Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Classes

Many pet-related services see a drop off in clients/customers during January/February.  Everyone is getting back to school and work after the holidays and they're a little more hesitant to spend money when they've just been through the holidays.  As it starts getting warmer in March, services often pick up (boarding kennels with spring break travels, groomers with "spring haircuts").

Interestingly....we've seen an increase in class sign-ups in the last week.   Most of the classes I teach are on-going enrollment, meaning that students can start that week.   We had two "fixed start date" classes start last night, a class for shy dogs and a class focusing on walking and settling with distractions.

This time around, the dogs in ShyDog class are more outgoing than the first group.  We have one dog repeating the class and three new dogs.   I've already adapted the class quite a bit from the first time we offered it last fall.  We're focusing more on handler skills than dog skills now, and hopefully this leads to better application at home and then more improvement.  We're still keeping a lot of the same activities, but we're adding in more intermediate steps, specific homework, and group participation.
Luna looking like a shy dog in 2008  We were at a state park in... PA?
The trails were very rocky and steep. I was scared of the slippery steep path....
she was worried about the people we passed.

Luna and I get to be in the Focus/Distraction class, she was incredibly happy and loved the young border collie were paired with.  Sometimes I feel like she's ready to go back to agility class. And at other times, it seems like I just barely have control.   She was getting tired so I switched out partway through.  I intended to let Blaze have a turn but he's not feeling good after crashing into walls during a fetch game on Tuesday....     Griffin got to work and I'm always surprised at how well he does in a group environment for the -very- small amount of group class time he has worked.   The other dogs and people weren't a challenge at all and he's really quite reliable in a class setting.  It's almost like the presence of the other dogs and people are a cue for him to have more self control and to be working harder with me.
In other news.... early last year I was really excited about the great seminars for the year.  Somehow, this year is even better!  Everything seems really far away, but in reality it's going to go by incredibly fast.  I can't wait until there are details to share!

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