Drills, drills, drills - athletes do 'em, soldier's do 'em, emergency teams do 'em, kids in school learning math do 'em too. And as a freshman barn-crew dog-handler, I've learned that yes, barn dogs need to do 'em too.
It's fun working with the pooches on new skills, watching them learn how to do nose work, touch, shaping, flirt pole work, walking a treadmill - the list goes on. But I've learned that unless the barn dogs keep practicing those basics so that they react without a second thought, they get - well rusty, even a bit sloppy. Yes, it's true. So, along with the fun stuff, its time for the barn pooches to get back to regular basics drills.
Exiting a door? Sit-stay, look, down-stay
Entering a door? Sit-stay, look, down-stay
Want a toy? Sit-stay, look, down-stay
Ready to play? Sit-stay, look, down-stay
Going for a walk? Sit-stay, look, down-stay
Ready for dinner? Sit-stay, look, down-stay etc. etc. etc.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. The drills are brain training so that eventually, no matter what distraction presents itself, the dogs automatically react to commands without even thinking. All part of the work to prepare the pooches for life with a forever family.
Here they are practicing down-stay. First up, the visiting Teddles.
Great form Teddles - your mom's done a great job with you!
And now sweet Jondi.
OK - a bit sloppy there Jondi.
All the way down please.
Try it again.
Ahhh, nice looooong down-stay.
And finally, our other resident red-head Star; learns new things in a snap, but loooong down-stays are her Achilles heel.
Staying down IS tough but keep working on it, and you'll find it easier and easier.