Sheryl's Alaskan Malamutes - Cinnabar - Basic Obedience
Alaskan Malamute Lovefest
Cinnabar - Basic Obedience

Cinnabar Sit/Stay
Books helpful to me

Below are my "Puppy-Logues" from Basic Obedience Class

First Day at Basic Obedience - October 13, 2005
We started off with working on the 'watch me' command, by holding a treat near our chin and when they make eye contact, treating them.

Then we let them meander a bit around us (on leash), called their name in happy voice and when we got eye contact treated them.

Cinnabar is good at both of these because we've been working on sit/stays already. But what I learned in doing these is this: The second their eyes flicker to yours, treat them fast. Getting their attention is the most important building block for obedience.

Then we started in groups of 3 to walk (rain again last night so we were inside) around the room, with the dog to our left. Cinnabar is horrible at this and our main reason for being there. It's not his fault, but mine as I "don't do humid" for walking and the last 3 months have been humid. Interesting in how just a year I'd forgotten that Sebastian was initially the same way on leash. Hold leash in right hand, with grip around thumb, hold left hand on leash, leave it loose so that a 'J' forms between your left hand and their gentle leader. Have treat in left hand and constantly say "right here" when they get ahead, behind or whereever. We saw some progress, just have to work on keeping my fingers :) Cinnabar is very food motivated and was very focused on the treat, snatching at it.

After that we worked on a sit and brief stay, breaking the command with 'ok' or 'free dog'. We do the 'ok' to break the command. Since he's been doing that for me for a while, I worked on being able to take a few steps back from him and keep him in a stay. No threat of his treat being taken by Sebastian, so he did well with that for me. No butt scooting toward me. Just eyes on the treat, taking it on 'ok'.

Our homework is to work with getting their attention. Treat in left hand and call their name (having another treat behind our back) and when they make eye contact, treating them with the back treat.

Six dogs total in class: English Sheepdog, doberman, Cole (black lab-mix was in our puppy kindergarten class), collie mix, white poodle like dog named Nutmeg. All the dogs except the collie mix have been worked with by their owners. The 9 month old collie mix is a handful, and her owners at this point are clueless, letting her wander into other dogs to touch noses, when we're there to work and not play. After being in agility classes, I'd forgotten how much humans learn in these basic obedience classes, too :) Cole and Cinnabar are the youngest at 7 months old. The other 3 are in the 1 year range.

Think I've finally got this gentle leader (got the XLarge for him a couple weeks ago - the large wasn't fitting around his neck) adjusted correctly, as Houdini didn't get it off the entire evening, when it's been a 2 second thing for him in the past.

Cinnabar Pretty Boy

2nd Basic Obedience Class - October 20, 2005
Went inside the office to find out if we were going to be inside or outside last night, as it looked like rain. Ran into Ruger's mom, who couldn't get over Cinnabar's growth (she's probably not seen him in a month). He tried rubbing his face on her leg but she told him the gentle leader was on to stay and gave him some lovin'. We were outside last night, cool, but very nice.

Cinnabar and Cole were the first to show up and had a blast off leash. First time I've seen him play with dogs other than Sebastian since Puppy Kindergarten. Both dogs were sweet and gentle and still 'all boy' in their playing. Interesting for me to observe his behavior in a non-subordinate role.

In addition to the dogs from last week we had an English Setter mix, Indy, join us. He's about a year old and was just adopted. He seems like a sweet dog with a mom who's going to work with him.

Our first task was walking around the yard. Challenging for us, with Cinnabar all over the place - way out, way in, banging into me, pulling ahead or sniffing. Using the liver treats settles him a bit and the more we did the better he got. When he got 'in my space' I used my knee to move him out. When he got unfocused I put him in a sit and then started again.

Our next exercise was to all line up spaced apart, with one dog weaving in and out between us. The dog walking around the others had to concentrate on walking and learning to leave the distractions alone. Those in line had to keep their focus on their owners and learn to ignore the distraction of the weaving dog. Cinnabar was first up to weave and did fairly well, listening to "eh, eh" and "leave it" for corrections. He was very good at focusing on me and the liver treat in my hand while others had their turn.

Then, in place we did some sit/stays. They've slowed the class down since Sebastian took it last year and the exercise was to get them to either lengthen the time to dog stays OR your distance from the dog, but not both together. Since we've been working on this for months and we were at the end and wouldn't interfere with what others were doing, I put him in a sit/stay and backed 5 feet away from him and had him sit/stay for 30 seconds.

Next, we each had a turn in the spotlight putting the dogs in a sit/stay for 10 seconds. Cinnabar did well at this, obviously, as he's able to do more than a minute at home.

