I have to admit, in the beginning I was hopeful yet a tiny bit skeptical. Argos is a very well-behaved gentleman, but he is stubborn and a bit set in his ways. I knew that he would be resistant, at least in the beginning, to learning new things. And Maera, while very anxious to please us, is still so very excitable that sometimes she forgets how to listen, and in the process forgets her manners and does things like jumping up on us, nipping (though gently) at our hands, etc. etc.
But it is working very well. Maera is still excitable, though we are slowly starting to get through to her, and she's starting to look to us for cues. If I get a milk bone out of the "treat closet" for her, her butt instantly hits the floor into a "sit" as she anxiously awaits her treat. This is a vast improvement over launching herself airborne, sometimes at my head-height, to get the treat ASAP. And Argos is still stubborn. He still doesn't really WANT to learn to do all of these things, but he's doing them. And in class, he just lights up and enjoys showing off when he has either me or Jeff all to himself (the other has Maera and is all the way across the room, with several dogs in between.)
I think what I like about the rewards-based, clicker training, is that the dogs really ENJOY learning. They love class, because they get gobs of treats. And it's really helping Maera get over her fear... the first couple of classes were spent with her tail between her legs and not letting anyone besides me or Jeff approach her but slowly, very slowly, she is starting to wag her tail at the other dogs, and sometimes she even lets other people approach her without shying away.
I've read some additional manuals, guides, whatevers, to training, and am just impressed by the amount of knowledge that is out there about training the dogs. But I am also starting to see that there are some differences in opinion on how to train dogs... many differences in opinion and approach. I won't go into very many of the particulars, because I don't want to make it sound like I'm condemning anyone for choosing different training methods than we're using. All dogs are different, so different approaches are no doubt warranted. My opinion is that if the dogs are learning, and they are happy, then the approach isn't important.
But there are certain things that I've chosen to reject in THIS HOUSE. I can certainly respect that other people have chosen differently, and can see valid reasoning behind it, though. One light-hearted example: many of the training guides (not in our Saturday training sessions) say to keep the dogs off of human beds and human furniture at all times. That to allow them to be so elevated gives them ideas that they are higher in the pecking order than they are.
I believe that there is nothing in this world that he is so attached to more than the couch. (Jeff and I being the happy exceptions to this rule, I think.)
Though Bit is equally attached to her "crow's nest" at the top of the kitty tower.
But anyway. Here is to happy dogs (and cats.) May we always be able to balance our training with fun for them.