Good morning! Sorry about posting so late last night, but check out my review on Sunwarrior protein powder if your looking for a delicious vegan (non green pea protein) protein powder option. This morning is going well, starting off with the most amazing breakfast ever. I made an egg white omelet with 1/2 cup egg whites and 2 slices of buffalo chicken, with a side of pb toast. Iced coffee, always. Exactly what I wanted, yuuummmmmmm……
As you guys know Nala recently graduated from puppy training!
I wanted to take a minute to share with you our really wonderful experience with Doggie Steps Training LLC. Our trainer Mark Siebel was really fantastic at training us to be great parents to little miss Nala to train her to be a well behaved member of Society and our household.
Nala actually had to wait a bit to start her training classes because she had some tummy troubles preventing her from clearing for the class. In hindsight I think that was a good thing because she may have been too little to really get the most out of training at 4 months old, but she was definitely ready at 5 months. Our training last 6 weeks (because one week Mark was out of town) which was perfect for us because we got to practice with Nala an extra week.
The first week we started Nala in training my mother in law was in town and it seemed that my sweet little puppy had turned into an unstoppable train wreck. She wouldn’t stop jumping, biting, and she wasn’t listening at all. The first class was a disaster, she was pulling every where and wouldn’t focus on us at all. We felt bad we couldn’t control the dog in the house or in class, we were obviously doomed doggie parents.
Mark suggested we get a gentle leader like many of the other large breed dogs had in the class. At first I was nervous, it looked like a muzzle and she’s so little I didn’t want people to think she was mean. Then I noticed that many of the large breed dogs in my neighborhood were also using gentle leaders. Using that was the total turn around point, we started to get the upper hand and Nala started to focus more on learning the commands. The first week we really focused on getting the gentle leader and having her to sit, down, up and off. By the end of that first week, and by the time my mother in law left she was like a different dog, but she still had a long way to go.
In high school I had a puppy and we used Petsmarts training, originally that’s what we signed up for but then asked for a refund and I’m so glad we did. I thought I wouldn’t like that the puppies didn’t get to run lose to play like at Petsmart but I think that overall taught her to be calm around other dogs. For the most part she waits for the okay before she meets another dog, which definitely makes our walks go much smoother when approaching other dogs of any size.
The second class we focused on gaining or winning her attention, she learned new commands like eyes (meaning look at me), heel (I used wait), leave it and we learned to prevent counter surfing by telling her to “leave it” before she jumps. Preempting the jump was probably one of the most crucial pieces we learned. We also learned etiquette about the proper way to meet other people with dogs out and about as well as at home, so that everybody is safe and comfortable. I really appreciated that.
The interesting thing about the class was that Mark has everyone, regardless of level of training, attend at the same time. So at any given time there may be a mix of class 1-5 dogs at the training class that day. At first I thought it was weird, but I ended up really liking it. You got to see how the owner handled the class 5 dog and how well it behaved, which gave me cues on what to do and hope that Nala would some day reach that level of attention and performance as well.
The third class was the most fun, we went on a long walk with the pups learning agility cues like up, over, left, right, move etc… Mark taught us how to exercise and mentally entertain the pup on the walk which is so important for Nala since she is crate trained. That was Mr. Hungry’s favorite part, he loves to run with her and have her do fun tricks. Mr. Hungry ended up taking her to her fourth class on her own since I was at work for weigh in weekend. He said it went well and to keep working and training her. The fifth class was her time to shine, to be the graduate that did all the good tricks. She totally nailed them all except down, she still needs work on that one. Mark said every time we walk by her laying down to tell her “good down” so she gets the idea. We are still working on that.
Here is the kicker, Nala used to bat up the stairs like a possessed animal looking for the cat or cat poop. Now she waits quietly by the stairs to be told she can go up, or if she does go up she actually listens when we tell her to leave the cat poop. She also comes when called from upstairs to downstairs which is a HUGE deal. I literally thought that would never happen and we own it all to Doggie Steps training.
While I shared a number of the tips we learned in class in this post, I can’t stress enough how valuable time in class was. One of the best parts of the training sessions is Mark starts the class off with a recap on how the pup is doing at home. He then tailors the session to address any current concerns. That personalization was a life saver for us, it helped us really nip problems from the gecko. If you’ve got a puppy or a dog that could listen a little better I highly recommend Doggie Steps Training. According to his website he serves California and Arizona, so definitely contact him if you are in those areas.
She’s getting bigger every day but also more well behaved every day and I feel we owe that to Mark!
Of possible interest:
What about you? Have you ever taken your dog to training? How did it go?
*Note I was not compensated for this post, the information posted in this review is my own thoughts and opinions.