Here at intelligent k9 we hold a group class once a month for our dog owners who have already been through our main program. Today we had two brave souls come out, despite the snowy weather, to practice with their dog and enhance their skills. The main theme at class was the “send away”, a very useful skill that can be practically applied to daily life as well as showing off your skills to your friends.
What’s a “send away”? It’s the ability to send your dog away from you to a target and do a task. Widely used in dog sport and applied in a variety of ways, but for the family companion, it’s useful so that you don’t have to continue to “hold your dog’s” hand to do an everyday basic skill.
Uh oh, the doorbell rings, we tell our dog to go to their place while we head to answer the door. This is a very natural way to handle the situation. But what we commonly see is the struggle to take the dog to the place, then beg them to stay there while we attempt to walk away from them toward the door only to have to go back and keep fixing the dog’s mistake. The failed attempts continue and by the time we get to the door, our emotions are telling us we are frustrated; and feeling frustrated is no way to greet friends and family when they come over. But wait, the situation continues to unfold when we let our guests come in to the excitement of a jumping dog. Of course, we then apologize for our dog’s behavior but the feelings of guilt, anxiety, and frustration still set in.
Guys! This is no way to live! I know, I’ve been there. Long ago, I had a massive jumping Great Dane who would create a bunch of chaos whenever someone came through the front door. Then she’d dash out for a victory lap around the neighborhood, an all too common occurrence.
Here’s another situation. The doorbell rings, your dog will probably react, but you then “send” your dog to his spot to relax while you head the other way to answer the door. Your guests come in and can’t help but to notice there isn’t an crazy excited dog greeting them, but in stead, he’s over there across the room laying down relaxing because that’s what you said. Your guests then comment with: “how did you do that? How did you get your dog to stay over there?”
Keep in mind the send away is one skill, to stay put during the typical exciting distractions is another. This is all encompassed in the lifestyle we live and how we incorporate our dog into it so that we have an easy more enjoyable time without the stress.
More to come. Stay tuned…