Pongo started his new class today: Street Smarts. It’s a 4 week class that meets in different locations around town each time. I am super excited about this class because it takes Pongo out of his comfort zone of the training facility at Alaska Dog Sports. While the guise of this class is to give Pongo more practice out in the real world, it really is for me. I am the one who needs the practice of managing Pongo’s leash reactivity out in the real world.
For our first class, we met at Delaney Park Strip. Most of the 6 dog class was already there when we arrived, so I was expecting some reaction from Pongo as we unloaded from the car and approached the group. He was pretty hyped up and barked a couple of times but he was able to calm down quickly and get focused. I think once he realized that we were there to work, there was no need for being obnoxious on leash.
We practiced meet and greets with other dogs and their handlers, sit-stays, down-stays, recalls on long lines, and walking up and down the sidewalks around Delaney Park Strip. At one point, Liz our instructor had us pull off the sidewalk and put our dogs in a down-stay while a group of 3 unknown dogs walked by. I was so proud of Pongo who was alert to the strange dogs but gave absolutely no reaction–not a single bark! He did have a hard time staying in his down-stay but I’ll take that over the barking, lunging fiend we sometimes get.
Besides eating copious amounts of goose poop which was the biggest distraction for Pongo today, he rocked his first Street Smarts class. Next week, we venture to Petco and shopping carts at Michael’s.