I hope you are all staying safe and keeping busy. I also hope that working through these challenges and tasks has kept you and your dogs stimulated enough to ward off any feelings of frustration.
Yesterday I explained a trick that is really easy to teach your dog and once accomplished will give both you and your dog a sense of achievement even though it doesn’t really have any practical purpose apart from keeping your dog moving in ways that are different from the norm.
Today I’d like you to learn how to send your dog around an obstacle. You can use any obstacle that your dog can circle with ease. It can be a plant, a pole, a tree or even a chair or a person!
Step 1: Stand in front of your obstacle with your dog facing the obstacle. Holding a piece of food in front of your dog’s nose lure him around the obstacle, either clockwise or counterclockwise. Mark with a click or the word “Good” or “Yes” as he is going around and give him the food in your hand when he finishes. Repeat this step 5 or 6 times and have a break before doing another couple of repetitions.
Step 2: With your next session use the food to lure your dog around the obstacle a couple of times, then with an empty hand and with the same gesture as if you had food in the hand, repeat this 3 or 4 times. Once again, mark when the dog is halfway around the obstacle and feed when the dog finishes. You will probably have to repeat this step over the next 3 sessions.
Step 3: By now your dog should get excited when he sees the obstacle and might even pre-empt going around it. In this case, show him how excited you are at his progress and reward him. However, he might be waiting for you to give him the hand signal so it’s okay to do this. Repeat step 3 once again over two sessions.
The final step is to add a verbal cue, but I’ll cover that tomorrow.
This is a video I took this morning of Bo demonstrating the “Go Around”.