here's to a week of forcefulness...

On the silver lining side, Honey does not bark. I think I have heard her bark 2 or 3 times now and that is huge! Guide dogs should not bark just to bark. As a matter of fact, no noise is one of the first few commands the pups should learn. Moose barked at everything so we are feeling quite blessed that Honey is doing well in the 'no noise' department.

Also, three times Honey did 'busy busy' on command and therefore did not 'busy' while in the Gaylord. 'Busy busy' on command somewhat mastered!

Commands we learned during training included the sit, stay and down. Honey has mastered sit, and 90% of times stay (depending on distractions!) but we have not been working on down. I definitely give her an E for effort but this new skill is something we will be working on this week.

We are now off to Walmart in search of a chain link metal leash and maybe a new toy or two...

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