Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Does Your Dog Love To Do?

I’m talking about the activity your dog truly 100% enjoys, when the silly dog grin never leaves his face. For Caleb, this is backpacking. He was supposed to be my competitive agility dog. We have entered three trials and have been taking classes for two and a half years, but the only part of agility that has done successfully in competition is jumping into ring stewards’ laps. He usually enjoys it, he enjoys the treats, and getting to play, but for him it isn’t the best thing in the world like backpacking. My silly baddog is never as happy as he is when we are backpacking. He pulls on the up hills, stays with me on the occasion he is off leash, is quiet in the car, and is perfectly content taking a nap wherever I tie him. And he loves it.

Someday maybe Caleb will successfully compete at agility, but that isn’t the important part. The important part is that Caleb and I are doing something we both really enjoy! Here’s three ways to know that your dog is enjoying your activities as much as you do.

1. Determine your dogs limitations.
Consider your dogs structure and age, as well as physical and mental limitations. Caleb is a healthy four year old mix, but he has terrible structure. As he has gotten older I have realized that agility probably causes him a little bit of pain. Pain makes it hard to love what he’s doing.  Consider his mental limitations as well. Perhaps your sound sensitive Border Collie that LOVES tennis balls would be great at flyball, but would he be able to enjoy the loud noises of a flyball tournament? Maybe not. You can train through a lot of things but don’t ignore who your dog is, physically and mentally.

2. Observe your dog!
Get in the habit of observing your dog. Watch his body language. Keep an eye out for the little signs, the looking away, lip licks and sniffing that tend to indicate the dog is stressed by the situation. Watch how fast, energetic and focused they are at the start of the activity compared to the end. Compare this to activities you know they love, such as playing fetch or at the dog park.  Lots of dogs slow down not because they are physically tired, but because they are stressed. Stress isn’t always a bad thing, but be aware of it. What is stressing your dog? Why? What can you do to change or prevent unnecessary stress? A dog that is completely focused and never seems to tire is probably enjoying the activity!

3. Try lots of different things.
Don’t just limit yourself to the activities that you find the most exciting! Try them all. Try everything that you can safely try. I always have LOVED agility and found obedience just a tiny bit boring. But when I take Caleb into obedience class he is so enthusiastic and focused that we both have a ton of fun. There are lots of activities to try with your dog, look beyond the obvious ones. Try backpacking, barn hunt, treiball or nosework. Take your dog to camp or on a trip. You’ll never know if you and your dog will like something until you try it, so don’t be afraid to try.

Figure out what your dog loves, and do it with him. Remind yourself that your dog is awesome, even if he is not the competitive superstar that you sometime wish he was. Never give up on your dog!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Camps, Workshops and Classes!

We have been quite busy at Adventure Unleashed, and are very excited to be able offer new adventures for you and your dog!

Our dog parkour class is starting June 30th, at Battelle Riverfront Park in Downtown Columbus. This unique class  allows you to have fun with your dog while exploring and finding unique ways to interact with the city environment. In this class we'll cover safety, object interaction, balance, climbing, jumping and more.  In order to make attending class more convenient for you this will be a flex schedule class. What this means is you pay for six sessions of class, and come when it works best for you!

In addition to the dog parkour class we will have a dog parkour workshop on Saturday July 6th at Battelle Riverfront Park in Downtown Columbus. This workshop will cover the same basic material as the class, but will only meet for one session that is two hours in length.

Adult Dog Camp will be held August 31st- Sept 2nd (Labor Day Weekend) at the Houston's Country Dream Resort near Marietta, Ohio. This event is based off of our original camp, the Ohio 4-H Teen Dog Experience. This camp is not designed to be competitive in nature, but instead has a focus on trying new activities, building a relationship with your dog, having fun, making new friends, and improving teaching and training skills. More details about camp will be available soon, but it is open to adults 18+ that love to try new things with their dog.

Keep an eye out for our fall/ winter teen weekend dog camp. It will be held near Youngstown Ohio and will be open to teens ages 13-18.

We will be presenting two TAGTeach webinars this summer! One will be a TAGTeach Parkour webinar in July, the other is a TAGTeach Dog Camp Webinar in August.

We are always looking for new ideas and suggestions, let us know if you have any!