Training at 6 AM

Rush is absolutely at his best at 6 AM, right after he gets up and has his morning pee and poop. He’s perky, alert, hungry, and just dying to earn his breakfast. This morning I gave the girls their morning snack, gave Rush a few pieces of kibble in a bowl at the same time (he ran right into his ex-pen when he saw me getting the girls’ breakfast), and then put the girls back in the bedroom with Jay while I worked with Rush.

We started out with working on pivoting around an upside-down bowl–both front paws on the top, standing, and rotating by moving the back feet. He’s starting to get really good at that! We moved from there to the upside-down Bosu ball and not coming off until I say “okay!” which means “come to me for your treat!”; we practiced that with the right-side-up Bosu too (he now thinks it’s ridiculous easy to balance on the ball when it’s right-side-up).

We walked down to the lower yard and played down there. There’s a spot of loose dirt on the side of the hill and he had great fun pouncing on the dirt at the top and then sliding down the hill. He did that over and over. We played “Chase Me!” and then rewarded in the Reinforcement Zone* on both sides. We played throw-the-tug with a dish towel and he brought it back to me to play tug (from five feet away) six times before I put it away. He tugs with great vigor and ferociousness!

We moved back up to the patio and I played Throw-the-treat/Come! with him. I could throw the treat ten feet and he’d rush off after it, then whirl around to come to me (and be rewarded in the RZ) as soon as I called. Then I let Dancer join us, and rewarded them both in turn for their Bosu ball behaviors; Dancer puts her rear feet on it and pivots on her back feet; Rush sits on it. They were trying to be on the ball at the same time in the determination to play the game with me. That was fun.

After all that, Rush was still relaxed and eager to work, so I put him on the grooming table and worked on clicking-and-treating for letting me pick up his feet, one at a time, and look in his ears, and check under his tail, and all that. I didn’t have a clipper or Dremel, though. That’s tomorrow, when Jay can help me. As it was, I had the clicker under my foot so I had both hands free. That’s a challenge!

Rush worked with me for half an hour! Amazing puppy!

*Reinforcement Zone (RZ): the sweet spot at your side where your hand falls if you’re walking normally and your dog is walking next to you.