Last week it was premiere for Wilder at puppy class. We have been looking around for puppy classes since May but apparently Skellefteå (our nearest city) is a black hole when it comes to puppy classes. Finally, we found a class in Umeå, about 1.5h from home. It is fair distance to travel each week but going to class is so important for a Malamute that we think it’s worth it. The class is led by Hanna Vernerlund who runs Hanna’s Hundsupport. We have been to Hanna’s classes before and really appreciate her methods which are based on positive reinforcement and a good understanding of the behaviour of different breeds. She also has really good technical skills as a trainer, which means that we get lots of tools that we can use at home. Wilder has been to two classes so far and is really doing well on every level. He’s an outgoing and relaxed puppy who is happy to explore new environments and try new things. He is also very food oriented, which makes him easy to train and reward. Sue and Roy have done a wonderful job socializing Wilder before he travelled to Sweden and it is a real luxury to receive such a well-adjusted pup 🙂
There is quite a mix of breeds at the class; Alaskan Malamute, Schapendoes, Greyhound, Beagle, White Swiss Shepherd Dog, Coton de Tuléar, Irish Setter and a Saluki. The age range is 10 weeks to 6 months, which means that Wilder is one of the oldest (and largest) pups in the class. We actually think this is a good thing, as it gives him an opportunity to socialize with breeds that are smaller than him, and learn to play with younger pups – something which he rarely gets a chance to do at home.
To the first class we were asked to bring an interactive toy along for playtime and reward but it was a bit hard to get Wilder interested in the toy when there were so many interesting puppies to look at instead…
At this point in his development, Wilder is definitely more interested in treats than he is in toys.
At yesterday’s class we trained nose work both on the ground and on tarp. None of the pups hesitated to explore the tarp that was blowing in the wind but from experience I know that these things can change quickly if the puppy enters into a fear stage. So far we haven’t noticed Wilder going through any obvious fear stages but the second fear stage can occur quite late during adolescence (approx. 6-14 months) so it’s still possible that we will see some of that apprehensiveness later.
We also had a couple of timeout sessions during class and all the pups did much better relaxing yesterday than they did at their first class. As you can see – Wilder rested on top of my legs, that way he made sure he wouldn’t miss any activities if he happened to fall asleep.
Wilder is very friendly and gentle with the other pups – here together with a young Beagle boy.
Fredrik and Wilder said hello to Mischa, a pretty 4-month-old White Swiss Shepherd girl.
Plenty of treats are consumed at every class and since Wilder eats dog food from Orijen, we were excited to see that this brand now also offers its own range of freeze dried treats. I will write a full review about these treats when we have had the chance to try some more of the different flavours available. To yesterday’s class we brought along a bag of Orijen Brome Lake Duck Singles that are made from 100% pure boneless duck and duck liver. What I particularly like about these treats is that they are made from free-run (cage-free) duck. Since dogs are carnivores who need to eat meat it feels good knowing that the animals they are eating have at least had a good and natural life.
This is what the Orijen Treats look like. They are lightweight and very different from any other treats we have tried in terms of texture. The lovely smell makes me (almost) want to try one myself 😉
Yummy treats equal a very focused pup 😉
Wilder and our other seven Mals really love these treats and when Mischa sniffed Fredrik’s hand after class she went wild too – can I have some of that?!!
Wilder’s puppy class will be going on for another 4 weeks so I’m sure he will be learning a lot this summer and have plenty of positive experiences (which is our main reason for attending classes). To next week’s class we are instructed to bring a tracking lead – I guess that means more nose work, or maybe we’ll be working on improving our recall using a long lead?