another 2-minute training concept

It occurred to me last evening that I use a great deal of 2-minute training other than mealtime training for specific dog-sport behaviors.

From oldest to youngest:

   Banner — age 13 — we do “see me – catch me” games for about a minute a day. I don’t want her to get lazy about trying to see things so we play the game where I entice her to follow me, then have her chase me around the sofa and recliners (at a dead walk), then she gets to catch me and celebrate.

   Bogie and Birdie — age 13 — I’ve started using hand and arm signals for both of these boys. There’s some blindness and a great deal of deafness going on with all our old dogs, and neither of these two require much training. They’re perfect just as they are. Birdie, by the way, has perked up considerably since I put all the oldsters on a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, plus started soaking his kibble for a few hours before his meals.

   Wizard and Ringer — age 11 — for two wild yard dogs these guys actually have really nice recalls. Several times a week we go on family walks, down to the training building and around in the dog-fenced, 2-acre, run. Ringer is the only dog who can’t cross the driveway without taking off, so he has to walk on a leash. I’m teaching him how to put his leash on nicely. Ringer’s preferred method of getting leashed is to run full force at the person holding the leash and bounce his front feet off their gut. (He’s a puppy-mill rescue with no manners – we call him “Mr. Inappropriate.” <g>) I hold the leash loop in front of me. If he approaches nicely it slips over his head. If he runs straight at me I roll to the side. He’s actually picking it up rather quickly.

    Dash — age 9 — always has to lie down for his meals. Dash has no natural confidence. All he has came from me and food. So he’s my spoiled brat. A terrific obedience and agility dog, Dash has to show a touch of self-control before getting any rewards. Last evening we tried to practice his stupid-pet-trick (Dash shops and prioritizes a pile of objects and retrieves them in the same order every time) and it would seem the trick has vanished. He now picks up the first thing that appears before him, and retrieves the entire pile in no particular order. Oh well, there’s a reason I called it a stupid pet trick. <g>

    Red — age 5 — an interesting dog, clinically insane, perhaps. She always has to lie down and stay at the back of the pack for her meals. Red will nudge and nip at any dog that comes around her when food is involved. We keep trying different foods and supplements but I fear she’s going to be my go-along dog, for a few more years anyway.

    Hazard — age 5 — Bud’s tiny sheltie has to be quiet for one minute before I’ll set her food bowl down. She’s a lovely agility dog though none of us get out often enough to accumulate many titles. She got her TACH without Bud being aware of it. We’re going to to be working with her on the teacup equipment, building speed and distance.

    Blue — age 2 — a rescue from the Marietta shelter (HSOV), Blue seems to have issues with start-line timers. I’ve talked with a number of people in the dog agility world and we’ve concluded that Blue’s issue is not with the sound of “GO!” coming out of the speaker. Her issue is with the little bleeps and bloops that happen as the system records the end of the prior dog’s run and resets itself. These sounds are so close the the sounds made by an underground fence shock collar, warning the dog that it’s getting close to the line. Blue’s reaction, when she hears the dog ahead of her clear the last jump and the system reset, is to look for a way out of the ring. I’d like to dig a hole big enough to bury all those darned shock collars forever.

In my basic obedience lessons I stress that every interaction with our dog is training, so the day is full of 2-minute training steps.

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