Ragnar seems to have settled into his class comfortably at this point and is noticeably better at staying focused and avoiding distractions from the dogs and humans around him. In class this week, the students practiced walking through a crowd of people. The dogs had to continue walking obediently — not straying from the course, jumping or doing anything else that dogs often do when walking through a crowd. Ragnar is well accustomed to crowded areas in his line of work as a Grief Therapy Dog, so this was nothing out of the ordinary for him. He and his classmates also practiced walking with their humans around an obstacle course, where they did figure eights, sits and sharp turns at certain points. Rags was on his best behavior here too, and managed to resist detouring over to play with his classmates as he passed by them! Ragsy is such a mellow guy that if a trainer was to find fault with him, it would probably be that he is a little slothful. One of the exercises we work on each week is greeting a friendly stranger who approaches and wishes to pet the dog. The tendencies many young dogs have, that require correcting, is jumping on the person or getting excited in some way. Ragnar, on the other hand, will often be laying down and hardly react at all if someone approaches. We’ve always joked about him being an old soul, but it really is true. He would make a great beach bum!
March 7. Ragnar had a productive second Canine Good Citizen class and did a great job with the new lessons introduced by Hope and her assistant, Candice.
The first scenario Ragnar and his classmates were tested with was approaching and greeting a friendly stranger. This, of course, is nothing new to Ragnar, since he interacts with dozens of strangers every day at work! Slightly more difficult for Rags was his next classroom objective…being left to wait with another person holding his leash as me and my Mom, Mitzi leaves the room. He definitely likes to be with his family, so this one was clearly not his favorite. He stayed patiently with Candice though, and let her walk him around the room while Mom and I were in the hallway, out of sight. The last exercise of the night was one in which we approach each other from opposite directions with our dogs walking alongside us. As each person and their dog reached each other, we stopped and shook hands. Before exchanging greetings, we instructed the dogs to stop and sit. Despite Ragnar’s natural inclination to happily greet every passing dog, he did a commendable job during this as he resisted his instincts and waited patiently for the humans to greet each other. All in all, it was a good class for Rags! Before class, he had worked a visitation at the funeral home for two hours and came straight to class, so he was a little tired. During some of the exercises, Ragnar took the liberty of laying down and resting his eyes until it was his turn to perform. “A well-rested therapy dog is a happy and helpful therapy dog!” said Ragnar.
February 28: Along with his human, Sam Oakey, IV and Sam’s Mom, Mitzi, Ragnar attended his first Canine Good Citizen class. Hope from High Hopes Dog Training teaches this class at Green Ridge Recreation Center.
Ragnar’s first class went great! There are eight dogs in the class and Rags is definitely one of the best behaved. Six of the dogs are related (mother and five children) and then there’s a German Shepherd separate from them. Raggy, the shepherd, and the mother dog of the kids are all trained pretty well, but the five brothers and sisters were younger and definitely have a lot of practicing to do in the next six weeks. Hope, the trainer, met Ragnar the week before at my parents’ house for a private lesson so she used him to demonstrate several of the commands we worked on last week (sit, lay down, stay, and “break/release”) and he performed perfectly. My mom and I were even impressed, since this was in a room with seven other dogs and some of them were whining, moving around, wanting to play, etc. Ragnar made friends with Corinne, one of the girl dogs from the big family. After class, one of Corinne’s brothers attacked Ragnar twice in a row when his owner brought him over to meet Rags. Rags did great though. He didn’t fight back or really even react at all other than moving away from the dog. The funniest thing that happened was when Hope was going through the commands with another dog, about 10 feet away, Ragnar was following along from where we were sitting (probably hoping for a treat!) He’d sit, lay, etc. when she instructed the other dog to do so. He was definitely getting into it and I think he enjoys the mental stimulation of learning. The picture of Ragnar by himself is in the lobby of Green Ridge before class. The collage photo is his class composite!