Dodo sensei came by this morning and we had our first two dog training session. Mallow's name is in the balance, Nobunaga the samurai lord being easy to call, and somehow it suits his strong presence and slightly Japanese face. At any rate we didn't practice "Here" yet, since Nobu can't actually sit on command yet. First of all Claire and I ran through our paces, and Claire showed just how well she has learned everything, moving smoothly from heel and sit to heel, sit, down and up, then from heel, sit and wait facing both directions in the park, heel, sit, down and wait, and finally sit, wait, here, coming to me when I call with her usual loping gait, no servile obeisance or hurry there, just general easy-going willing to please. After that I walked Mallow-Nobu round the course, coaxing him to sit at each cone, and Dodo sensei showed me how to lift up the treat so that his nose tilts up while I gently pressure his bum down, to get him to sit before getting the treat.
We went round the course twice, then doing heel sit and down, (he seems quite willing to down, but doesn't seem to have learned to sit), before Nobu lost concentration and we decided to switch over to training with Dodo sensei, so that he didn't get fed up with things. I was pleasantly surprised at not only how the dogs improve, but also how much I have learned about handling dogs during the sessions. But then Dodosensei took over, and his dog trainer magic was immediately apparent, as the photos bear witness. I love the picture of them both looking in the same direction, and the way Dodo sensei encouragingly pats the dog on the shoulder to tell him he's done well. He even began to work on 'wait', and the session was a great success. Now I'll have to review sit with Nobu-Mallow once or twice a day to reinforce it, and see how well he performs next week.