Monday, October 10, 2011

Playgrounds are good for training!

Back before I was a parent, I wondered how I'd ever find time to train my dogs.  While it is more challenging now, I'm working on finding creative places to train.  I mentioned that I use soccer matches and practices for socialization and training around distractions.

Lately, I've been bringing Rip with me when I take The Child to the playground.  We started by just heeling around in new areas and working on our self-control (such as it is) when meeting new people.

One day I took my clicker with me and decided to see what I could get Rip to do.  I started by clicker training him up some broad steps on the way to a slide.  He made it up the steps, but seemed a bit nervous once he got up a bit high.  Since he'd put in a good effort we quit for the day.

The next time we went to the playground I took him up the stairs again.  When we got to the top platform he seemed more comfortable, so we did some really basic obedience - things he knows really well -- sit, down, stand.  He succeeded at this, so we quit for the day.

See how cute Rip looks on the small platform?
To get up to this one we had to jump on a couple of stepping-stone sized platforms. 
Good agility practice - body awareness?

On our next trip to the playground, he started to offer to get up on just about everything, so I decided to see how far he'd happily go...

To the top of the slide?  Yep!
This is a really short, low slide.

Even down the slide!
Note the loose leash.
He was a bit apprehensive the first time,
but happily jumped back up to try again.

Then I sat on the end of the slide and worked on some 
up-close-and-personal recalls.
I love working with this dog!

Some other playground training we've tried -- recalls with me "hiding," balancing on the boards or curbs that keep the mulch in, and jumping over low logs or beams.  I find it fun to think of new things, and playground training helps me wear out The Child and Rip at the same time!

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