Ronni and I had a short but productive training session this evening. We were refreshing some trick dog moves and doing some easy pedestal work. When you are a looong dog, it’s even more important to have good rear-end awareness.
To that end; I had an empty box (thank you Amazon!) just the right size for Rhonda to fit inside – but only JUST. And being a freshly opened box, the flaps were stiff and stuck out on all sides. The challenge would be to jump into the box, clearing the flaps with all four feet and landing in the middle of the open box rather than half in and half out.
I told her “Jump in!”. Rhonda eyed the box from all sides, but when she placed a testing paw on the box flap, it gave way and her paw slipped. Her head cocked and she backed off and approached from a new angle. Same result. Hmm …
I tapped the center of the open box with my finger and repeated, “Jump in!”. She had first learned this trick over a year ago, and we haven’t really practiced it since then, but I didn’t think it was all that difficult for a brave, agile little Dachshund. SHE obviously thought I was wrong in that assumption.
I offered a kibble treat in the box – now she was seriously motivated, but still not confident she could safely make the jump. She circled the box, pawed and pushed it, but didn’t commit.
I decided she was being silly and decided “one picture was better than a thousand words”. A role model was needed here.
“Come here, Baxter!”, I called. The boy jumped off the sofa and trotted over, always up for a treat. I pointed at the box on the floor and told him, “Jump in!” Baxter promptly popped into the box, nimbly clearing the flaps and landing right in the center with all four feet and finishing smartly with a Sit Pretty. I tossed him the kibble. Well done!
We both glanced over at Rhonda. She had the good grace to look slightly abashed (well, that might’ve been in my mind, but I could’ve sworn …). I asked Baxter to “Jump out” and gave him another treat before turning back to Ronni.
The light dawned in her eyes and the knowledge that Baxter had gotten TREATS that should have been hers spurred her into action. If HE could do it, obviously she could do it! Not thinking any further, Ronni pounced on the box like a fox, landing with precision right in the center, fears totally forgotten. Feed me!! Sheesh!
Rhonda can be such a food-hound! Still – lesson learned. I had her jump in and out several more times for good measure. 😉 Silly dog.