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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Training Time - R joins in!

Every morning, after our mountain bike ride, Shyla and I do some training outside the house. Right now, we're working on several new things. One is "zoom", which means that she zips in a circle around me. The reason for teaching her this is to help her when we get "cornered" by scary things in town.

For example, a few weeks ago, we were walking along a narrow sidewalk with buildings on one side and traffic on the other. Lo and behold, a mother with a huge stroller and three toddlers teeming around her approached from the other direction. That screaming horde and stroller was plenty to put Shyla "over-threshold" into the terrified zone but there was more... The mother suddenly stopped and took a toddler's bicycle out of the back of the stroller. One of the kids hopped on the bike to ride along side the horde. That was the "icing on the cake" and would usually be enough to paralyze Shyla with fear. Moreover, we had no escape route, aside from standing on the very edge of the sidewalk to let them pass. Shyla was scared, without a doubt, but she survived by hiding behind me until they were far past us.

My trainer and I have noticed that Shyla does much better with scary things when she can keep moving. So, my trainer is having me teach Shyla to zip in a circle around me, so that it's a movement-oriented task that she can do when we get "cornered" like on the sidewalk that day. Shyla has already learned it really well. I call it "zoom", and she does it with gusto. I am excited to see if it helps her in scary situations.

During the our training time right after our bike ride, we also work on silly tricks. In the photo below, Shyla had just "rolled over", a new trick for her. Look at that intensity in her eyes!
We started this daily training routine when Shyla first arrived here, and I thought that R, who was usually napping inside the house, recovering from his run and breakfast, didn't even notice us. Then, I looked up toward the house windows while we were training a few weeks ago, and I saw R peering at us. I started wondering if he wished that he could have special training time too.

My motivation to start bringing him out to "the training area" was heightened when our vet asked me to teach him to do a "low five" and a "high five" as rehabilitation for the elbow that had dysplasia surgery when he was pup. That elbow has started flaring up more frequently in the past year, and apparently doing high fives will help keep his range of motion and strengthen the small muscles that stabilize the elbow.

R isn't ready yet to show off a high five or wave for the camera (but he's learning fast). However, we also do some silly training, and he's a superstar at "rolling over". He demonstrated today.

Here are his instructions.

You throw yourself on the ground and start to twist.
You propel yourself onto your back while sticking your legs up in the air.
You roll onto your other side while trying to find KB with your eyes.
Then, for some reason, you sprint straight at the photographer!
I feel a bit guilty that I didn't realize how much R wanted me to spend training time with him until now. Part of why I didn't start taking him to the "training area" previously was that R has an obsession with a bunny rabbit who hangs out near it, and I visualized him obsessing over the rabbit rather than paying attention to me. In fact, he doesn't even look for the rabbit because he's so thrilled to play training games!

I get his message loud and clear!


  1. Wonderful! They both look happy and loving the time training with you. Besides they are both gorgeous!
    Barb for Ernie and the other furkids

  2. Aw! He wants his special time too, how cute!

  3. R looks like he's having the time of his life!!

  4. Oh how my MOM wishes I would learn the roll over. For years she has tried to teach me, but alas I just don't seem to be able to do it. Oh sure on my own I love to roll in the grass, but ask me to roll over, and nope.

  5. Think of how fun it will be to see Shyla and R high five each other!

    A beautiful pair of pups!

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  6. Oh yay!! You know that I am grinning from ear to ear over this post!! So happy the roll over twins are having a ball!!!!

  7. Training. Would be happy here if the word 'no' was understood !

  8. The focus in Shyla's eyes is just wonderful!

    And how delightful that R is now in "training mode"!

  9. You are such a goofy fun boy, R!
    We hope that zoom helps you out a lot, Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  10. R is doing a great job with the roll over instructions. We of course love Shyla's photo, too. We always enjoy seeing them enjoy playtime together.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Max, Wai-Pai & Forgie

  11. R looks like he is having so much fun and you capture his enthusiasm so well. Lightning is afraid of bikes and strollers and scooters and on and on. But he is such a strange boy - he has no fear whatsoever of the neighbor's lawnmower or weedeater and charges at them like they were some great tasty treat. He is a mystery.

  12. Wow you guys are talented! I love to rollover! So much mom has been try to teach me DropIt (with no luck w/o treat) and the fun part after is rolling over. She is trying to teach me Shake but I don't get that one. Zoom sure sounds like fun!

  13. The perseverance that you and the pups display certainly shows in these shots. I love how quickly Shyla has learned and how much R wanted to be a part of the training too. I hope you are not getting covered in snow today; it is so windy here. Hope you have a day filled with smiles.
    Hugs, Noreen

  14. Way to go, R!
    Rockin' & rollin' dogs are a joy. Fun to learn of your training and reasons for teaching zoom!

  15. R is a great playdog I Think. Of course he must train.
    I have to train Vilja a lot. She is unsecure, she barks a lot. She can sit outside and bark on nothing

  16. You show the what you have R. Good job
    Benny & Lily

  17. R has a snazzy roll over! I wish he would teach Elka; alas, I have not been able to. Granted, I haven't WORKED at it, but 1. she isn't really comfortable on her back/on her side, and especially not on a regular surface and 2. I kidn of gave up after the first couple of tries. The normal "lead with a treat" doesn't much work with a neck as long as hers!

    That picture of Shyla is fabulous!

  18. Yeaaa for R- He wants to be a star too!

  19. We love R's instructions! We'll be sure to remember how to roll over now! Thanks, R!

  20. Great photos! I especially love the last one of R sprinting towards you!

    Susan and Wrigs

  21. How funny that R felt like he was missing out on the action! I love the zoom idea; I hope it successfully helps Shyla in those scary situations.


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