Okay, so I'm not Actually driving anywhere, but whatever ;-)
Yesterday was Charlie's first obedience class and while the instructor says some things that I don't agree with being behaviour that I would want my dogs doing, I think it will be a good experience. Even though there's only Charlie between us at this point Coreena and I both attend the obedience classes, I'm officially the tag along, but yesterday I handled the boy *wink*. There are only two other dogs in class, a four-month-old Shi-tzu/Maltese named Buddy and a 2.5-year-old Pomeranian with confidence issues named Sarra. We were hoping for some larger dogs, but it'll work out and there will be bigger dogs in the CGC class he'll be in next.
While the class is, of course, helping Charlie, it's also helping Coreena and I. I can already see this class will be great for helping me truly understand "shaping" which is something I've struggled with. I've always had a hard time thinking of the behaviour I eventually want and figuring out how to get it there. It will also greatly help me learn that tossing a treat for Charlie is OK and not going to ruin him. Plus, it gives me a headstart for when my puppy gets here (which I keep thinking of as being a Male Black Lab, btw).
Something else very helpful is that the trainer sees that we're dog people and asks us for our input on the self-train "service dog" candidates that she's working with. She knows we've had 7 pups between us (which isn't all that many, other than to someone that doesn't know the local guide dog raisers) and worked with many more and have a better basis than she does. In turn she helped us see that Charlie's issues that we can see keeping him from graduating are all almost exclusively due to immaturity. It's hard to remember he's only 10 months old! Teaching him through the course of this obedience class will give us more tools to deal with his issues and will hopefully help him grow into a mature, well-rounded dog that will then be able to make the decision on what he would like to do, with us knowing we did our best with him.
Don't forget! Today is Internation Wear Your Puppy Raising Shirt Day! Everyone join in! Although, my shirt is set to have a boring day, we'll still share our adventures tomorrow!