(Or at least I'll have some kind of control over how he behaves in public. I hope.)
In any case, in order to prepare him for class, I needed to pull together some supplies. Here's what I need.
1. Vaccination records.Since Liam is going into an environment with many other dogs, he needs proof of protection. I just need to collect his basic health records, to prove that I'm following the advice of a veterinarian in order to keep him safe (and safe for others).
2. Blanket or mat to lie on.We're planning to participate in a focused class in which Liam will learn to pay attention to me, not to the things around him. The mat helps, as it gives him a spot to lie on, so he won't feel free to bounce around the room to see everyone.
3. Collar and leash.When I take Liam on walks, I use a harness. But in class, he'll need keep his leash clipped to his collar. While a harness protects his throat in case of pulling, it can actually encourage that same pulling behavior. A collar works a little better at keeping pullers under control, so that's the method we're using.
4. Treat pouch and treats.I've gone to classes with a baggie of treats before, and let me tell you, it doesn't work all that well. Dogs need almost instant reinforcement for the things they do right, and that means you've got to provide the treats FAST. By keeping them in a pouch, right by my hands, I can deliver the goods with speed.
And typically, those treats need to be epic good. Thankfully, Liam will work his little tush off for even kibble, so I don't have to spend up on cheese and lunchmeat. A few bits of kibble and a few nibbles of Salmon Paws treats (see my review of those here) will do him fine.
5. Puppy pacifier.That's the Kong, and before we head to class, I'm planning to fill it with peanut butter. Apparently, some parts of the class are devoted to talking, and the dogs can get to barking when all of that is going on. The food puzzle should keep him occupied while we talk.
Watch for updates on the coursework and Liam's progress. I'll be blogging about this class all month. Wish us luck!