A Good Canine Citizen

Hoku took his Canine Good Citizen test today and passed with flying colors! (Cue the Rocky theme song!) We weren’t allowed to give him any treats during the testing, but he got plenty of his favorite cheddar cubes afterwards as a super reward for bringing his A-game. When we adopted him a year ago, he didn’t know any basic obedience commands and couldn’t even walk around the block without pulling and reacting to every little thing. We’re so proud of how far he’s come and today was just the icing on the cake! Hurray!

The CGC test consists of the following ten items:

1. Accepting a friendly stranger

2. Sitting politely for petting

3. Appearance and grooming

4. Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

5. Walking through a crowd

6. Sit and down on command and Staying in place

7. Coming when called

8. Reaction to another dog

9. Reaction to distraction

10. Supervised separation

Rattlesnake Aversion Training

The weekend right before we went to San Francisco, Hoku attended a rattlesnake aversion class up in Ramona. We had signed him up right after we saw a rattlesnake on the Los Penasquitos hike, which still gives me goosebumps to this day just thinking about it. And since we love hiking with him, we figured it would give us more peace of mind if Hoku learned to use his sharp doggy senses to avoid them too. 

First, an e-collar was put on Hoku, which made him look pretty funny because of all his neck fuzz. The trainer told us that it was on a low vibration setting and would be adjusted according to how Hoku responded to it. He was then put on a long leash and led onto the grounds where the muzzled rattlesnakes were. The training had three parts, each focused on teaching the pups to recognize snakes by sight, smell, and sound. If he got too close to a snake, the e-collar would buzz to simulate a snake bite. The first buzz caught Hoku off-guard and he let out a loud yelp and leapt away from the snake about 3 feet. Thankfully he was a fast learner and that was all he really needed, because he stayed as far away from the snakes as the leash possibly allowed after that. 

In the final test, a rattlesnake was placed between us and Hoku to see how he would return to us with a snake in the way. He avoided the snake but also froze in place and refused to budge, even as we called him to us. The trainer told us that in this case, we shouldn’t keep calling him, but rather find a safe way to get to him instead. 

Overall, the training took only about 10 minutes. We’ll still be sure to be on alert on hikes, but we can breathe a little easier now that Hoku has some rattlesnake awareness himself. 

Proud Graduate of Obedience 1

Hoku graduated from Obedience 1 class yesterday! Here’s another cute pic from the Happy Dog Happy Owner Facebook page. Every dog had to perform the basics: sit, down, stand, stay/wait, and come. Hoku had been practicing a verbal-only “down” command without hand signaling for the past two weeks and was finally able to do it in front of the entire class for his “final exam” thanks to Lara’s help. Knox, Isis and Hoku passed with flying colors and took graduation pics with a little doggy cap and bandana. (Hoku’s cap kept sliding off his head.) Looking forward to Obedience 2!