Monday night was our fourth obedience class with Alven and Dottie. They are doing really great and are fan favorites (but of course). If you ever meet Alven you immediately realize that this wee pup has a big presence. He made himself known the first night by freaking out when we were introduced to the instructor's assistants, two of which are men (Alven has men issues). He barked and barked whenever they tried to come near his space, or walked by, or talked, or breathed, or existed. One of the main reasons we wanted to take the class was to get Alven out there meeting more men and feeling more confident around strangers. It's hard to get men to just stand around quietly for a while so Alven can feel comfortable and realize they are not evil monsters. These classes are a great way to get him socialized in a none threatening way. Well after the first day no one knew everyone's name, but they for sure knew Alven. The teacher gave us some great tips, and the men didn't take it personal and ignored Alven giving him space to meet them at his own time.
Fast forward to the fourth class and Alven doesn't bark at any of the men anymore. He actually doesn't even make a peep the whole time, even when the other dogs start a barking concert. Everyone in the class has noticed his improvement and always have encouraging words for him. This week was also our first class contest. It was a three part contest to see who could sit the fastest, lay down the fastest and stay the longest. We trained hard all week and showed up to class looking to take home the gold. Alven did the family proud coming in second in the sitting contest (though it was a very close call), he came in first in the down contest, and in the longest stay contest it was a fight to the finish between Dottie and Alven. The instructor, Kathy, actually had to come over and try and distract them to see who would break the stay first. Neither one fell for such sneaky maneuvers, though when Kathy came near Dottie her tail was wagging a mile a minute, but she kept that rump glued to the spot. Finally, it was Dottie who moved first when Kathy asked Joe and I to move towards the door to see who would keep the position. Alven was just glowing with pride and graciously accepted his prize, which was a free wine tasting for two at a local vineyard that is also dog friendly. Alven is still considering his options before he selects a lucky lady to take along.
We finished the class with some exercises outside under the supervision of one of the male assistants (Alven's nemesis during the first class). When it was Joe and Alven's turn he called them up by saying, "And now, The Master!" Well, Alven marched up to take his turn with a very definite swish of the tail, nailed the automatic sit in front of the store, gave the young man a regal glance and marched back to his spot cool as a cucumber. Everyone laughed, but I knew this was going to go straight to his already abnormally large head.