Thursday, April 22, 2010


Some are good days and some are bad. Sometimes even within a class things go from bad to good. For the last three weeks Darcy has been not feeling the agility class. She's run incredibly slowly or just balks at every obstacle. The first half of class last night was still the same. I reconsidered if I should continue doing agility with her since she just didn't seem to enjoy it. But then during the last run was a huge turn around. She ran like lightning and took all the obstacles (weave poles, wing jump, tunnel, tire and four jumps) like a champ. The whole class cheered as she finished. I can only imagine how it feels to have a good run like that in a competition!

As a little aside from my normal discussion about Darcy, I wanted to give people some good ideas for things to do to burn your dog's energy up that doesn't involve a lot of work on your part. Two reason I am thinking of this - one is that Darcy has a bit more energy as the only day care she was comfortable at, All For Doggies, just closed. And two is that I have been talking about these things to a lot of clients lately so I wanted something for them to reference. Here are some good ones:

1) Do Something Different Game: Involves getting the dog to continually perform a different behavior for a period of time. Check out earlier postings on this blog for a demo.

2) Treasure Hunt: Instead of putting your dog's food in a bowl, place small piles of it around the house so he or she has to "hunt" it down. Start out easy with the food in plain sight but you can eventually get to having the food in a room with the door ajar or under pillows or rugs. Obviously as long as the dog isn't eating the pillows or rugs!

3) Find Me Game: For this game your dog must either have a great Sit/Stay or you must have two or more people. Have the dog in a Sit/Stay or have one person hold the dog and the other people moves away to the other side of the room and calls "Find Me". When the dog reaches that other person he or she gets rewarded. Just like with the Treasure Hunt, start out easy but eventually you can be hiding in closets or behind furniture.

4) Three Card Money (sorta): Take three plastic cups (or playing cards if your dog won't eat them too) and put a treat under one of them. Move the cups around and then let them go. Your dog will undoubtedly find the treat though he or she might knock over all the cups to do it. It's a party pleaser regardless!

5) KONGS: Feeding all your dog's food in Kongs will use up mental energy in a positive manner which is always beneficial.

All these activities will burn up mental energy which is just as tiring as burning physical energy. The more energy burned throughout the day, the calmer and happier your dog will be!

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