For eight grueling weeks we braved  highway 84, survived one potty training accident, spent a fortune every time we stepped foot into PetsMart, and finished the course with a diploma and a picture (of sorts) and a happy little puppy who now knows how to sit, lie down, watch me, roll over, and stay. She also knows to leave it, take it, and has a new appreciated for doggy treats and rawhide strips. The chewing thing has gotten better but hasn’t gone away. Her squeaky balls don’t squeak but a short time before the squeaker is demolished, and the rawhide strips last about a day. But the really important thing she learned is what “go pee pee” means.

The trainer had a little puppy-sized mortar board for all the dogs to wear for their commencement picture. amd I had visions of this cute and sweet little picture of Mari wearing this cap. Hah. You’ll notice that wearing a hat and posing for a picture are not in that list of skills she learned. We tried with only limited success to take an award-winning graduation picture, but to no avail, as you can see here. She behaved just the way some high school graduates have been known to-more or less out of control.

But, really, the classes did do Mari a world of good, and we learned how to better handle her. So I would recommend positive reinforcement training for your dog. It just so happened that I caught a horse training program on PBS last weekend and watched a trainer use a handful of oats to train a horse past his bad hoof trimming behavior. I have a good idea that positive reinforcement would work on just about any animal; cats, kids…husbands.