If you’re new to this blog, you should know that I’m in the midst of a massive road trip with my German Shepherd Dog, Milo. So far this month we’ve put on about 2 000 km.
At times, Milo can be like the Energizer Bunny on Speed, so it is surprising how good he is on these long rides. He’ll whine with excitement if he thinks we’re going swimming, but other than that he settles down pretty quickly for a nap. Every hour and a half or so I pull over, give him a bathroom break, a drink, a quick walk or a game of tug, and off we go again.
It occurred to me that I was missing some pretty good training opportunities with these breaks. After an hour in the truck Milo is a little bored, a little lonely, and super drivey–why not make use of that?
So, breaks are now mini-training sessions. They look like this:
I pull over, pop on his leash, and let him have a quick sniff and a pee. Then, right away, we do a bit of focused heeling and he gets a mighty game of tug. Then we do just a couple of other things–only for about five minutes–with lots of reward play. Once we are both out of breath, I give him a drink, pop him back in his kennel, and we drive for another 150 kms.
Milo seems just as happy after these mini-training breaks as he is after our non-working breaks, maybe happier since he gets to think and I spend the break time paying close attention to him.
Do you see any pluses or minuses with using these breaks for training? Any suggestions?
Very interesting. I think it sounds like a great idea! Enriching for Milo and fun for both of you
Thank you! I have recently strayed from my efforts to be systematic about his training, and this feels like a step in the right direction for this trip at least.
I think if you are able to engage him using those distractions in your training can be helpful. Read your dog and know when you are able to give it 100%.
I think it’s a great idea.
Missing you guys! Hope your having a great time!
Thanks for thinking about this.