Our lives are so busy at times. So how do we maintain our dog’s skills over time without setting up a CGC test course? I find by incorporating the commands that are so necessary during our DOC visits into our daily routines, your dog just responds naturally. I call this ‘Organic Training’—living, breathing, down to earth, real.
As many of you know, our newest dog, Eli, is a ‘foster failure’. He has all the characteristics of a great therapy dog; he is one of the sweetest male dogs I have ever been around in my life. He has been, however, reluctant to go into a ‘down’ position. I decided the easiest way to work on this command was consistently giving it twice a day at meal time, while holding the bowl in front of him. He realized pretty quickly that he wasn’t going to eat until he went down. I found it humorous at first; he would make a groaning sound as he went from a sit to a down, as if to say, ‘OhhhhKaaaaay….now put the bowl down…”
After a few weeks, it was automatic. No more groaning, no more ‘half-downs’. Some mornings I give the command simply with a hand signal. I also do this with all three dogs when it comes to ‘dessert’ after the meal. It didn’t take Eli anytime to line up with the girls, assume the inspection line in a ‘sit’ and wait patiently for the treat.
As I said in the opening line, our lives are very busy and we sometimes put training on the back burner after our dogs are certified. It is my hope that ‘Pawsitive Pointers’ will be practical and organic as we all strive to maintain the skills and behaviors in our canines that are the bedrock of our wonderful visits!
Until next time,