Professor goes to school


We had our first S.T.A.R. puppy class Monday night. There are 10 puppies in the class; Professor is the youngest and smallest of the puppies, but he’s such a good, confident boy. It was at my training club, so several folks outside the class wanted to see him, pet him, talk to him, and he accepted them all. He was interested in the other puppies, greeted them very appropriately, but wasn’t so enthralled he couldn’t pay attention to me when asked. As in all first nights, there was a lot of sitting and listening, and he sat happily on my lap and chewed his toy very patiently. He let me know when he needed to go out, so no accidents! I was very proud of him.
And more than one of my dog friends commented on how well-bred he is! He’s not only gorgeous, but mentally sound as well. Yay Toni, you do good work!
S.T.A.R. puppy is an outgrowth of the AKC CGC program, sort of a pre-CGC. S.T.A.R. stands for Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility. By the end of the class, the puppies should be able to allow petting by a person other than the owner, allow owner to handle the ears and feet, walk on a leash in a straight line, walk past other people (5 feet away), sit and down on command (food lures allowed), come to owner from 5 feet away when called, and stay on leash with another person while the owner walks 10 steps away and returns. They are also tested on their reactions to distractions presented 15 feet away. At the end of the class series, the puppy can be enrolled in the AKC S.T.A.R. puppy program, and will get a certificate and medal from AKC, and discounts on AKC services and so on. It leads very naturally into a CGC class; since I’m an evaluator, I make it a point to put CGCs on my dogs.
We went to our other puppy class Tuesday night. This is a combined tricks (for older dogs) and puppy class. It’s a bit of a haul for me, about an hour’s drive each way, but so worth it. Kitty and Lori had set up a puppy playground with tiny buja boards, a ladder, some different footing areas, and a baby tunnel. The whole was surrounded by gates so the puppies could be off-leash. We took the puppies to the playground when they needed to burn off some energy during the class.
In class, we worked on mat work (Professor is very good about his mat, and will run back to it if he needs to calm himself!) and perch work. It’s the first time he’s seen a perch, and he had no trouble with it at all. But he does have the attention span of a gnat, so we did a little mat work, went to the playground, did a little perch work, went back to the playground, went outdoors, went back to the playground.
He played in the playground with two other puppies. One’s a french bulldog, the other a JRT. Both are about 15 weeks, so about twice Professor’s age, although the JRT is not much larger than he is. They have similar play styles and had a wonderful time chasingchasingchasingwrestlingwrestlingchasingwrestling. I’m proud to report that Professor is the ONLY puppy that did not piddle in the playground! He’s very good about letting me know when he needs to go out, although sometimes by the time we get out he’s forgotten what he came for, especially if another dog comes into the potty area.
This puppy’s temperament is just amazing. We did a little on-leash play with a very exuberant 7-month old beardie. We didn’t want to let them off-leash because of the size difference, it would just have been too easy for the beardie to trample the Professor. He was very good with this big, strange, hairy creature. He retreated to his mat a couple of times, regrouped, and bounced right back. We kept it very short, for both dogs’ sakes.
I’d rather have the classes spread out through the week, rather than Monday and Tuesday, but that’s when they’re offered so that’s when we go. Fortunately, Professor’s very good in the car, although he’s still a bit clingy and doesn’t like to be left alone. Oh well, he’s still a baby.


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