Getting More Excitement Out Of Him | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting More Excitement Out Of Him

Since I'm endeavoring to improve his responsiveness and awareness while wound up, I want to be able to get him hyped up and keep it going and going and going until he's pretty much as wound up as he's going to possibly be. Of course, running around and playing chase will do it, but maybe I want to get him psyched up inside too. After all, more time he's hyper, the more time I can work on this.

So what does he love more than play? Food. Why not combine the two, make him "fight for his treat" so to speak? So I tried it and the results were very good! Wally got super alert already from the smell of the food, and then making him chase and pounce and claw at my hand (I need to find a way to protect my hands I think!) will gets him into it. Then when I start "fighting back" by pulling a bit on his hair, his paws, trying to get at his underside, putting my hand on his back and pulling - all of this gets him really going and some mix of agitated and playful. Getting play growls and lots of dodging and twisting and him grabbing at my arm with his paws, and just a good time all the way around.

Then when he's in super psycho mode, I pull the food away and give a cue (like "drop") and when he does it, we start it up again. I repeat this a few times of varying lengths of time of play and lengths of time of where he has to wait for the cue. After a few times, we go again, but this time I like him get the food at the end. Then, when he's focused on me with those wide, shiny eyes, and wagging tail, I give another cue and then we start the whole thing all over again.

Wally is loving it! He's getting all into everything and he starts moving fast with the cues and starting to bark and whine when I make him wait. One advantage (and which will be something of an issue outside) is that there's not a lot of room for him to get "zoomies" and just release all that energy. While we go out and walk/play after we're done with one of these sessions, outside, he'll be able to just charge around in a circle around me or hop or dart in and out at me, etc. This will put a new challenge for both of us in play, me in getting his focus again and controlling that energy and how high it rises and on him to try to keep it at that level while he's getting to play and eat and praise and fun interaction from me.

It's going to be fun, though, and he'll be getting out a lot of physical energy, which is good for him (so much mental work lately, can't forget about the physical side of him either).