Finding time to train our dogs is never easy especially for those who work full time jobs and are away from home most of the day. I can certainly relate - I am on my own and my life is dedicated to dogs (other than my own) seven days per week. It is simple to make excuses or 'put it off' until tomorrow (I am guilty of it). The good news is, it only takes a few minutes of consistency per day to achieve behaviors and results we want. But, you have to put the time in to it! The even better news (for me), the bigger picture of dog training leads to favorable behaviors and skills that will be important for future therapy visits! If you're on the fence and considering therapy work...take a class! You have to start somewhere. Settler started his therapy journey with Mary Baker of Lucky Dog Company in Naples, FL.
In between the chaos of daycare dogs today I did some short sessions with both Settler and Chesnee. The first few minutes with Settler worked the beginning stages of a 'hold.' I did this same exercise with Chesnee. Less than five minutes per dog.
The second portion of the session was for Chesnee. I focused on body conditioning doing some 'sit pretty' and sit pretty into a stand position. Chesnee has struggled with urinary incontinence for the last few years. I have found through a strict diet and exercise it has really helped strengthen her muscles to help avoid the problem.
I have also started to reward Settler's 'calm' behaviors. He needs to start understanding that relaxation is a good thing and I will reward for that. If he was lounging around the house I would surprise him with a reward in between his front paws sporadically. His biggest challenge is his love for people. For the Canine Good Citizen test he will need to remain seated when a stranger greets us and asks to pet him. He will also need to contain himself during the physical examination.
Shifting gears: once all of the daycare dogs were picked up, and the weather was a bit cooler it was time to tackle outdoor focus and weave poles. It was time to burn some energy!