The value of planned training sessions can not be underestimated. But these are rarely my favorite training sessions.
My favorite sessions are the ones like tonight with Magnus. He went to my human class with me for an hour and half. Even that’s some good training. Tonight I used a piece of paper for him to park it on since I didn’t take a mat. He has to greet people without jumping. He has to be quiet and settle while I listen. He gets plenty of leave it practice since there are usually drinks and purses and what not on the floor by people’s chairs. All in all it’s good practice, but no fun for him at all.
Since he was such a good boy and it was too dark to be safe for a walk we went to our little park. We ducked into the park to play fetch and have a quick run, but it turned into a great training session!
We’ve been working on his stays. He’s doing really well, but we still don’t have much duration. We’ve worked more on distance since he needs to have a 20′ stay for the CGC. The stay was pretty much the last thing we needed to get solid and now I think we’re pretty much ready to test the CGC.
I keep getting off the subject. . . back to tonight. We were just playing fetch and goofing off, but I thought I’d see if I could proof his stay with a toy. He does a really good job of sitting and waiting before I throw his toy, so I started really easy with putting him on a sit-stay and set the toy right in front of him then released him with an “okay, get it!” He broke the first time, but after that we kept working the duration of how long he sat and how far and enthusiastically I tossed it. By the time we left he was doing really well.
It’s not like that’s all that impressive, but it reminded me how much I love our impromptu and real life lessons. I tend to get bogged down in the details and neither of us has as much fun. When I keep it light and playful he really does better. He’s always needed shorter sessions than Maizey and tonight reminded me of how much he needs to play to stay in the game.
Granted I’m not looking for obedience level precision, but I still think I have pretty high standards. I get a lot better work out of him when he doesn’t think we’re working. Plus we both just have a lot more fun!
So what about you? What kind of training do you find best for you and your 4legged friend? Do you use more formal sessions or do you enjoy informal training?
For me tonight’s 4legged lesson is: Keep it fun! Training happens all the time and for my boy the more fun the more learning he does. It’s a lesson I suspect applies to all of us!