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Diary of Marley's progress through puppy 'Good Citizen' award (hopefully)


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On Tuesday evening we enrolled into the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen puppy foundation class.  I felt the need to try and bring some order into our lives after rescue/adopting Marley as he is getting quite aggressive towards my Ute when ‘playing’  -  (much like a toddler who is overtired and will not admit it needs to go to sleep).

Bearing in mind that Marley is 13/14 weeks and weighs 11 kilos, and Lunar is 7 years old and weighs around 32 kilos, Marley is more than up to standing his ground.   Lunar really needs to stand up to him, but his patience with the pup appears boundless, and he clearly dotes on my little monster,  evidently howling in distress all the time we were at the club, and when we got back he went to the pup first, checked he was ok, then greeted me in his usual enthusiastic manner.    (I felt slighted).:(

I must admit to some trepidation at the thought of those poor puppies suddenly being confronted with my barrelling ballistic missile :Kaboomm:of a pup.  However once he got over the initial excitement of meeting new puppies continually arriving for around 20 minutes, and one unfortunate incident when I wasn’t paying close enough attention and Marley suddenly launched himself in an almighty leap – landing squarely on top of another puppy – completely flattening the poor little mite, (thankfully much to the amusement of the puppy’s owner and others who saw it) he eventually settled down enough for the class to begin.

I had arrived with his favourite treats  (dehydrated chicken breast, & lambs hearts) in the hope of bribing him into doing what I wanted, and, of course, he did not want the treats at all, - much preferring other people’s treats,  ……………. Next week I am going armed with fresh sausage!  (more meat to buy  ..................................  we are vegetarians).

Once the class started in earnest, I was relieved to notice that he wasn’t the worst behaved puppy in the class,  one of them obviously did not like other dogs being around and barked constantly for an hour!  He completed all of the tasks set for the first week, - ‘sit’,  ‘lay down’ walk without pulling on lead  (not easy as you can imagine – even if it was for only 12 feet or so), ‘come’,  and I was feeling quite chuffed with him …………………………………….and then the woman running the course said those dreaded words ……………………… “now for the recall”  ……………………..  I just laughed,  she looked over to me, looked knowingly at Marley and said  “hmmmm,  yes, well,  we’ll see,  I won’t let go of the lead”.  She also gave me some more sausage to help.

He performed like a champion!    (although I am not naive enough to think he has ‘got it’  by any means).

I will try to document each week's successes (and failures)  -  although next week I will get hubby to take him out for a walk before class I think.

One rather pleasing observation (to me) – was that he completely outshone the other puppies in the ‘cuteness’ stakes  -  its the one major thing he has going for himself.  (or does everyone think they have the cutest pup on the planet):P



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2nd Tuesday at ‘Good Citizen’ puppy training …………………………. I think Marley failed tonight overall.

I had been working hard this week on the ‘stay’ command – mainly so I could get out of my front door without fighting with him to stay indoors.  He does not yet seem to grasp the fact that sometimes I might want to go out without him.

Anyway – I had been making good progress – having twice managed to get him to sit in the hallway and ‘stay’ whilst I opened the door and managed to extricate myself from the house without either dog rushing to beat me to the great outdoors  -  so I was feeling quite pleased  (I’ve learned it’s best to set small goals).

At 6.45pm, with freshly grilled sausages in my treat bag,  I managed to get Lunar shut in the lounge and Marley in the hallway  -  both dogs were already going nuts on being separated and both were howling, whimpering and leaping about like demented whirling dervishes trying to get together again.

I managed to get Marley’s lead on and get him into the secured section in the back of the car (no easy task) – securing his lead to the seat belt  of the 7th seat (flattened) as usual, and giving him the ‘stay’ command, also as usual, so he did not get his head flattened when I closed the rear door -  all appeared to be going swimmingly all in all.

We arrived at the training centre and I think that Marley knew where we were as he got very excited  -  though  (apparently) settled down on the ‘sit and stay’ commands I give before opening the back of the car up.