Cinnabar is very much a gentleman on the sidelines, when others have their turn, either sitting or laying down and watching the others - responding well to "eh eh" when popping up or getting into others' space on rare occasions.

Then we learned the sit/wait - which is a short sit/stay - for use in front of doors so the dog doesn't burst through doors pulling the owner through. Sit/wait, owner through the door first then dog. We use our hand in front of the dog's face as with the sit/stay, but more in a sweeping motion. Actually, whatever hand signal works is what you go with. Jennifer had a bar from the hurdle jump on the ground which we each had to approach, put the dog in the sit/wait, walk over the bar and then release on 'ok'. This simulated the value of the command when encountering a door.

Jennifer spoke about hand signals and that some dogs do better with hand signals than voice, or a combination of the two. Learn the dog and go with what works. She also spoke about not getting slack in praising them for listening - dogs love praise. She also emphasized "let's go" when you're ready to walk with them, not just pulling them on the leash. Don't surprise them, indicate what you want from them.

Then more walking with the random sit/stay or sit/wait thrown in. Cinnabar is much improved, but my fingers are in jeopardy with him. At home when he sits for something I offer it in my open hand. He gets it only if he reaches for it gently, otherwise, I close my hand and raise it out of his range. He's a snatcher and we've been working on getting him to take things nicely. Some progress at home on this. However, I can't use an open hand when walking as that hand is on the leash with a treat dangled in it and he's gentle only 50% of the time. I don't want to lose the skin on my fingers, of course. Talked to Jen about it and her advice was no treats on walks for him, just voice - happy voice to get his attention and for praise (and lavish the praise), sharp voice for corrections. So, we went with that and went around the yard about 10 times using the voice only, with good results. This was excellent advice from her, as Cinnabar responds very well to having all my attention and praise (no contention for my attention from Sebastian).

To wrap up, Jen said our homework is to work on the sit/wait and walking. Then she emphasized the puppy phases at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months. She said not to get crazed if the pup goes out of character at these phases, but work with them. These stages are when a dog is most likely to be given up on and dropped off at the SPCA because people don't realize that it's a phase. She used her dog Hannah as an example. At 18 months, she started doing something she's never done before, got into her daughter's markers and chewed them up. She's got to take a deep breath and work with her even more while going through the phase. Don't I know this from Sebastian!

I'm pleased with the improvement in Cinnabar's walking on leash and with listening to corrections when he's distracted. He's an awfully sweet boy, eager to please.

Cinnabar SitStay
Sit/Stay with Big Brother looking on

4th Basic Obedience Class - November 10, 2005
No Agility or Obedience last week because I badly pulled a muscle in my lower back and it restricted my ability to move at all, let alone any speed. Even working was laborious (no pun intended). No Agility this week because the instructor was under the weather and outside wasn't good for her.

What we missed in Obedience last week was Down/Stay and Come.

Only 4 of us in class last night, which was held inside because of the wind and chill. (Indie (English Setter mix), Libby (Doberman), Cubby (collie mix), Cinnabar)

We started off individually with Sit/Stay for 30 seconds and then Down/Stay for 30 seconds. Everyone is doing great, obviously working with their dogs.

Then we worked on Meet And Greet. We want our dogs to be well mannered when we run into people, no jumping on the people they meet. One of us was at one end, another at the other end and we had to walk toward each other, put the dogs in a sit/stay, shake hands and talk briefly with the dogs in sit/stay. Cubby, the collie mix, has the most challenges with this, but she's also come the farthest since the first class. The work they've put into her really shows.

Then Jen had each of us come up individually, and one of the young men who'd accompanied his mom came up to our dogs while in Sit/Stay and petted and loved them. He had to back away if any of them jumped on him while we corrected their behavior by putting them back in a sit/stay. A few corrections for the other dogs, Cinnabar just leaned into him and offered him a paw, and got some major points for the cute factor - "awwww" :)

Next, Jen set up a chair and put a roll of duct tape about 5 feet from it. We had to walk up, let the dogs sniff the tape to know it wasn't interesting or threatening, walk around the chair, put them in a sit/stay while we sat. Then keeping them in a sit/stay, get up, pick up the tape and sit back down. Libby did the best, with the rest of us having to issue corrections. Cinnabar was a riot and we repeated several times. Each time I got up, he popped up, but sat back down with the "eh, eh" correction. Then he popped up each time I took a step, but sat back down with "eh, eh". On our third attempt, I kept my hand up to him (talk the the hand gesture) while I retrieved the tape and sat back down and he stayed. Progress.

