What a great week it was being out on the trail with the dogs. I had Bayliss, the 14 year old out with me as well as young Finley and Stanley.
While Bayliss is very wise on the trail having loved hiking all of her life, Finley and Stanley needed some work on their trail rules. They were ranging a little further from me than I normally allow, giving me less than enthusiastic recalls and not paying attention to where I, the human hiking leader, was going. Time for some work boys!
First things first, I had to get their attention back on me. I brought out the highest value treats I had with me, which happened to be home-made tuna treats. Turns out they LOVE these treats. I started their training session by simply hiding behind a tree. Stanley noticed right away and went hunting for me and when he found me, he got lots of treats and fun praise. Finley took a bit longer, but he soon figured this game out too. It seems that this hide-and-seek game was way more fun that ranging too far from me. After a dozen or so hides, both boys were sticking pretty close so they wouldn't lose me!
Good Sit-Stay Finley and Stanley! Thanks for Supervising the Boys Bayliss!
Next I started working some sit-stays and recalls. The boys were expected to stay put while I walked on ahead for a distance, and only move when I called them to me. I would walk back and gently replace them in their sit if they broke. After a number of corrections, they both stuck their sits very well and got lots of tuna treats and praise when they came to me. Good work!
My final exercise for these two rambunctious boys was to let them get preoccupied with something, then I would turn down a trail in another direction. I wanted them to notice and come running after me. They both excelled at this exercise and it became a fun game for them to pay attention to see where I was heading next!
By the last 90 minutes on the trail, these two boundary-pushing boys were back on track and behaving as I expect them to. I was very proud of them!
Leashed Up and Homeward-Bound. Mental and Physical Exertion=Happy, Healthy Dogs!