Instead of sitting as he normally does whilst I opened the door and undid his restraints – as soon as the door was open he launched himself in a flying leap  -  and the restraint gave way!!!!!  I just managed to grab the trailing end of his lead as he flew through the air to freedom – legs already moving in a running motion before he hit the ground  (imagine Scooby Doo running from a ghost – it was exactly what he looked like).

It did not bode well did it.

By the time everyone had arrived and we got into ‘circle’ the lesson was half over, however Marley settled in and appeared to be behaving himself (It’s all relative isn’t it)  -  this lesson was about distractions of dogs walking past whilst you are trying to keep your pup’s attention on you.  He got a bit bored by the time he had to sit through 5 dogs walking past him before it was his turn to do the walk past the dozen or so pups, but he managed it on his second attempt and again it was our turn to just stay whilst another pup took his turn.

He suddenly started to play up, pulling against his lead and trying to get away from me, knocking a couple of smaller pups over (one poor little nervous dachshund pup seems to be a particular victim of Marley’s – always in the way). I thought he was just fed up and wanted a run around, and was about to chastise him when all of a sudden he leaped into the air and landed awkwardly, pooing himself at the same time, ……………… it was quite a loose poo and spread magnificently.

So he managed to get it over more than a square foot of hardwood polished flooring, and all over his paws and right had side of his rear leg.   It took me  about 10 minutes to clean the floor (including the marks left behind by his paws as he moved) -  and that was when the woman running the session decided to call it a day  -  leaving me with the problem of getting my stinky pup in the car, drive him home and give him his second bath of the week!

Needless to say he went to sleep (eventually) with damp fur  (hates the hairdryer) – and I went to bed with a whole bottle of wine inside me!

That is the worst that can happen, ……………………… right?  …………………….. right????????

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LOL sounds like typical husky training...

I found that stay sounds harsh to mine and I switched to wait and sit and that worked wonders for me and mine...wait they do stay the do not  LOL..

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I usually use 'stay' if I want him to sit still for a minute and not move,  and 'wait' so he waits 5 seconds or so before attacking his food.- he automatically sits before getting anything so I don't need to tell him to sit  -  its the one command he is relatively happy to 'obey' and does so without thinking about it too much.   However he is very happy to ignore his name being called to get him back inside from the back garden.   I think he prefers being outside to indoors, but for the hen's sanity I cannot leave him outside  (besides he thinks  there is always another hole that needs digging)  :P

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Week three of the training course.

Not really much to report  -  disaster wise  -  there were none!

We arrived early as usual -  I would rather park in the small car park than walk for a couple of hundred yards in the wind and rain (not due to laziness), Marley had been asleep for around 3 hours so I naturally assumed he would be charging around like a demented spinning top, but he wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought he would be.  Just before the class began I noticed the woman in charge  (dreadful woman by the way  -  good with dogs but horrendous people skills) was looking quite intently at him, watching his inter-actions with the other dogs, strange people etc, as well as my attempts to get him to sit down patiently  etc etc.

She then went over to greet a new puppy (the owner got mainly ignored as usual apart from taking the whole Course money up-front) – a 12 week old Great Dane  -  already around 4” taller than Marley.   She then started explaining what the course was about and trying to get the dog to sit and lie down (unsuccessfully)   -  she called Marley over  (not me – although I was on the other end of the lead) – and proceeded to show the owners what she meant by trying to get Marley to sit, which he did obediently, then she tried to get him to lie down  -  he would not.   I waited about 20 seconds before saying “down” in my usual command voice and he immediately laid down for me.   (I was not smug at all  - honest). :cheeky:

The class went well all evening – Marley performing like a diva on opening night  -  then came the long recall  -  over the full length of the room  (about 25-30ft) with all the other dogs and owners lined up on both sides.   It was great fun watching some of the pups going to other dogs and their treats rather than to their owners.

Now at home I cannot get Marley to come to me in the house  -  he just sits and looks at me –  ignoring me, or worse, down right defying me.  When it came to our turn I checked that the doors were locked – as this test involved taking off his lead and I didn't want to take any chances.

