Yesterday Muffit and I went to our obedience instructor and had a private lesson. Muffit is such a sweet boy, but he doesn’t know how to calm himself down. He’s like a kangaroo on a pogo stick, he comes out of his crate bouncing and sitting and downing and bouncing and twirling like a crazy dog.
In order to get this boy to do any sort of dog sports, he needs to calm down enough to think instead of throwing himself around without any thought. And so now I have some good exercises to do with him, and I’m looking forward to see his progression.
The first exercise is to have him lie on his mat, and just hold his chin in my hand. He’s so reactive that a click or a word of praise brings his drive up. So when he’s still, a treat is silently slipped into his mouth. When we were doing this it was working great and he was already catching on! And I will intersperse this with shorts bursts of play with him, to teach him he can be high, then he can come down again and be still. So he can think in a high state, and also to get that high state, maybe, to not be quite so frantically high.
Next we will work on him coming out of the crate. I will have to lure him out slowly, and have him sit. Because when he comes out he’s a bundle of energy bouncing all over the place. So we will work on control coming out of the crate. As well as restraint staying in the crate with the door open.
Lastly we’ll work on going to a target plate to get a treat, then coming back to me and sitting in a calm way, maybe with some more chin holding.
I think Muffit will be staying home from trials and practices for a while as we work on these things. He can still go to the dog park… he’s a great dog park dog. He runs out some energy, stays in shape, and he doesn’t get over the top. Okay on the walk into the park he barks quite a bit, but once he’s off leash he’s great. 🙂
Muffit might start learning agility before flyball, even. It might be more calm for him. I just don’t think, at this point, he’ll be able to really focus or do any sort of dog sports until he calms down. And he’s such a dear. Sometime soon, hopefully, he’ll be able to go on some Vegas vacations with me, to do agility or flyball or something else. And… I guess I haven’t decided if I should take him to flyball tournaments or not. UGH it’s too hard to leave him home! 🙂