Time to do a quick, week-that-was review of our five training goals.
1) Begin each training session with play - Yes, we've been doing a lot more play - as in throwing treats and running. Today, he was really up and attentive. That was in contrast to yesterday when he was really sluggish. I don't know if he was having an off day, or just didn't feel well. I'm getting a little concerned about his age and the accompanying joint problems that giant breed dogs have so I started him on Rimadyl today to see if he seemed more comfortable - especially with the sits. Sometimes he seems really stiff when he gets up from the three-minute sit in Open B. He has been on Dasuquin (a joint supplement) for two or three years.
2) Play tug twice a week - Not making a lot of progress here. He'll mouth it, but still doesn't want to hang on to it.
3) Shorten sessions and/or take more play breaks - We've been doing a lot more breaking out in play while we're training lately. We'll just do short heeling segments and when he's in perfect heel position I'll throw treats. I'll give him the down signal and then throw a treat, or give the down and sit signal, then throw a treat, instead of doing the whole signal exercise. When we go from one exercise to the next, I'll set him up then release and play, then set up again to do the exercise. I have a hard time keeping him with me when we move between exercises so I'm hoping this will help.
4) Try a new treat each week - We're throwing Charlee Bears this week. They're easy to see on the dark floor, they don't take as long to eat - and....they're a lot cheaper than Bil Jac liver treats : ) They seem to be working just as well.
5) Work on one new clicker behavior each week - I was remiss on the clicker training this week. Maybe next week.
Oh, did I mention - we have a trial coming up this weekend. Hope springs eternal : )