Wednesday, December 26, 2012


My dogs keep me so honest.  I have a brand new fancy training room.  The dogs love it, I love it.  Since my surgery though the arm has been rather sore again.  My cast came off on the 21st but being only a week after becoming bionic the arm is still pretty tender.  With no cast I'm nervous about bumping or having the dogs jump on it.

The training room is in the basement and every time I go down there - whether it's for laundry or to get something out of the freezer the dogs are convinced we are going to train.  If I tell them to stay up they are sad.  If I let them come down with me they run into their crates and are convinced it's training time.  What can I do?  I try and have a few things planned that I can do without fear of being tackled.  Currently we are working on foot targets, directions, and trying to add some body awareness each day. I am grateful they love to train so much because it would be way too easy to get out of the habit.

Here is a video of Max helping me with laundry while Rylie supervises off camera.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making Lemonade

I had planned a couple more trials since my last post and signed up for a handling seminar at the end of December.  THEN I broke my elbow at the end of November and had surgery last week.  As far as life in general goes it's a huge annoyance but I'm trying to look at it as a dog training opportunity.

When I first broke my arm the dogs were fairly freaked out - they are used to being able to come for cuddles whenever they want but sometimes they would hurt the arm. Try as I might I couldn't help grimacing or saying Oww both of which upset them - particularly Max. Then some wonderful trainers I know told me to teach them what I know like to call the "swearing game".  Essentially whenever I would wince or say Oww (or swear - which I don't often do but I thought it was a fun name) I'd make a fuss over the dogs and they would get a treat.  Of course we had to practice when I wasn't hurting so I had to warn Engineering Dad not to come running every time I said Oww.  This worked so well with my food driven dogs that Max would come running from another room for his treat when he heard me!

Once the arm was not quite so tender and I was able to train a little I noticed Max avoided being on my left (broken arm) side so i would get down on the floor and hide treats in my sling for him to find.  I did stop this game when I found out I needed to have surgery though.

I've decided to devote these next weeks to going back to foundations and working on foot targeting and directionals for running contacts,  So far tat is going pretty well.