I got him into the sit position, told him to stay and walked self-consciously up the full length of the hall, turned and called him, the woman let go of his collar ………………………. And he ran at almost full pelt, whilst skipping happily – right up to me.   I was so proud of him.   The woman said loudly “excellent Marley – that is how it should be done”.

One of the other owners came up to me and asked how I managed to get him to come straight to me like that,    I smiled and said  “it helps if the pup is hungry when you bring him, and then let him smell a handful of sausages before you walk away”.    (I’ll not be letting the woman who runs the place know though).;)

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Week 4 of puppy training.

This week went relatively uneventfully  -  the little dachshund puppy did not come (might have told his owner he  was fed up with the bullying) but the two most rambunctious and noisy pups were  (Marley’s partners in crime  -  he is the best behaved of the three – which should give you some idea).

We were early (as usual) and I was surprised by the woman in charge actually coming over to talk to me.  She asked me if I was considering taking Marley’s training on to the next level - (Good Citizen for adult dogs), I replied that I thought it would probably be a waste of money bearing in mind the Huskies’ reputation for independent thought etc.  She acknowledged it would be very difficult and would require a lot more work than usual, but thought he would  ‘make the grade’.  She said that he appeared to be learning at a very fast rate and he obviously wanted to please me  (she should see him at home!) – then said  I had a few weeks to think about it – but she would like to see him go on.  She also mentioned she would not be running the class (a BIG bonus).  :up:

I am torn,  he obviously enjoys the classes and the interactions with the other pups – and I really enjoy them too …………………………………. however I am hampered by my partner.  He is the one who exercises the dogs, I can only walk a few hundred yards without considerable pain, or stand for around 5 minutes at a time  -  past hang-gliding accident – (I have not always been old) – but he either cannot – or just plain will not utilize the training methods Marley needs for consistency.   He is also a true old fashioned Yorkshire man …………………………….. in other words I am a woman – therefore what I have to say has no meaning or relevance and I ‘know nowt’.    You can probably understand my annoyance at this archaic attitude – bearing in mind  I am a member of MENSA.

Anyway, on to Marley’s training  -  I knew he would be faced with a new task this week  -  sitting still whilst I walked away and then sitting in a chair, waiting 20 seconds before calling him to me  -  so I came armed -  not only with sausages – but for the big tasks I brought the big guns  - Cathedral City cheese!   I left him with the woman – making sure he got a good lungful of the delicious scent of cheese before I went to my appointed position ……………. only to hear him already playing up trying to escape from her vice-like grip, jumping up, trying to bite her etc (she almost let him go).   As soon as I called him he came barrelling up jumping straight for my hand and his beloved cheese.   From an onlooker’s point of view he appears to be very biddable and obedient, however I know better  -  its not me he wants – but the food bribes!  It was only the second time he had been given cheese and I knew it was like crack cocaine to him, he would walk through fire for a bit of cheese and not even see the flames.   The end justifies the means – and he will only be given cheese once a week – when I need a perfect recall.

Hopefully next week I will have something interesting to report – it’s our last week before a two week break (I am away visiting my son and grandson in Wales) – God alone knows what state the dogs will be in when I get back, being left with the short temper of my hubby –  he would never hurt an animal (he is as daft with them as I am) however he also does not understand that you cannot treat a naughty or bored puppy like a misbehaving child.


Lots of love, cuddles, training and more cheese when I get home I think.



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  • 1 month later...

MARLEY PASSED!!!!!   ONE WEEK EARLY  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Had a really big surprise when we went last Tuesday,  at the end of the session the woman running it said that she had four puppies who had graduated and would everyone please stay for the ceremony.     I was absolutely astounded when she called Marley out to be presented with his certificate and rosette:

I just wish he would remember the training and good behaviour when he gets home  -  although Tuesdays session was obviously tough on him  -  he flaked out immediately we got home and slept all night!

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We have signed up for the adult Good Citizen award as well  -   starts in two weeks.    If nothing else it tires him out for the rest of the evening and he isn't constantly barking.  I thought Huskies were supposed to be quiet  -  pity they did not tell Marley!

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