Next, Jen showed us "extra credit" Place command (Sebastian's favorite). You call the dog to you with your right hand outstretched with a treat, have them follow the treat around behind you, and end up sitting at your left side (their Place). We went up first because I know the command. Cinnabar has watched Sebastian do it many times each week. This command takes time to learn, and much repetition is needed. Cinnabar came to me but immediately sat and had issues following the treat around, but we eventually got there. Libby did the best.

Next, we played puppy version of musical chairs. We had to walk around the chairs until time was called, sit and put the dogs in a sit/stay. The first go around, we had 10 seconds to do this. Then 8 seconds, 6 seconds, 4 seconds and 2 seconds. All dogs did well. Then we repeated it with down/stay. Again, all dogs did well. What I liked best about this, was seeing Cinnabar's improvement on leash. He responds extremely well to happy voice on leash and initiating sit/stay, down/stay.

I asked Jen to show us what she did for the Come command that we missed last week. She strongly emphasised that for now, we do this on leash only, because they must be successful every time. Walk to the end of the dog's leash, call Come and pull the dog toward you, lavish him with praise each time. The trouble I had with it is that Cinnabar is a velcro boy, and I couldn't get far enough away from him initially, which had her laughing at how cute he is trotting toward me, eyes always on me. She did it a few times with him, and then I did.

Cinnabar Recall
Cinnabar on recall

5th Basic Obedience Class - November 17, 2005
We had a beautiful large, orange rising moon on the way to class. By the time we got to class it was golden color. Just lovely.

Six of us in class last night, which was held inside because of the wind and chill. (Indie (English Setter mix), Libby (Doberman), Cubby (collie mix), Rufus (English Sheepdog), Nutmeg (poodle?), Cinnabar)

We starting on a review of Meet And Greet. One of us was at one end, another at the other end and we had to walk toward each other, put the dogs in a sit/stay, shake hands and talk briefly with the dogs in sit/stay. Rufus did well for his first time with this.

Then we each went up for individual reviews.

First walking around the room, putting the dog in a brief sit/stay at each corner. Cinnabar is doing well walking on leash, but doesn't sit beside me. He needs to sit in front of me, but he sits. Practice will improve where he sits.

Then a 3 second down.

Then for us a 1 minute Sit/Stay. I dropped the leash and was about 6 feet away from him. He was doing well, eyes on the treat. Then there was commotion in the back of the room, barking, talking. He kept turning his head to look, but when I said "Cinnabar" in happy voice and played with the treat in my hand he kept his butt on the floor, eyes on the treat. He almost popped up once, but I closed my hand around the treat and he thought better of it. But finished the whole 60 seconds well, with all those distractions.
(Other dogs did a minute, some 30 seconds, depending on their progress so far)

Then for us a 1 minute Down/Stay. Again, I dropped the leash, was about 3 feet away from him, and was standing erect (previously that made him pop up, but no longer). He had some minor distractions, and some side-to-side movement, but with encouragement kept his eyes on me and completed his 1 minute.

Then we did Place. I told Jen that I thought if we moved the distance between us and he got up enough speed we'd have a better chance of him following the treat around me and not stopping when he got to me. Ok, we did that and Cinnabar came bounding toward me and I was pulling the treat behind me, but he stopped on a dime at my feet, making everyone laugh. I was able to slowly get him around behind me, and he didn't sit on my left, buy laid down on my left. Jennifer said she'd take it.

All of the dogs are doing well, everyone has been working with them quite obviously. Each of us have different areas to concentrate on for improvement, but on the whole doing very well.

While others had their turn, Cinnabar was very good doing either a Sit/Stay or Down/Stay for a treat. We were nearest the rug (encompasses where we do our training) and it was challenging for him to leave the dog alone who was doing their walking. But, he listened. At one point he was on his back getting belly rubs from Indie's young man.

Graduation in two weeks. Jennifer emphasised for Thanksgiving, keeping turkey away from dogs (the triptofan - or however it's spelled - the stuff in turkey that makes us sleepy is toxic to dogs), as well as onions & chocolate as they are toxic to dogs.

Jen can't get over the differences in how Cinnabar & Sebastian learn. She said, "I see none of the defiance, well not defiance, but challenge in him that Sebastian has". I told her that Cinnabar is a gentleman and Sebastian is a 'good time guy', especially depending on the crowd around him. It's like he says to me, "yeah, yeah, I know you're stuff and I'll do it later - right now I got people to meet, places to go, things to do". She was laughing because it hit the nail on the head for her. I also told her how Cinnabar very gentlemanly neck shakes the toys, UNLESS he's imitating the violent neck shake of his brother. Unfortunately, when he tries the violent neck shake he often knocks himself over.

