Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mud everywhere! A life reward for Knightley

10 months 2 weeks old

For being such a good boy yesterday Knightley had a treat today - what trainers call a 'life reward'. We went to a dog park we had never been to before, which is rather different to our usual one. It has separate small dog/large dog areas, and a muddy little stream running through both fenced in areas. It also has a bunch of pine trees and lots more to explore - simply lots of interest.

Sitting down in a massive pool of mud. He ended up being a
black faced, black legged dog. He certainly didn't look like his
normal beautiful cream colour!! And I only washed him earlier
this week!!!
He had some fun playing with the other dogs, running around exploring at first... and then he started discovering the mud. Oh dear. Really really oh dear. At first it was just the paws, but when two labs eventually joined him they started running back and forward along the muddy little stream getting absolutely disgusting. The final 'nail in the coffin' came when he started digging in a deep pool of slick mud, dipping his face right into the mud.... and then sat right down in it. Everyone watching just groaned. Hubby was in two minds of being horrified and finding it funny.

Digging in the mud. He was so so so very happy and pleased
with himself. He really deserved today. You can't even see his
head because it is so black with mud!
For me it was just great seeing him so carefree and having so much fun. I really didn't care that he was getting so dirty - although it just wouldn't have been possible before our new car. Although in the future we will be prepared for this dog park by bringing water and towels.... we didn't realise it came equipped with mud baths!! Anyway, he raced back and forward with the labs, getting more and more mucky and I thought sooner or later he would lie down in the mud. So we decided to leash him up and leave. But he was just too dirty to go in the car, so we walked the short distance down to the big central (and unfortunately very polluted) lake here in Canberra and Knightley had a quick dip to get the worst of the mud off. Then as soon as we got  home it was time for his second bath this week. I had heard that Golden Retrievers are drawn to mud like flies to honey but this was the first time that Knightley had access to real honest to goodness sticky gluggy mud - and he absolutely adored his time. He was still galloping round when we decided to go - I think he would have kept on going for ages.

His other muddy playfellow. Unfortunately Knightley with the
long fur got a much worse dose of mud..... or fortunately if
you asked Knightley!
I believe it is very important for dogs that are getting a lot of training, especially in public access training in high stress situations like supermarkets which Knightley had yesterday, that they have ample time to relax and just enjoy themselves. Dogs are dogs after all! If dogs do dream, which judging by the funny noises Knightley makes while he is sleeping he certainly does, he'll be dreaming about his wonderful day tonight. I also found a four leaf clover while I was there, so it was a good outing all round. Hopefully I will indeed get good luck!

A couple of days ago I received some top quality grain free, single meat ingredient kibble in the post. I plan to use it only for treats and in the Manners Minder, and Knightley actually loves it. So that's really great. I will minimise its use as much as possible but it's nice to know there is something there if I don't have time or the opportunity to cut up some raw meat. We've been working on his retrieve some more as it has become a little sloppy - sometimes when he picks up things for me he won't walk all the way towards me to put it in my hand, or he won't lift it right up to my hand level. It's going nicely in the training sessions though. I'm trying to keep our sessions short and upbeat so raise his enthusiasm level, especially with his recall, which has never been his most enthusiastic behaviour unfortunately. I'm also planning to start working on different types of retrieves - with his lips on delicate objects. His retrieve is one of his most important tasks for me so I want to train it well. Another thing I really want to work on is his mat behaviour. Specifically on the mat beside me while I am on my desktop computer. I want to look for a really portable mat to buy - one that would be easy enough to roll up and take with me to various places. He certainly knows what "on your mat!" means, but I want to extend his time on the mat from a minute or two to half an hour and more.

Anyway, all is going well.

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