It’s been a busy week for Rosie and Dick.
Dick is now a six month old bouncing boy who has gone from cute, shy puppyhood, racing into cheeky adolescence at a rate of knots.
As with all growing pups, Dick’s teenage hormones have caused him to pick up some naughty habits. Washing that is left on the line too long, mysteriously ends up in the garden. Fruit trees are being nibbled in their pots and their soil dug out. Food left on the counter, is being investigated on hind legs. You get the picture!
So. Time for more exercise to drain that excess energy, and some challenging training to keep that mischievous brain busy.
Dick has been doing some slow training progressions in recent weeks, with various exercises. He has learned to run alongside the mountain bike, which he loves and is great exercise for him. We keep these rides fairly short, because he’s still young and growing.
He’s also been encouraged to develop a bond with a certain ball. This ball has a hole through the middle. Perfect for squeezing smelly treats inside. As if the chasing of the ball was not incentive enough..
Dick has also been training to sit and wait for increasingly longer periods of time, whilst I walk away and do something else for a few minutes. It’s important that you go out of sight during this training and reward substantially upon success.
Dick has also been learning to play the ‘Find It’ game. Did you know that dogs learn faster from each other, than they do from us? Thanks to this concept, this has been fairly easy exercise for Dick, as Rosie is an old pro at this game. It plays perfectly to her scent hound DNA. And her excitement for the game has been picked up by Dick.
So far, it has been just tons of fun, finding treats stuffed into tree trunks, or grassy holes, or in the sand, or amongst the chairs at sports stadiums. Anywhere, really. The treats are hidden up high, and down low. The variation of hidey holes is important, so they really learn to use their nose, as opposed to their memory recall.
Dick has been learning to climb different varieties of stairs, as dogs occasionally have issues with stair cases where they can see through the gaps between steps, or are spiral. He’s been trained to jump up onto picnic tables and ledges, investigate cramped spaces, or stand up on his hind legs to investigate high areas.
The dogs are taught to sit and wait out of sight, behind a tree, a car, or around the corner, whilst I spend a few minutes hiding treats in the local vicinity. I then release them with the ‘Find It’ command.
Off they dash, noses to the ground, frantically sniffing, to beat each other to find all the hidden treats. Having a beagle as your competitor ups the ante somewhat – and the race is on!