The theme for this month’s Positive Pet Training hop is “indoor activities and games”. The dogs and I have already had a preview of being stuck indoors lately, since it’s been raining almost every day for the last week or more. Luke is already showing his signs of being bored with being stuck indoors – whining in the evening at me! I like to think we’ll continue to get outside in the winter, and we’ll try, but when it starts to get bitter cold or we’re in the middle of a big snowstorm, we don’t have much choice.
One thing we’ll be doing a lot of this winter, especially with Luke, is training. There is no shortage of things to work on when you have a reactive and fearful dog! We already are starting on a few things: crate training, muzzle training, and one more enjoyable thing for him is learning to ring bells to go outside.
We haven’t formally worked on the bells yet, but sometimes I have Luke touch them before going outside to start to give him the idea. We received this nice set of Potty Bells from Caldwell’s Pet Supply free of charge. We’ll share more about all of these things as we get more successful with them.
Currently, our focus is the muzzle training, because Luke is overdue to go to the vet for his yearly exam, and the muzzle is unfortunately necessary for that. Mostly we’ll just be talking to the vet anyway, because chances are Luke isn’t going to let her anywhere near him. I’m dreading going, but we must do it. He’s coming along well with the muzzle, but like everything else it’s a slow process! It has to be in order to succeed.
Crate training is coming along fine too, while also slow. Currently, I’m just letting him do what he wants with the crate and that is working. As I write this, he is lying in the crate behind me, though it’s still partially open. My hope is to have him comfortable being closed in there by Christmas time when we will have company.
Winter can’t be all about work though! We will continue to do nose work training (despite the name, nose “work” is more fun than work!), and after the holidays I may sign up for the second class at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy (or we might do a reactive dog class first). I’ve been doing nose work with Cricket too and she is also coming along! She doesn’t focus quite as well as Luke though so I don’t want to distract her with the camera just yet.
We finally got around to doing Luke’s first “Mock ORT (Odor Recognition Test)” in our garage. We got the Dadz to do a secret hide in a box for us. The first time didn’t go very well. Luke was very distracted; I think because it was the first time we’d had Dadz there observing. We hadn’t spent a lot of time in the garage either, so we practiced more out there before trying again.
The second time he aced it! He was just a little distracted initially but then got right to work. Over the winter we’ll mostly do fun hides in the house. I have the little magnetic containers so I can hide them on various metal objects in a room. Cricket is still working with just containers at this point, so we have lots left to work on with her.
One of the joys of having senior pets is that they don’t act out if not entertained. However, we still can’t forget Sheba! Sheba is not much for training, but she loves to play with toys so we have a lot of those around the house, and I try to find cheap ones so she can just destroy them which is what she enjoys. She and Luke often play together in the evening, fighting over the toys. Cricket also loves toy play and just the other afternoon, she was running up and down the hall with a toy when Dadz got home from work. That’s pretty good for an old lady with arthritis!
We’re still hoping for a reasonable winter weather-wise, with lots of snow and no rain or ice! It’s our preference to be able to get outdoors, and with enough snow we have lots of woods to explore on snowshoes. Either way, we’ll be out walking in the woods and playing in the yard. Once hunting season is over and the ticks have gone to bed it will be even better, but we’ve already been out exploring more of our woods in between rain showers.
What are your plans for winter when stuck indoors with your dog(s)? Will you be doing any training?
Thank you to our blog hop hosts Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. This hop begins on the first Monday of every month and runs all week long. Please visit other blogs through the links below for more indoor entertainment and other training ideas!