I gather some people find my list somewhat overwhelming and think that I must be spending my entire life training Rush.
Yes, I want to have the perfect agility puppy; yes, I’m obsessed… BUT a lot of that list is really a reminder to do all those things that make a huge difference later.
The first third of the list is socialization; I take the dog everywhere I go for six weeks and that gives excellent socialization. Rush has been so many different places now that he takes everything in stride, which makes it even easier to take him more different places.
Another big chunk of the list is handling and grooming stuff. I do most of that in the evening, when I’m watching TV. I have the brush out and I brush him a little; I hold his muzzle and give him treats. I run the clipper while he’s eating dinner. Yes, I keep a bag of his kibble in my pocket so I can feed him a treat whenever he’s good.
The hardest part of the list is the stuff requiring active training. I try to get to that first thing in the morning, when he’s fresh and rested. He loves working for his breakfast and I’m thrilled to have worked on five or six things from the list, like Reinforcement Zone (walking and giving him treats when he’s right in the sweet spot at my side), sit, go get the ball, come here and tug with me… When we’re both at a loss, I let him play on the Bosu ball. He loves that, it gives him really good exercise, and I can stand still to do it.
Finally, just before Jay leaves for work, most days, we play the Come Game with Rush. We started just a few feet apart, inside. We’ve gradually moved, and now we’re fifty feet apart and running to hide while his back is turned. He loves the game, and it only takes a few minutes. His recall is pretty amazing.