Shrek is a total rockstar at life.
It's been a little too long since your last update, so this one is pretty long. Lots of videos, lots of just “informal” tips I have with regards to just having a puppy.
What we've been up to…
1. Going to work every – single – day! Including a weekend of seminaring where I was instructing. He was totally chill with Auntie Laurie taking care of him while I was super busy.
He got to play during the lunch breaks, including this awesome focus work and free-shaping while another dog played (and barked) in the ring with him!
2. Pre-Sport Puppy Class! I love this class. I am having a great time being a student, stepping away from teaching and getting some chill time with my Super Puppy!
Training moment: This is not only shameless advertisement of the Pre-Sport class that SDS offers – this is a reminder that this class should be happening: EVERYWHERE. This is not puppy manners, or how to socialize, or throw all the puppies loose for play-time. This is about building a relationship with your teammate. This class is about making performance events FUN for *both* ends of the leash.
3. Meeting so many amazing people & dogs. Shrek has never met a stranger, and while I’ve been very picky and selective about the dogs he does meet, he has had nothing but good experiences, and he continues to be the most respectful and appropriate puppy I’ve ever had! Yay Ogre!
Training moment: I’ve probably offended some people, and I do apologize, however, if my puppy wants to say “hi” to you, *he* will approach you. I will not force or encourage him to say hi to people. He is a very outgoing puppy, but if he is choosing to ask *me* what is next instead of the rest of the world, I’m going to support that choice and (probably) ignore you too.
4. Tricks, tricks, and more tricks. I love free-shaping with this dog. He offers so many incredibly cute and creative behaviors, and he catches on to knew things so quickly. I love this dog!
Here are some of the tricks I’ve been starting to put a name to:
5. Agility trials! He visited his first 3-day agility trial at Fun Fur Paws (where we work) and was great! Again, greeting people with joy and excitement, and *not* running up to every dog he saw!
We did choose opportune times to test our skills in such a super-charged environment. He met and exceeded all expectations:
We also visited a *new* trial location in Lynden, and he practiced his down and other tricks on the bleachers and had some engagement training on the dirt between the two agility rings.
Training Moment: It is important to me to introduce new surfaces and textures to my puppy. Agility competitions are held on a variety of surfaces, and equipment can be made of a variety of materials. Confidence on different surfaces will be critical in his obstacle training.
6. Most recently, he has been learning about appropriate toy skills 🙂 Shrek loves pretty much anything to play with, but bunny tugs and balls are definitely his favorites. He is excellent at retrieving anything that looks like a tug toy – right back to my hands with the genetically inherited “leap” into my lap. However, this is not the case when it comes to balls. Especially small, latex squeaky balls.
This video is long, but if you have a dog that does not like to give up possession of a toy, it might be informative.
Training Moment: It is important that I do not chase or force him to give it up, and he always gets what he gives up. The only exception, is when I am finished, I reward the last “drop it” with treats, and “that’ll do” happens (not filmed – camera cut off). It is also important that you give yourself plenty of time to see this out. I would prefer a smaller space, but this worked well for Shrek. I only start these sessions if I have 30 – 45 minutes to wait him out, and gain some success. You’ll notice that he progressively got closer to me when dropping it, and the wait between drops was getting shorter.
And, of course, he is doing amazing just being a part of this family.