The title is kinda the opposite of how life is around here in our two dog house.. but it also is not the more popular statement of “All work and no play.” I try and incorporate fun into training, as well as adding training into fun for our 4-leggers.
Take for example my outing to pick wineberries, I took the dogs as I used to run Luna pretty often at this location and figured they would like to hang out with me.
And they did seem to enjoy being out. Sure it was a little warm, and a lot humid, but it beats being bored in the house right? Luna enjoys standing and watching life around her (and hunting for critters and bugs), Wyatt gets a little fussy sitting still sometimes but this is something he needs to work through anyway, so it’s no reason to leave him out. I had planned this picture out before I even got to the park to pick, and so when my dogs had chilled out some, I decided to work on Luna and her “fetch/hold” command. To be honest she has never been into retrieving as a whole and being a hunting dog who I plan to compete with further… I have been trying to broaden her fetching of different items in hopes of it becoming more fun for her, and less of a task. This bucket was my training moment for the day. Wyatt was not originally going to be in the photo, but it seems that every time I ask Luna to sit he tends to sit (Luna does the same when I ask it of other dogs or in the house of Wyatt) so I figured I may as well include him. And since sit/stay is such a huge part of having a hunting lab, in reference to later training I figured it’s a good thing for him to continue to work on in a more stimulating environment.
And when it was time to offer them some water in our awesome new bowl I won through a great blog called According to Gus (AKA you should check them out) I worked on the “wait”, so that they each could have uninterrupted time at the bowl. Okay this is mainly because wyatt is a water hog and is not dainty about how he drinks and I feel Luna ends up getting jipped then. Anyway it’s just another way to teach focus and self control, and in the end everyone got as much as they wanted.
I also threw some extended down stays in when we reached an area that was more public in the park. I wanted to keep picking but didn’t want to have to worry about them so I put them in a down stay and picked away. I ended up working about 50 feet away (I am horrible at judging distance,it could have been more or less than this, but I would have a hard time throwing a rock as far) and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was for upwards of 20-30 minutes. Wyatt broke 4 times but I never had to fully go back to him to get him to return to his down. And I’m proud to say Luna did not break a single time (CGC here we come?) We have worked downs with wyatt, but never to this length so I was quite happy with how he did, especially in this location. I know the main reason for him breaking was because he wanted to be closer to me, or see me better. He is like that.
Case in point, he does this when I’m in the kitchen. He has finally chilled about coming any further than the bowls when I am in the kitchen. Yep, my dogs are not supposed to be in the kitchen when I’m working in there. It’s mainly a safety thing, as our kitchen is small and often busy. But you see how he feels the need to keep an eye on me? He is more of a shadow than my Vizsla is, and they’re nicknamed “velcro-dogs.” Hopefully he will grow out of it, as it does not agree with my personality, no matter how endearing.
Placing Luna, or rather asking her to “jump up” on so many objects is yet another way to incorporate training into our outings. She has to trust me about what I’m asking her to do, and because I have done this since she was a puppy it has paid off in her confidence of her agility/body awareness. What you can’t see in this picture is Wyatt sitting on the ground beside the log. He is a dog that does not like to climb on, jump over, or be posed anywhere besides the ground. And honestly I don’t know if he ever will be, just like I don’t know if he ever will have the desire to learn more tricks. It’s just who he is, and I don’t want to require him to be anything that is just not his nature for my own photographic gains. So he gets rewarded for “trying” and offering me a sit without prompting.
And the impromptu photo sessions in the yard are training too. We work on sit, stand, wait, and sometimes watch. I admit these are mostly for my own gain, but they do get payouts too.
Kinda silly head shot of Luna, but oh well, I liked the light.
And when it comes to working multiple dogs at once, well that’s a work in progress when you go above 2 (well especially when the 3rd is not your own)… but as Kate over at twenty-six-to-life says it comes down to one-on-one training. And I have to say that has been a huge factor in how well wyatt listens despite being around a pack of 7 other dogs on a daily basis. It was the foundation we set as a puppy that really pays off now that he is just over 1 year old.
What are your typical training moments/sessions like? Do you have a multiple dog home, how has this effected your methods? Training does not have to be formal, it’s all about finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life so that everyone sticks with it. And in the case of these smart bird dogs, sometimes it’s important to also make it not seem like they are working/learning so they are more into it.
I hope everyone has a great week. Stay tuned for a new feeding method we tried.