Cinnabar SitStay
Cinnabar Sit/Stay

6th Basic Obedience Class - Graduation - December 1, 2005
Six of us in class for graduation last night, which was inside. (Indie (English Setter mix), Libby (Doberman), Cubby (collie mix), Rufus (English Sheepdog), Nutmeg (poodle?), Cinnabar)

We each had individual time to be graded. Jen grades both humans and dogs and takes all the classes into account.

The order was Nutmeg, Libby, Rufus, Cinnabar, Indie, Cubbie.

While waiting our turn, Rufus and Cinnabar had a little playtime. The challenge for those waiting was that those who finished, got a doggie ice cream and the others didn't get to share it. Some issues naturally, but all dogs were well behaved.

First walking around the room, putting the dog in a brief sit/stay 3 times. Cinnabar is doing well walking on leash, and now sits beside me when I call sit. We're doing all our walking with "happy voice" no treats & doing great with it.

Then a 3 second down. Then Sit/Stay. He popped up at 50 seconds, straight back into a Sit/Stay, he popped up again and went straight back into it. He released from it when I said ok and came for the treat I had in my hand.

Then Down/Stay. He thought about popping up, but with "eh-eh" did not. We got the full minute in the Down/Stay. Amazing, better at the Down/Stay than Sit/Stay for that class.

Then we did Place. We'd practiced this without me ever getting him to really complete it. Although, we did have help. Sebastian couldn't contain himself and started running circles around me, always ending with a sit on my left. The show-off was going for the treat Cinnabar wasn't getting because he didn't do the command. But, I guess that his demonstation of the command for little brother really helped, as in class, Cinnabar bounded to me, followed the treat around, sat behind me, butt-scooted to my left side and sat. What a delightful surprise.

Then he got his doggie ice cream treat. While most licked theirs out of the cup, Cinnabar crunched the cup, and once it was fairly destroyed then licked the remains.

Everyone did well. Of the 3 obedience classes I've been through, this has been the best as all were there to work, and it really showed. Not only that, whole families were involved. Two for Rufus, Cubbie, Indie. For Libby, the young lady's father, mother, and 2 brothers came for graduation. That says alot about the commitment to training.

Then Jen took headshots of each dog for the graduation certificates (which we'll receive in the mail in a couple weeks). Cinnabar kept turning his head just as the shutter went down (don't I know that routine). She told him to sit, which he did sweetly looking up at her and she got it. Then after the trials of getting six headshots, we had to line up for a group shot. They all got rowdy, but settled down nicely and the shot was accomplished in an amazingly short time.

Since I've got a shot of Sebastian with Jen from his obedience graduation, I got one with Jen & Cinnabar. Also a shot of him laying around getting belly rubs.

Indie, Cubbie and Cinnabar had some playtime. Indie & Cubbie are similar in size, but my big guy was great with them. He plays really well & gently with other dogs - not the rough play that he & Sebastian get into. While they were playing both Indie's & Cubbie's moms asked me about Agility, when I showed them a photo of Sebastian on the Agility bulletin board. Actually there are 3 of Sebastian on there - coolness. We may see them in the spring when Cinnabar takes the class.

The next obedience class level is off-leash training, but they need to be 18 months for that. So, Sebastian will take that in the spring, Cinnabar next fall. Next for Cinnabar will be Agility in the spring.

Cinnabar with Jen
Cinnabar at Graduation with Jen

Cinnabar with Jen

3 1/2 month old Cinnabar - down/stay
website design by Sheryl
bordered background by Sheryl
© 2005
all images © Sheryl Franklin unless elsewise attributed
all Alaskan Malamute sound files © Sheryl Franklin
website hosting by FranklinCommunications
domain name by

Hudsons Malamutes - my breeder of choice

My Mals
      Puppy Kindergarten
      Basic Obedience
      Agility 2
      Agility 3
      Agility 4
      Agility 5
      Agility 6
      Agility 7
      Agility Trials
      Family Tree
      Growth Photos
      Action Photos
      Serene Photos
      Fun Photos
      First Birthday

What's New




Alaskan Malamutes

Malamute Links

Malamute Gear



Malamute Iditarod


Purebred Dog Breeds into the 21st Century

About Me


Alaskan Malamute Tail Chasing - Wolf
Alaskan Malamute Window Gazing - Taylor

Sleddog Legacy Online

Affordable Agility - Urban Mushing - Alaskan Dream Dog Equipment - Weight pull, sledding and more