I thought it would be fun to invite my puppy buyers to be guest bloggers on my blog, so when I found out the Diamond (Jeremiah from Sammie’s litter in 2014) has earned his Rally Novice A title, I had to invite his owner, Irene L. Cook to tell us a bit about her experiences. So, without further ado, here it is!
Travels and Growth with a Rat Terrier
By Irene L. Cook
Tammy Hayes of Rat Race Rat Terriers stepped into my life before the birth our rat terrier, Diamond. Diamond entered my life first in pictures and stories, then phone calls, and finally in a drive from Montana to Colorado where we received our new family member.
Tammy takes the time to know her puppies. She plans, watches, handles, and socializes each one to the best of her abilities. Needless to say, the puppies Tammy raises go to new homes ready to bloom and mature.
Because he got a good start, Diamond thrives on learning new things. He possesses a busy and active mind. We decided to continue what Tammy began. We enrolled in puppy socialization classes with a good instructor who stresses positive reinforcement. This makes training a happy event for person and dog.
The first six-week class contained a wonderful mix of new puppies which were handled by trainers at all levels. Most of us shared a goal of enjoying our new puppies and obtaining a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate. Our instructor, Joni Muir of Hot Cha Kennels, told us we should all be able to achieve this goal but not until our dogs were one year old as required by the AKC. We earned Star Puppy Awards in the mean time.
We focused on bringing new, positive experiences to our charges. Owners played the name game with their dogs to ensure each pup knew his/her name. Puppies began by wearing collars and walking nicely on their leashes. Puppies came when their names were called. Then they learned to sit on command. Puppies investigated safe surroundings and learned about other dogs. We practiced being approached by someone with a dog. Our dogs developed confidence within themselves.
Our group voted to keep going after completing our first class. Advanced puppy socialization began. We encouraged exploration by going through tunnels. Puppies stepped through hoops on the floor and walked on new textures. We continued working on sits and downs. Everything was done as a fun activity and kept the minds of all participants actively involved. We voted to keep going again.
Four puppies remained too young for the CGC. We kept training to bring in more abilities and skills. Our instructor introduced us to rally. Fun! Rally takes all the obedience class basics and puts them in various combinations and different orders. You walk the course with your dog while you follow signs for the directions of the activities. We learned new things in addition to a great way to continue practicing the basics and reinforcing good behavior. Puppies practiced indoors and outdoors. Walking on grass and doing commands required concentrated effort the first time. After that, it was all fun. Diamond shines on speed rounds, probably because time stops me from over-thinking.
We all got our CGCs. Yippee!
Our instructor encouraged all of us to continue. Over the spring and summer we worked on Rally and Obedience. Diamond completed his Rally Novice A title. He now has 2 out of 3 legs for his first obedience title. When spring comes, Diamond will complete his obedience title.
In the mean time, we enrolled in hobby tracking class. This is different than the search and rescue tracking. More fun. Diamond tracked an elk first – no not deer, cats, rabbits, or the meat and cheese laid out for the track, but an elk. Later he decided that tracking meant self-feeding. Much better. Here we go. We learned corners and straight runs. Distance and time increase as everyone learns the tricks. This is another area in which you must keep actions positive and fun. Dogs like to learn, and tracking is a pretty normal behavior for them. We learn as we go, and Diamond likes the going and sniffing with rewards at the end
I intended to take a couple of puppy classes when this all started. Diamond and I travel a road of fun and companionship that wanders through some interesting times. I wonder where we will end the process.
Best wishes to Irene and Diamond as they enjoy and learn new sports and travel down exciting roads! And thank you so much for accepting the challenge to write a guest blog Irene! Belly rubs and kisses to Diamond…