Well, Monte's diet is working. If you recall we have been giving him an extra piece of raw/frozen chicken every day. He has outgrown his collar and we had to search around for one that fit. The only one we could find was one inch wide, so we need to make a trip to the pet store to find a 1/2 or 3/4 inch wide collar that is twenty-four inches long. And Cooper continues to get bigger everyday; Monte's pronged collar almost fits him. He has only been getting chicken once a week, when he doesn't have any outings planned.
The Custom Canines training class was held at the mall this evening. Again we were a bit apprehensive because Cooper had never been to the mall before. My fears were unwarranted because he was stellar (after the initial canine greetings).
His first task was to work with a future client, April, who has cerebral palsy. She grabbed Cooper's leash and took off through the mall as I tried to stay close, just in case. Periodically, they stopped and SIT/DOWNs were requested. This will be her second dog and her experience showed. She had a pocket full of treats and knew when and how to use them. After the test drive, she liked how Cooper walked at her pace, but she commented that he needed work on DOWN.
Crystal then assigned Cooper and I to work on SIT, DOWN, STAY, HEEL, COME as we walked the mall. And take full advantage of the mall patrons to practice greeting people calmly. It is difficult to express how well Cooper did. He stayed by my side, so Crystal asked me to drop the leash to see how he would do. Even with all the distraction, only a minimal amount of prompting was required to keep him close. He tended to lag behind, but was easily encouraged to pick up the pace and ignore distractions.
His SITs and DOWNs were crisp and clean. He needs some work on his placement, remaining square, but we just started to add a FINISH/HEEL to our recalls. His STAYs were 95%; he had trouble when I hid behind a pillar or moved around a corner, out of sight. Recalls were solid. The only issue is that he is in no hurry to COME;he will slowly prance to meet me. This is in stark contrast to Monte who does everything fast and jumps into HEEL position.
Apparently, we have not turned Cooper into a frenzied ball of energy even though we haven't changed our training style. After six months, we have survived the Terrible Fives and he is becoming more consistent and is fully capable to pass the CGC test on any day. It took Monte fifteen months and that was just a good day. Apparently nature is stronger than nurture.
Cooper is ready for the Canine Good Citizen test.