My dogs are drooling idiots. Have you ever tried training with canned food? Well for the next couple of days I'm supposed to feed my dogs a low residue food as both Lance and Vito have giardia. So I dish out some canned I/D and soon have slobering zombies. It's hard enough to train as I/D is extremely crumbly and doesn't exactly stick to the spoon, plus I have to dish a new little bit out each rep. But the dogs were just stupid! Lance spent more time staring at the spoon in my hand than he did offering behaviors. Even when Lance's turn was over and I was working with Vito, Lance sat as close as he could to me without me yelling. His eyes turned pitiful and he started grunting. At least when it was Vito's turn, Vito offered things like a mad man although he still wasn't thinking.

And this was with low residue food! It's supposed to be extremely bland! I can only imagine the blobs I would have on my hand if I used actual good canned food. It's amazing what your choice of reward can do for your training. Generally I just use their dog food as "treats" at home since they are willing to work for it without shutting down or getting distracted. At class I use a mixture of different soft treats and a few hot dog pieces, although I could probably still use kibble without a problem. I have also been trying to use toys and balls a reward for Vito when I'm outside playing with them. At those moments Vito is a lot more "stupid" with excitement and it's harder for him to focus when he just wants the ball thrown. But now I know how really excited a dog can get :)

At least before I got restricted to the I/D I had a session with both Lance and Vito on the balance ball I got in the mail. I'm hoping that it will help the dogs develop a strong core and work their muscles! Vito is already doing pretty good at sitting, standing, and doing a little "beg" on top of the ball. I've also worked on him backing up to put his hind legs on it. Lance is also doing pretty well, but it is definitely harder for him with his longer body. I would have thought Lance would have had an easier time with his short legs and lower center of gravity, but I guess not!

I also received a cheap 18ft tunnel in the mail that I can fold out and stake down in the yard. The dogs had fun doing their first sequence in the back yard- weave poles (well run through the center channel) to tunnel and then in reverse. At first Vito was apprehensive about going in the new tunnel, but within a short time he was being naughty and trying to go behind Lance at every turn.

Kristi W.  – ( April 30, 2009 at 9:59 PM )  

Murphy has giardia too! Well, at least I think he does. He came back from his dog sitter on Tuesday and had bad diarrhea for much of Wednesday. Poor guy. He even had an accident in the house last night (first one since we've had him. Pretty gross.

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