Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who's That?

School listening face
Yesterday was a school day for me. Getting a good education is a wise idea for anyone--children, adults, therapy dogs, and household dogs of all kinds. It keeps the mind engaged, shows us new possibilities, and is in general fun! Here I am demonstrating my listening face. One of the first things I learned as a puppy was "watch me." I hear that and I make eye contact with my human. It's the basis for everything we do. If I'm barking and out of control, a quick "watch me" will often break my attention and redirect me. Similarly, if i'm in a dangerous situation a quick "watch me" can reorient me so I can hear other commands (like come, down, leave it, and other similar things).

Jake demonstrating patience
School of course is also a time to get some good exercise while we are practicing our skills. This here is my friend Jake. Here you see him practicing waiting. he had already gone over two jumps. He was asked to stop here and wait until he got the go ahead to do two more jumps. At the end he got to push an exercise ball, ring a bell, and he got a tasty little reward. Pretty fun, eh? Jake is an advanced student. He was able to do this task in two steps. His human had him do a sit/stay in front of the first jump. She walked out to this jump. She called "jump" and he did just that. When he got to the step she called out "wait" and he did just that. She walked out to the ball and called him again. Being a younger student, I worked on a different level. Sometimes when my human says jump I will bypass the jumps and just run to him. I'm learning what the words for all the different equipment mean. The goal over time is for the human to say "jump" from any place in the room and I go to the jumps and do them. That'll take a while.

Dog Walk!
Here I am doing the dog walk. It's one of my favorites, mostly because in the middle of the dog walk there are a couple of wubba kong's tied to a bar. I like to try to grab them on my way past. I'm getting pretty good at this part of the circuit. I run up and over the A Frame, through the tunnel, across the dog walk, and then onto the table where I do a down/stay. The human has to be extra careful because he has a habit of banging his knees on the dog walk--we both do this circuit while running.

My friend Sunny
We had a little break in our educational activities at school yesterday. I used this interruption in my schedule to investigate an interactive toy that we have in the classroom. See what a good job it does keeping my attention? The food the human put inside it helps of course. Occasionally using toys like this are a great way to engage your dogs curiosity--especially on rainy days when no one seems to want to go out.

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