Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Training Pilot

Pilot is a firecracker. There seems to be no end to his energy. It has been so fitful working with him. His attention span is short, his energy is high, and finding something that will keep him entertained for a length of time and direct his energy in a useful way is not easy. For the last couple of months, playing fetch, tug-o-war, and going on hikes out in the pasture have been the only ways to encourage him in something useful. After going on a hike or playing tug-o-war for a while, I would then try to refresh his manners and teach him obedience or tricks. But, even after having used up some of his bounding energy, he still wasn't sitting or laying down without being told several times, and we weren't EVEN close to learning how to stay in one spot. On top of that, after playing an energetic game or going on a hike, I was exhausted and it seemed like Pilot was just starting to warm up! Our energy levels are so different! A few years ago, I could have kept up with him and I still think I could if I seriously revamped my health routine, but now, it is a chore!
However, recently, something has changed. Pilot has just seemed to go "Light Bulb".I got a book called 10-Minute Dog Training Games: Quick and Creative Activities for the Busy Dog Owner (Amazon Affiliate Link). It has several simple, quick games and tips for spending a little time each day with your dog if you are a busy owner. The games and tricks in it have step-by-step instructions and the book explains how the games and tricks can build on one another (i.e.: sit - sit up - stand up). I liked the fact that the games were short, built on each other, and worked on building your dog's attention span. As soon as I got the book in the mail, I immediately trying the games with Pilot.
Well, call me pickled and throw me in a jar - those games seemed to helped!
After that, I got inspired and decided to make a tiny agility course. This "agility course" literally consists of a motor box turned on it's side and a truck tire propped between two big bricks. I lured him through the tire a few times either way, and then showed him how to do the box, which was a breeze because he loves to jump. Then I had him do both: go through the tire and jump up and over the box.
Sounds pathetic, right? Well, it helped Pilot....A LOT. For him, he accomplished something and he had to use his brain for it. He had to exercise his mind AND his body.
Since trying the new games in the 10-Minute Dog Games book along with the tiny agility course, Pilot's energy level has gone down incredibly. His attention span has increased. And guess what? He laid on his bed for 10 minutes today... without anything to chew on. You may think that is ridicules, but for me and Pilot, that is a BIG ACHIEVEMENT!

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