Check It Out!

by Debi Carpadus

Do you have a dog that shies away from the tricycle in a front yard or a basketball hoop in the street when going for a walk? Does your dog not like the hat you wear? Does your dog bark at the vacuum cleaner?

Well, if this sounds like a problem in your house, let me tell you how to “play” it gone!

While going through obedience class with my then 7-month-old female, I learned a very valuable game. It’s called CHECK IT OUT and it works like this:

Let’s take the dog that shies away from the basketball hoop at the end of your neighbor’s driveway.

First, carry a pocket full of treats you know your dog will eat. VERY SMALL BITES; you aren’t feeding him lunch! Put a treat on the base of the basketball hoop.Then slowly walk up to the hoop, praising your dog the whole way. If you can’t get your dog to even approach the hoop, then treat/praise at every step towards the hoop. (Don’t treat/praise if your dog retreats.) Once you get the dog to the hoop tap the base where you placed the treat and tell him to “check it out”, praising as he sniffs and eats the treat. Place another treat on the base and continue the process all the way around the base telling your dog to “check it out” all the way around. Then continue on your walk.

Over the next several days of walking, do the same thing with the basketball hoop you did on the first day until your dog will approach the hoop with no treat rewards, just your praise.

I use this “check it out” all the time with my dogs. If they seem interested but unsure of something, I encourage them to “check it out” and tell them they are so good when they move towards the object.

Remember to move slowly: your Pyr may not be comfortable with whatever the object is for several sessions. And remember to treat/praise for forward motion and interest. You want to reward the process … not just the end result.

Good luck and HAVE FUN!

January 2004