Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Day 15: Country Dog

Margaret is doing really well with her Stay training, and this morning was no exception.

 Today when Debbie arrived, she worked on holding a Down Stay while Debbie came through the door.  
 Then we did a polite greeting routine  - no jumping, a quick greet, then me calling her, giving her a treat, then releasing her back to say hi again.
 Once she was calmer, she had to hold a Sit while Debbie petted her on her back, and I reinforced the Sit Stay with treats.  

Next, play time with the Moose and an opportunity to practice recall. I had noticed earlier in the morning that Margaret was a bit less responsive when I called her, so I made sure to brush up on that.

Young dogs always have days when they seem to slip back, or are testing boundaries to see what they can get away with. That's a time to do a little refresher training, as if they were still puppies, and soon they get back on track.

With Margaret's recall, it was a simple matter of loading up on extra tasty treats, and making sure we did some focused practice with marvelous rewards - both treats and playing games with her with ball tossing, stick fetching and whatever else she was enjoying in a given moment.      

Margaret Come!!!!

Good girl (multiple treats, petting and praise as rewards)
We went to the river after this and practiced recall all the way along the trails, hiding from Margaret and popping out when she came running back in answer to my call, and playing Hunt the Treat (turkey slices) as a reward for coming. She loved these games!

At the river Margaret was phenomenal. With over 4 inches of rain over night, the river was running faster and higher. The current was not too strong, but strong enough for the dogs to dive in after sticks and allow themselves to be carried downstream before swimming out.  It was like river surfing- and they loved it!

Margaret swam her heart out, and then raced all the way back to the house, playing more recall games as we went.

By the end of the day she was coming perfectly when I called her  -  better than before!

Margaret was knocked out after all that exercise and happy to spend the next few hours in her crate while I worked on her blog and handover document so you have training resources to work from when she is back home with you.

When she woke up she fussed a bit so I waited till she stopped protesting before I let her out of her crate.

Then I remembered we had one last training challenge that we hadn't met yet -   perfecting her RTV riding. Although she had been getting more comfortable on a our last ride, she had still been a little nervous. So I got out the RTV and we got down to business.

Margaret  hopped in readily, but when I started the engine, the vibration made her nervous. I kept a tight hold on her collar so she couldn't leap out, encouraged her with my voice, and went very slowly at first. I made sure she wasn't too scared, just a little nervous, otherwise we would have scaled back.

The Moose is a pro at this and insisted on riding with us in the back.

 After a short while, Margaret began to relax and settle in next to me. I only needed to keep a light hold on her collar in case she suddenly decided to jump out. Safety first always!

Ready for golfing!
 Any moment is an opportunity for a recall - this time I called Margaret from one side of the vehicle to the other.
And that was it for Margaret's day - time to go inside and have dinner, and spend a cozy evening inside.
 A very good time was had by all!
See you tomorrow!!! We can't wait!

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