Thursday, May 2, 2013

Triple Adventure

On Tuesday, my sweet sister-in-law and I took a nice walk with Kolby through a town close by that we both enjoy and is a good middle driving locale between the two of us. While the walk was just something to do to wear out Kolby, I wouldn't say it was of any great training challenge for him. Walking is something we have been done lots of in many different places, so the journey was nothing really all that new or out of the ordinary for him. He enjoyed walking and listening to us talk, I am sure!
The real adventure was our stop at Subway for lunch. Because it was his lunch time too, I used his volume of lunch kibble to reinforce his Stay command. We sat at a high table with bar chairs, which gave Kolby an experience to be "farther away" from me than a traditional table.

It is amazing what a difference it made. A new challenge in training that I would not have guessed would have existed. I am so glad my sister-in-law chose that table (although she was very sweet to offer the regular size table, I was up for the challenge).

There was no real place for him to Under at our table, and being way-down-there, compared to my face way-up-there at the high table, he had to really focus on not scooting farther and farther away and into the lobby area of the cafe. He eventually understood he received more Kibble for staying closer to my feet.
Yesterday's Puppy Class had visitors. Three 2-week old Dwarf Goats joined our class. It was so adorable to watch the little babies walk all over our dog training tools and then jump off, twist their bodies as if they were kicking up their heels and doing the splits like people, before landing on their feet in a Perfect 10 mode. I am sure the puppies enjoyed the goat antics as much as the people.
Kolby was not overly interested in the Goats. Our Trainer was very clear that the puppies could and should sniff, and go up to the Goats, but that the pups had to keep all four paws on the floor and their tongue in their mouth. Also, once a puppy was "focused" in on a goat, the raiser had to call the puppy by name with the goal of the puppy turning his face to make eye contact with the raiser.
Every puppy did amazingly well!! And surprisingly, the Goats were more curious about the Puppies than vice versa.
This black and white goat followed Kolby all night, and Kolby would just keep scooting over and watching me for his Reward. He was awesome. I love how focused he was on me, and not the goats, and he would allow the goats to sniff his tail laying on the ground and bump into his backside. Adorable.
This morning we made a social outing to the local big box store. We walked the home good section, and the pet aisle before moving through the entire Dairy, Seafood, and Produce Departments on our way to Self-Checkout.
As we started our outing I remembered I was going to bring Kolby's little stuffed toy that our Trainer suggests to use to keep the "fun" in outings. The goal is the puppy will associate the toy like a treat, and can carry the toy as a stress reliever while learning. A way to break up all the thinking they must do to keep in line. And, we can stop and "play" with the toy and the puppy if a situation is really stressful, versus feeding a high value treat all the time. Make it FUN and the puppy should calm down.
Because I forgot the little stuffed toy at home, I decided we would select a toy at the store for Kolby to carry and play, so we went to the pet section first to pick it out. Although this toy isn't very small, it was a perfect toy to hold while walking. He did. Kolby was adorable and talk about an attention getter!! Try this!
Kolby is 1/4 Golden Retriever and I think they have it in them to Hold rather well (Haddie was full lab and she never got the Hold concept while under my care. And by that I don't mean I was using Hold as a command as I know we can't, but just give her a toy to hold/carry and she would drop it. Always. Immediately). I gave Kolby his toy and he just started walking with it. I didn't say any command words but gave him lots of praise.

Kolby held his toy throughout our store adventure, did a Drop for me to scan it for purchase, and then carried it out and to the car.
I put our purchase in the car and removed his Vest. We were going walking and I wanted to have him know to keep behaving in public even without his Vest on. The sun was awesome and we walked much longer than we were in the store. So. Much. Fun. and yes, Kolby behaved and I could have kept going, but he was tired. When he stumbles over his feet, it is time to stop. Ha!

Triple Adventure week and we aren't even done.


  1. What great pics and training opportunities!

  2. My great-uncle has a Golden Retriever. He has the coolest trick: he carries his own leash in his mouth and walks beside you in a perfect heel. He's a rock star on the beach when we baby-sit and take him for walks. Everyone can't get over it, it's so cute. I confess I don't usually give up that I didn't teach him that!

    I think it's a Golden niche though. Bet Kolby could do it!

  3. Carver would carry his leash. He just didn't like it getting dirty from dragging the ground!