Monday, August 27, 2012

Back-to-School Shopping

The school year has officially started for us! No, I'm not talking about grad school (sorry, Mom) - I'm talking about training classes for Mushroom. My friend talked us into signing up for a reactive dog class with her and her dog Lilee.

Lilee: So cute she looks fake

The first class was yesterday, humans only. We listened to the merits of positive dog training. (An excellent write-up of which can be found on Love & a Six-Foot Leash.) We went around the room and shared about the problems we were currently having. Then, we practiced our first homework assignments with the trainer's dog Lizzie and a course assistant's dog Strider. We were also given a list of what to bring to next week's class, the first class that dogs will attend.

To be fair, we do already have some all of the things we need to bring to class:
  • An extremely high-value treat that Mushroom never gets at other times. As luck would have it, we ordered a bag of lamb lung treats from DoggyLoot last week.
  • A treat bag. We have one, but we rarely use it, since we tend to put treats in our pockets. The trainer doesn't want us fumbling for treats, though, so we'll be bringing the treat bag.
  • Clickers. We were given one in class yesterday, and we already have two at home.
  • Two leashes. One of the requirements for class is that dogs be double-leashed at all times in case of equipment failure. Since Badger will be staying at home, we can borrow his leash.
  • Two collars or harnesses, one for each of the leashes to attach to. We currently walk Mushroom using a Gentle Leader head collar, but she is always wearing her flat buckle collar, so we can attach the other leash to that.

Mushroom models her current equipment

So we're all set, right? Weeeeellllll.... Lizzie was wearing a pink martingale collar attached to a four-foot leash. This got me thinking - should we do some back-to-school shopping for Mushroom? (Eg. I'm always tempted to buy more "dog things", and maybe I finally have an excuse!)

The two things I'm eyeing are:
This cow print martingale collar from Pixie Girl Treats.
A shorter leash with an additional traffic handle, like this Kong traffic leash.

What equipment has been helpful for you and your dog during training classes?


  1. That's funny that they want you to bring a bait bag our instructor never said to do that but I bought one anyway. I used to use it in class but now our instructor says not to use it. We're in competition obediance classes & it causes issues with the dog. Basically that they will only work when u have it. I now put all my ewwy gooy treats in my pocket. I smell like chicken by the end of the class & I look like I'm storing food for the winter, lol. Good luck with class im sure mushroom will excell. I do think you should by another collar for her & that ones adorable. My girls have new ones in the mail.

    1. I think the goals of the two classes may be different. Most people in the reactive dog class are just looking for a way to stop their dog growling and lunging at dogs/people/things while out on a walk. I'm not sure if we will be weaned off the treats eventually.