After months of foundation training of the contact obstacles Jet made her first real dogwalk training yesterday. As an introduction we lowered the dagwalk’s hight as much as we could to make her feel relaxed and confortable while walking (running) on it. Jet was surprisingly eased and self-confident during the practice. It seemed it was the most natural thing for her to run on a 30 cm wide plank in about 60 cm hight.
I was glad and surprised to see this level of ease though I have already observed how agile is Jet, she showed me many times that she is highly aware of her body. On our daily walks in the woods I always take the opportunity to put her into phisically challenging situations (of course with considering her actual age and abilities, keeping safety on the first place). Jumping up on to benches an walk on it, jumping up to tree tunks, running up and down on steep hillside helped to develop her self-confidence, body awareness, strength and balance when moving. Our walking path often leads through narrow bridges over mountain creeks and Jet has never had a hesitation in her mind to go over it, not even when she carried heavy and thick wooden stick in her mouth (she always finds a stick to carry on our walks 🙂 ).
She often makes her “performance” on the bridge – taking me close to heart attack – with stick in her mouth she goes forward but in the middle of the bridge she turns back watching if I am coming or not, or what… Then turns forward again and walks through the bridge when she finds the situation ok. High above the ground, on a bridge that has no handrail (or only on one side) it is not really funny to watch such a thing. At first I was quite worried for my dog but later I realised that moving in the nature is really in her blood. Well, yes, at the end of the day she is a dog, so I should not be surprised about that… Still , she amazes me times to times.
An other good training tool is a fitness ball that I like to use. When the weather is not so good fo a long walk we often play with it at home. Jumping up , standing on it and turning back and forth is a great fun for the dog and it develops her sense of balance in a great deal. The last piece I bought for trianing purposes is a skateboard. My family think I went mad to teach my dog “skateboarding” but the goal is not really that. The skateboard with its rolling and wobbly nature again offers a fantastic opportunity to get Jet used to move on a noisy, unsteady object. Last but not least my lovely dog a bit unsure what to think of kids approaching us with skateboard and roller skates so I needed to find a way to show that there is nothing bad about these things. Is there any better way of getting rid of a fear than jump into the middle of it? That’s how an own skateboard helps 😉
So with all this preparation we had a great time yesterday, I saw a dog eager to run through a dogwalk with a lot of enthusiasm and joy. I love to see that. I know we are on a good way.