Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pet Therapy visit .... and training session

Today was Jackson's day to visit his friends at the care center. He is certified with Therapy Dog International (TDI) and we go twice a month to visit residents. He is great with the residents, especially one-on-one. It's been a super good experience for him also, helping to build his confidence because he does have to work through some situations that stress him - noisy vacuuming equip., lots of carts moving to and from, etc.

Today we practiced signals in the lounge with residents as his audience/distraction. He did really well, although he was a little worried. The residents want to help him practice for the upcoming trials, so next time we are going to do articles for them.

After a couple hours of down time, we went out to the club for a short training session. Practiced heeling - mostly onlead. Worked on heeling up to the gates and on turns. He sometimes lags a little coming out of the about turns at the gate and the right turns. I threw treats periodically coming out of the turns to speed him up, which helps. Today I set out a couple cones and did some figure 8s. He had really good drive on the figure 8 outside turns. Hmmm...maybe I should do more of that to build that muscle memory.

When I set out the articles today, I put them up against the high jump to prevent him from circling the pile. He appeared to be somewhat stressed that he couldn't circle the pile, but did go to work and retrieve the correct articles. If I continue placing the articles against a barrier, maybe he will develop the habit of just going into the pile to search, instead of circling it. Worth a try.

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