What can you and your dog achieve?

By Karen Laker

Like many other agility competitors our dogs have been brought up to love training and competing.

As lockdown eases, we are carefully able to resume weekly training and training days etc. Some COVID friendly competitions have even been run and I’ve done a Summer League with my own customers just to keep up training with an end purpose.

Personally, I have used this down time to also take a look at other dog sports for new challenges.

All the different activities I have researched have one thing in common – awards and/or titles. This is the focus we use to motivate us and give us something to aim for.

So, what about a COVID K9 programme incorporating all the skills our dogs have had to develop recently?

Basic Dog

Aim – to enjoy daily moments of living with your canine.

Evidence:

  • Pictures of dog sleeping,
  • Dog posing for yet another photo
  • Dog being taken for yet another walk with each member of the house as they go outside for a break/ daily exercise.

Lockdown Dog

Aim – to show how adaptable your dog is.

Evidence:

  • Dog settled for several hours in order to watch another box set/classic film.
  • No barking when someone comes to the door as nobody ever comes in,
  • Dog playing with hose whilst you are finding something in the garden shed (which tbh you didn’t even know existed),
  • Dog not bothered by furniture being moved around/decorating etc.

Lockdown Agility Dog

Aim – to show how obsessive we can be.

Evidence:

  • Dog enjoying ‘going back to basics’ on all training as they have time and they will now be able to get it perfect with handler sat down and using verbal commands only.
  • Dogs completing a 20-obstacle course in the garden avoiding the shed (which is now filled with garden agility equipment and actual gardening stuff), the new wildlife pond and bee attracting flower bed and still nailing that weave entry.

Outside the House Dog

Aim – to display any old dogs can learn new tricks.

Evidence:

  • Dog can at last walk on a loose lead (after all no rings to pull to, no exciting training to get to and no room for off lead zoomies), lead is obviously only 2m maximum.
  • Without instruction the dog automatically sits by your side when they see someone new, a new dog, someone on a bike or someone on a horse.

*New Outside the House Dog July 2020 – dog does not freak out when it sees you with a face mask on.

Easing of Lockdown Dog

Aim – no idea frankly as rules get a bit hazy.

Evidence:

  • Dog does not bark once whilst, yet another driver takes a photo of you receiving home improvement/ gardening/ bike accessories deliveries or dog barks continuously for the whole 10 minutes.
  • Dog wags tail furiously from a suitable social distance and does not leap all over their trainer that they had always leapt on since puppy class.
  • Dog can recall off other dogs, bikes and horses most of which have gone back to pre-lockdown activities never to be seen again.

Specialist categories

Good Pub Dog – evidenced by dog relaxing in pub.

Character Pub Dog – evidenced by dog winning over all staff and being given any leftovers.

Think about what great skill/character trait your dog has displayed this year that they should be honoured with.

Whatever your dog would win an award for, there is no doubt that their unfailing companionship is priceless in these times.

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