We’re at our dog retreat weekend at Luknam Park. The day started with a morning walk with the other doggies – Miuccia, Jensen and Enzo.
While all this was going on, George who doesn’t like playing fetch because he doesn’t like balls was strictly on a leash. No one trusted him to be on his own in these vast fields, especially with so many horses around. Also 500 acres is a lot of wide open fields to search for a little black dog!
So instead, Ed, the dog trainer, was working with him. He was straining with excitement at the new smells. So Ed offered him better options – treats!After the short walk, some of us were ready to do agility and some of us had one-on-one personal training. Well, we aptly showed Ed some of our “misbehaving” – like the moment we saw Mummy after she had left us for a short while. We started pulling and barking with excitement –And George was doing his alpha male bravado and we had a little “brawl” as to who is getting the attention – right in front of Ed, the trainer. He was rightly appalled and said, “No, no, no! This is not correct behaviour!” So we spent some time working with Ed on our being over excited at seeing Mummy. It didn’t take long for George to catch on about making eye-contact with he command “look”, to sit and be rewarded.
And I had to learn to sit and wait quietly even though I haven’t seen Mummy for less than a minute.
End result, we’ve got that “programme” inserted into our consciousness – now its all down to Mummy to keep practising it with us.
Next up was agility! Mummy loves that I do agility. I know one thing for sure – we’re never going to compete – we’re doing this for mental stimulation. And I can tell you why.
This is me running through a basic course with Anthony, who is on Team GB for agility.
Now compare me running with Mummy. I am running slower because I am following Mummy’s direction and she can’t run fast enough to keep up with me!
“Phew! That was exhausting!” Mummy gasped at the end of that short run.
So while Mummy caught her breath, Anthony tried taking George over some of the obstacles. Remember he managed to creep through the tunnel when he was given a chance to learn something while at the House of Mutt. Well, this was George …
at the hands of Anthony. He not only ran through the tunnel with speed, he leapt over a couple of hurdles and up the A-frame without much thought!!!! Everyone was cheering him on. Maybe, just maybe he could be focused enough to be fast!
As for Mummy, she was thinking she had better get fit for us if she’s serious about us doing agility!
May’s comment: I think agility is great stimulation for dogs and I highly recommend it. But I am not so sure for middle-aged women who had not been doing much running in the last decade. The only time I ever run these days is after buses! In short spurts. I was exhausted! LOL!
While that was fun, the training might prove to be another step towards eliminating George’s feral instincts. Ed explained how his mind-set for the first years of his life was all about scents and sights – that was his hunt to survive. While a lot of other things have since seeped into his being, the strong hunting instincts in him still presides and new environments will jolt that memory while in familiar surroundings are no longer intriguing but to dominate.
And – I have not given up on George in his ability to do agility. He jumped those bars at great height and he has speed and when familiar, he has no fear. A good combination – but need to keep his focus.
This is the Dog Retreat at Lucknam Park with House of Mutt – more info to follow!