The Well-Trained One
Puppies are hard. They're so cute and loving and beautiful and I love them so much it hurts every day. But they're still hard work.
We were determined, and I mean determined, to train Finn ourselves. My brother suggested puppy classes. My in-laws said their best behaved dog took classes. My vet said Finn's smart but that puppy classes would help him channel his energy. And yet despite it all we told ourselves, "We can do this. We don't need puppy classes."
Then we had a friend over who doesn't like dogs and it was as if Finn knew — he refused to leave her alone. He jumped on her whenever she entered the room. He jumped when she just... stood there. He jumped into her lap with a running start while she watched tv. He humped her. He nibbled her hands. And he spilled her beer — twice.
So then we thought, "Okay, we need help."
A co-worker mentioned Kenl Inn's classes so we immediately signed Finn up to start the following Monday. And I can't say enough good things about it. We've only had three basic obedience sessions so far (and one we had to skip because Finn was just neutered) but the two we attended have been a salvation to his behavior. He doesn't try to sneak out the door as soon as it's open. He waits when we tell him to wait. He knows his place is his bed and he stays there until we say it's okay to do otherwise. He hasn't jumped on the furniture in two weeks (except our bed, he's allowed there). He walks right next to us on a leash. And he doesn't bark out the window nearly as much.
We're still working on the "not jumping on humans" thing and we're really working on his whole "I have my own mind and don't need to come when you call me" thing. And I'm not going to lie – his first class felt like a bust because he was so distracted by other dogs and the rubber floor. Don't ask. But by the second class he was like a whole new dog! And our trainer, Shannon, said that's common because he's comfortable and familiar with his surroundings. Woohoo!
If you want to train on your own I highly recommend designating one hour each week to focused training work. He's mentally exhausted by the end of it and we're more confident in our ability to stick to our guns – though if you ask me, puppy training is really owner training. We learned how to be consistent in our commands and Finn acts accordingly because of that.
I thought I couldn't love Finny more, but man-o-man training has challenged that. My heart burst every time he lays at my feet. He's a good boy.