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Ronnie the cardigan corgi has started obedience training at the Little Rock Dog Training Club.
I feel lucky that the class he’s enrolled in doesn’t contain one aggressive dog. I took our two previous dogs to training, and we completed several courses. But no aggressive animals is a first.
All of the dogs were wagging their tails and grinning from ear to ear.
Ronnie already knew sit, and I’d just started teaching him down. But come-to-heel was new, and he didn’t understand. “Oh well,” I’ll train it at home.
The next day, I put Ronnie in a crate and let him watch as I worked Betty. Then places were switched and it was Ronnie’s turn.
But after multiple attempts, he still didn’t get it. However, simply by watching Betty, he did learn to play dead. When I make my fingers into a gun and say Bang, Betty falls over and lies still. Now Ronnie rolls onto his back and lies still – except for his tail, which swishes back and forth.
Today, we tried again. For breakfast, both dogs received half-portions. Then later I pulled out some cooked chicken. Betty went into the crate, and was rewarded with Ronnie whenever he did something right.
I asked Ronnie to heel, and he flopped over dead. So I asked him to sit, and he got back up.
Grinning, he flopped down, paws in the air.
“Sit. Good dog.” Piece of chicken. “Heel.”
Slowly, ears back and grinning, he came to my side. He looked at me hesitantly. “Is this what you want?”
“Hurray!” He got lots of chicken and praise. He heeled a few more times, and we let Betty out of the crate.
As I left to clean up the kitchen, Ronnie trotted over to me, sat down, and looked up. “Can we do more,” he seemed to say.
But not today. Let’s end on success.