It’s time for our blog post on our second K9 camp challenge, which was to play with balls in some way to improve your dog’s fitness. Guinness is ball crazy, so this was easy. Again, I wanted to try something a bit different, something other than tossing a tennis ball down the back yard for him to chase.
So, I thought we’d start training in Treibball, which is a dog sport using big gym balls. Guinness is an Australian Working Kelpie, so he is instinctively a herding dog. I figured since I’m not allowed to have sheep (eh, husband!), then he could learn to herd a ball. It doesn’t smell the same, and it doesn’t leave those yummy little pellets on the ground, but he can still chase it.
Keeping in mind that the point of the exercise was to get some exercise rather than get a perfectly trained treibball dog, I made a start. The first thing was to use the clicker to get Guinness to nose the ball. He’d do anything for a liver treat, and it wasn’t long before he was occasionally offering the behaviour. Look at that tongue!
He wasn’t hitting the ball hard enough yet to move it, so I helped with my foot. As we both became more enthusiastic about moving the ball, I started to kick it harder and harder. It wasn’t long before we were both hooning down the back yard after the rolling gym ball.
If you read the treibball websites, this wasn’t the best way to teach Guinness to herd a ball. But, it sure was a fun way to get him (and me) running up and down chasing a big yellow ball.
Another fun alternative would be a soccer ball but I think being such a tall dog, the gym ball was closer to Guinness’s nose level and perhaps easier for him to push. He wouldn’t have to bend down as much.
It was a fun week playing with our balls, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the next challenge has in store for us.
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