Push, Push, Push! | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Push, Push, Push!

Today, I wanted to take the ball pushing to another level and put a goal to it. This would be doing the behavior like a job and something that has to be done to finish the job.

The ball wasn't his soccer ball. I tried that, but it was much too small for this. His head had to go to low to actually push the ball instead of just tapping the top of the ball. So that was out. That left it to the big blue exercise ball. That one is probably too big, but, hey, he had to deal with it.

Initially, he thought this was just the ball pushing "game" where he could push the ball once and get rewarded. Once he found out that wasn't it, he turned less happy.

I kept up with it, he had to keep pushing the ball. That was the one of the hardest parts for him to understand. He had to push it. With me telling him multiple times, he thought he was getting it wrong. He started even shaking, but he would keep taking treats so he wasn't stressed out that bad. As such, I ignored the shaking and all that and kept him working.

Then I opened the patio door and made that the goal. He had to push the ball out of the door. This is the other part he had a hard time understanding. The goal was to get the ball out of the door, but he just thought about trying to push it when I said "push".

As such, I started directing him to try to give him the best chance to push the ball in the right direction. This helped quite a bit, but also threw in another instruction for him to keep track and be aware of. This really worked him both physically and mentally. I also wanted him to move quickly and keep going.

He did manage to do so, and we repeated the exercise several times. He seemed to get better at it, and at the least pushed the ball harder.

After that, we went outside and pushed the ball around out there too. On the grass, he had to push it harder to get it moving, so I went easier on him. Still, he had to move the ball, and push it multiple times. I also had him push the ball back inside the backyard gate before we went for a walk right after.

All in all, it was a pretty exhausting day for him. From the mental and physical demands of doing the "work" and then going for a long walk. He had a lot in his day and now he's crashed out for some well-deserved rest.