This morning we worked hard on loose leash walking. It is a complicated concept with a lot of parts. Not only do you have to hold the leash carefully so it does not tangle the dog while still remaining loose, you must present your reinforcers promptly and in such a way that the dog can take them, all while moving faster than the dog and anticipating and guiding the dog’s movements. It takes a while to get it right!
Afterward we practiced getting our dogs’ attention. It is surprisingly difficult to get, and keep, a dog’s attention while there are other campers, other dogs, and loose kibble lying around. This time, we tried to keep our dog’s attention for two minutes, armed with both a toy and kibble. We got to try different toys and tactics to keep our dogs interested in us.
After lunch we took the dogs swimming — and this time we got to get into the pool with them! We guided our puppies around the pool, helping them to build stamina and learn to move in the water. We also made ourselves available to the puppies as a place of safety — they could swim to us and we would support them in the water. Some of the puppies got a little overenthusiastic and tried to climb us like trees! We had to remind them that it is not nice to use humans as jungle gyms.
While the puppies rested after swimming, we took a “field trip” to an ice cream shop!
In the afternoon we added hula hoops to crate exercises — allowing us to increase duration, distance, and distraction while giving the dogs a target (the hula hoop) to help focus them (and us). Then we cleaned the barn, and had a little quiet naptime to round out an amazing day!