Mr Poop A Lot  Wyn was wired last night.  6 month old puppy equals wild child on occasion.

I could have put him in his house (crate). I could have tethered him to me and let him get bored enough to settle. I could have taken him for a long run (in the dark and rain – NOT). I suppose I could have ignored him. None of those options worked for me in that moment of time.

We played trained right in the middle of the living room. We worked on go to mat (a skill I had forgotten he had), coming between my legs and sitting (a position I’m determined to start his sports dog activities from),  and flat work (what agility people call shadow handling). This boy? He nailed it all. The white dynamo known as Yen? She had a turn too – she nailed her activities too (a little shadow handling, hand touches and the beginnings of “table” behaviour)

Of course they were rewarded when they made good choices but the really profound thing for me about last night’s session (and the final exam I set up for the play course which you can see if you click on the link) is the way they transitions through whatever  reward happily and without expectation of anything else. Toy? Awesome! Food? Delicious. Personal Play and Touch? Amp up to orbit!  A piece of liver or a scratch on the chest it did not matter at all.  The knowledge and confidence I can see in both of them as they look forward to the game that follows great choices is inspiring. The satisfaction is mutual.

It’s taking my trail mix of treats just one brilliant step further. Sally and I have long used toys and food as rewards but it was rare that I mixed them up in one session. Brody has liked personal play and food – but again we rarely switched between them in the same session.

I feel so liberated! In training circles you hear references to tool boxes. This ability to absolutely wholly choose a  valuable reward from any of the three groups is much more than an item in a toolbox. The power of this choice is a gift. Pure, simple and one not to be forgotten.