Puppy preschool

Today Sunshine attended her third puppy preschool session in my local town. The last time I went to puppy preschool, it was 1998. A lot has changed since then, and for the better. We’ve gotten so much out of these classes. Here are all the things we’ve been practising so far:

  • Sit
  • Drop
  • Crawl
  • Rollover
  • Heel
  • Recall
  • Mat training
  • Socialisation off lead and on lead
  • Going through tunnels.

We’ve also been discussing strategies for mouthing, jumping, barking, toilet training, eating (Sunshine inhales her food so she now eats out of a muffin tray to slow her down), pack leader communication, separation anxiety and so much more.

As Sunshine is tremendously food-oriented and a very quick learner, she has picked up most of this really easily and is often used as the demo student because of her willingness to do almost anything for a treat! 🙂

Still, she’s an individual and has her areas that need extra attention. For her, these have been:

  • mouthing behaviours (biting us in play), but these are easing with age
  • barking at us over the baby gate while we eat (this was stopped very quickly with just two sprays from a water spray)
  • recall (she’s not particularly motivated to come when called)
  • she hasn’t been happy with a collar or harness from day one
  • and she is so far pretty terrified of the tunnel.

All in all, we are thrilled with how she is going. She is still very much a baby (still only 15 weeks) and training is an ongoing process and we feel that the training she has done so far, plus all the socialisation she’s had out and about (from boating to school visits), has given her a solid foundation for a wonderful life as part of our family and perhaps yet as a therapy dog.

I can’t recommend puppy preschool enough!


Kindy and School Visits

Sunshine has made two visits to classes in the past ten days, first to my son’s prep class and then today to his old kindergarten. Because I can’t take photos in these locations, I’ve given you a cute pic of Flynn on his last day of kindy instead, as well as a snap from the first day they met.

Both the teachers of this classes were keen to have Sunshine along and it was a great experience for her too. She was really gentle and calm, even when she was enthusiastically ‘mobbed’ by little hands and took it all in her stride.

For us, this was a fantastic opportunity to introduce Sunshine to the plethora of sensory input classrooms have to offer, from the smell of classrooms, to the sound of bags in bag racks, the feel of many textures of floorings (wood, rubber, concrete, grass, garden, carpet), desks, chairs, school bells, play dough (which she tried to eat!), food scraps in bins, and the feeling of many hands on her all at once.

Today at kindy, she got to walk through a fairy garden boardwalk, and I took treats along to keep her focused on me while we practised ‘sit’ and ‘drop’ in a room with 20 people and lots of distractions. Fortunately, she is incredibly food-motivated so getting her attention isn’t hard.

It was a wonderful grounding for future visits and both teachers have invited us back again.