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Great day at the obedience and rally show n go!

9 Jan

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your pups! Aside from amazing weather, our weekend was highlighted by an obedience and rally show n go hosted by our local vizsla club. We had quite the turnout, and Susan and I had a great time watching all the dogs perform.

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Bathroom Games?!?!?

16 Dec

If Gumbo was a Harry Potter character, he would be George or Fred Weasley and not just because he’s a RED dog… but because he lives by the motto “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good”! Gumbo is definitely our mischief maker – territory that is pretty typical for an adolescent male. Our goofy boy has a zest for life and as wonderful as he is, his exuberance can be overwhelming sometimes. As with any vizsla, we make sure he has PLENTY of exercise each week, but we do live in a city which can make it difficult to give him adequate off leash exercise every day. That aside, even when Gumbo is physically tired, he is always mentally engaged. We do lots of indoor training to keep him occupied. We spend a lot of time doing rally style training (topic for a future post) and obedience. A training session can often leave him more exhausted than a 5 mile run. It can also be a challenge to keep up Gumbo’s mental exercise, so we have had to get creative with our techniques.

Our newest activity is bathroom games! Yep, that’s right – sometimes we have to take advantage of any chance we can get to train. These activities are fairly simple and often augmented by clicker training. (I’ll refer you to Karen Pryor’s website if you aren’t familiar with the clicker: Gumbo is definitely the type of dog to knock over the laundry hamper or the trash can while you’re in the shower and while he has never destroyed anything significant, this is not a habit we would like him to continue. So our training methods are very simple. We are now teaching Gumbo that starting the shower means it’s time for him to do a sit stay or a down stay on the bath mat. The goal is to have him hold a stay during the length of a shower. This gives us peace of mind that he’s staying out of trouble, and it helps him build a skill we want him to excel at anyway! So we now keep treats in the bathroom, and while Gumbo holds his stay, he occasionally gets a click+treat. The amazing thing about Gumbo is his ability to learn. He picked up on this game almost immediately, and even if he leaves the mat, he is easy to correct even from a distance. Have you tried any training methods like this? Was it successful? If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.