My own voice sounds pretty loud in the quiet of the icy field, and I’m pretty certain that the teachers in the school playground next door think I’m a bit strange, but I don’t care, because I have two dogs who are off lead and 100% focused on me and there isn’t a tennis ball in sight.
Why is this important?
Well, my boys have something of a variable relationship with recall – they are both mighty, mighty hunters and the training that works so well in the classroom and in the garden can wobble when it’s faced with the amazingly alluring smells of cat, or bunny, or squirrel, or deer, or…well, you get my point.
Tennis balls are our safety net, because Brian loves tennis balls.
But between moving house and Christmas and everything else the new year has brought, we’ve started relying on tennis balls too much. The problem with that is that when the squeaky is available, Brian doesn’t really care about me (so there’s always the risk he’ll just bog off with the ball, and take his brother with him!).
So, we’re back to using a whole range of other strategies to make sure that Brian and Seamus want to remember we’re walking together, rather than taking the first opportunity to disappear into the distance.
Check-ins and parkour and chasey games and tuggy toys and cheese trees are back to being staples of our walks and we’re already seeing the difference.
More importantly, our walks are already back to being more fun for me, and when I’m having fun, it’s much easier for the boys to have fun as well.
And isn’t that the entire point?
Wishing you happy, excited and engaged walks!
Laura and the troublesome twosome.
P.S. Need help to get your training back on track after the chaos of Christmas? We have spaces coming up on our three week intensive courses for recall, nice lead walking and manners to give you a real push in building those skills!
P.P.S. If you haven’t yet introduced your dog to the joys of cheese trees, why not come along to one of our Introduction to Scentwork sessions – I promise your dog will thank you!
And don't forget, if your dog already graduated from Sniffing School Level 1, you're eligible for any of these advanced modules!