Prior to this past week, I would have told you that I have a wonderful relationship with my dogs.  I mean my two older dogs are always following me and laying by me in the living room or in the bed.  The puppy also has a desire to constantly interact with me or my husband.  However, this perception for two of the three dogs was challenged. On a day I was feeling overly eager, I decided everyone was going to get a 15-minute training session.  I mean why not the baby is sleeping.

So, I started with the oldest, Audi.  She was right on target, performing all her behaviors and then some offering other random tricks to see what else would get her more food.  She loves the mental stimulation!  This is going great!  I move on the second dog, River.  I started with her hand targets.  We are rockin’ this, I thought.  Let’s try to actually teach a sit by capturing.  Oh no…this is where is started to backfire.  Down…Down…You want a down she kept trying to offer.  So, I reset and am determined to try again.  Now, she has her back to me and is watching everything else going on in the house. I thought, let’s just try some click for focus because all my dogs know click for focus.  Nope…it wasn’t happening.  Alright, let’s not get discouraged I thought.  Tug…We are going to tug and play.  Strike 3!  This isn’t going so well.  Alright, we will try again later. I’ll work with the puppy.  I mean which puppy doesn’t want to train, right?  They are always hungry and wanting to learn.  Getting myself all settled to train with the puppy, Summit, I begin with hand targets.  Alright, doing well!  Name recognition, he is rockin’ it!  Oh, thank goodness, I thought.  Moving on to impulse control, and adding the second layer, since he has been performing 80% or better for the first layer of the game.  Oh, I thought this is a little more difficult.  Alright, no biggie.  I have patience.  Well, puppy decided he didn’t like this game, and now has his back is to me looking at everything else going on in the home.  Oh, no. Didn’t I just experience this.  Let’s try click for focus.  Do you see how things started to repeat themselves? Nope, he doesn’t want to play that game either.  Oh, no…what is happening.  I have never had this issue.  I stop…I mean what else am I to do. The puppy is now rolling all over the floor and trying to lunge for the closest toy or older dog to play with.

As I sit in dismay, I begin to realize a couple of things:

  1. Obviously, I need a better relationship with the puppy, Summit, and some easy wins for him.  At this point in time, he doesn’t understand training.  He wants to play.
  2. While I deeply believe River adores me, she also doesn’t understand formal training.  We have done minimal obedience training with her except for some puppy classes when she was younger.  Other than that, we do recreational training with her such as, Nose Work.  However, we really need her meets and greets to be better and to provide her some more mental stimulation.  She is constantly wanting us to throw a ball.  I mean constantly.  Giving her some formal training sessions can help with her mental stimulation to minimize the obsessive ball behavior.
  3. Our oldest, Audi, loves to train and needs stimulation as well.  Unfortunately, due to her slowly deteriorating eye sight teaching new behaviors is somewhat difficult.  She honestly just needs enrichment where she can be care free.  What is my solution for the situation I find myself in?  The Game On! Relationship through Play course.  I need to go back to the basics.  Have fun with each dog, play, and sprinkle in a little training along the way.  So, as an experienced trainer with two older dogs and a puppy, I realize the Game On! Relationship through Play can also benefit me.

Our Game On! Relationship through Play course, is typically a part of our foundational classes for puppies and dogs.  However, with Covid-19 we are currently offering it for FREE through our online library.  You may sign-up for it via the following link

 Tiffany Anderson, Training Program Coordinator