When Kip was 4 months old, there were a few reasons I ended up not taking him to a puppy training class.
1. The Expense It was a bit pricey and I had already just dished out a big sum to the breeder, vet, and pet store.
2. Questionable Effectiveness Nobody around me had seen any benefit or improvement from taking their dogs to a puppy class.
At home with quite a bit of difficulty, I managed to teach Kip to sit. I thought every dog knew how to sit. I was oh so wrong! For whatever reason, Kip refused to put his little bottom down on the floor. After many times of pushing him down into a sitting position, and treating him when he sat his bottom down so he could scratch himself (which was the only time he voluntarily sat) a miracle happened and he caught on to what we wanted.
The second thing I taught Kip was to give me his paw. It was easier to teach than the sit, because I could just hold his paw while feeding him a treat. It wasn’t long before he would sit and wave his paw in the air whenever I had a toy in my hand.
This was pretty much where Kip’s training stopped for the longest time. The biggest change was when I found books like Pat Miller’s “The Power of Positive Training” and Patricia McConnell’s “The Other End of the Leash.”
Reading Pat Miller’s “The Power of Positive Training” made me certain that I wanted to raise Kip with positive training and not the traditional method of training or the media promoted Ceasar Millan’s method of dominance and “corrections.” At a small local pet store I picked up the StarMark clicker. This clicker came with beginner’s instructions that helped me get started and understand how exactly the clicker system works. With the clicker and Pat Miller’s book I was able to teach three new tricks to Kip with ease.
I thought it was unimaginable to train Kip to lay down, but the clicker made it incredibly easy.
High five is a fun trick and was easy to teach since he already knew how to give me his paw.
Now I have enrolled him in a class called “Dog Manners” by the Seattle Humane Society. The class starts in the middle of February and I found that the trainer supports positive training and has recommends the books by Pat Miller and Patricia McConnell. I can get Kip to sit and such indoors, but he becomes overly excited when he sees other people or dogs. So I think it would do him good to get trained with other dogs and people around him. The biggest goal is to train Kip to come when called reliably!