Today was a very busy day. It started with a potty break and then went right into crate exercises, and then loose leash walking — outdoors! Being outdoors is always harder than indoors, because there’s so much more to distract the dogs.
After lunch all the puppies got baths and nail trims. Then we made “Adopt Me!” bandannas while the puppies dried off. Once everybody was beautiful and pretty, we took our formal photos for the dogs’ web pages!
At the end of the day we learned about successive approximations by “training” a bicycle to move while steering it only with pieces of string. We weren’t quite as good at “training” the bicycle as we were at training our dogs, but we learned a lot. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!
Today we worked on loose leash walking some more (it’s very hard!). Then we added some new tricks — “bed exercises”, which emphasize the dog lying down on a dog bed while the handler works on distance, duration, and distraction; “door exercises”, where the campers learn how to teach the puppies to go through a door politely; and “cone exercises”, or “around”, which teaches the dogs to move away from the handler, go around an object, and come back. We thought about how tricks like this might be used in the real world — you will hardly ever have to go around a traffic cone while out for a walk, but what if your dog got his leash wrapped around a tree and you could just say “around” and he’d walk away from you, go around the tree, and come back, with his leash now unwrapped? Cool!
At the end of the day we had a visit from Mary with Canine Companions for Independence, who taught us about how CCI “socializes”, or raises, their puppies to be incredible service dogs. We got to meet Ralphie, a real service-dog-in-training!