A couple of shots of two new Puppy Foundation Skills students: Rosetta (above) and Rocky (below). Both are currently enrolled in the class, learning some basic puppy obedience, getting some exposure to “stuff”…grates, weird surfaces, tunnels, other puppies, people…learning and experiencing things about Life.
Every puppy class and group is a bit different as the dynamics will continually change and be different depending on who the puppies / and the people / in the group are. Right now, with three puppies ( a fourth one joining us next week) – two are quite a bit larger in size than the very tiny Rosetta. Besides the “curriculum”, I think one of the biggest learning that puppy owners can take home is to learn a bit about “reading their dogs”.
The main emphasis in Puppy Foundation Class is really on developing the human-puppy bond and working on some simple skills, but we do break for short play / when appropriate / where pups have a chance to be off leash and meet one another.
When setting these puppies free to go explore and meet on Tuesday night – there were some great real-life examples of some actual “dog-demos” of how dogs communicate with their bodies to indicate how they feel about a particular interaction. I think the group learned some very valuable life skills…and hopefully also took home the message that just like parents would intervene (hopefully) in a playground of kids if the play gets too rough or if a child seems to feel unsafe – being an in-tuned puppy parent also includes interrupting puppy-play, keeping a close eye on the interactions and watching and monitoring carefully.
From here we shall continue. What I personally love about the new (since last year) Open Enrolment format, is that new puppies can join the group at any time..therefore bringing in some unfamiliar elements from time to time – which is great for a developing little puppy! Once a new pup joins, they stay with us for 6 weeks (or 8 weeks in some cases) and graduate once through the 6-week class rotation. I’m already looking forward to meeting the new addition next week…dynamics will again change and the environment gets more distracting to work in. But it’s amazing to see the learning and soaking up of skills that go on with the little ones!
Next week – Puppy class participants: remember to bring toys (!!) we’ll work on some play as well as Puppy Come! Recall Games…