Ray’s Summer School!

Ray is two lessons into a four lesson Summer School program, where the focus is on play during times when outside is not practical. His activities to date have focused on three areas. Scenting, touching, and picking up!

How’s our boy doing? Well he seems to be everybody’s favorite, because of his chill out position with his front paws crossed. He settled in really well, partly because whereas three other dogs were enrolled, only two showed up and they were both a lot younger than Ray. It also helped that he remembered the trainer from his B.A.T. program.

The scenting was fascinating to watch as he had to pick a correct container (food inside) out of three, and those three changed position regularly. He also needed to not attack the containers! The latter expectation was going to be a potential challenge… and it was, but he’s getting there!

We had to reduce him to two containers to get him started, and at first we thought he was doing so well. When we thought about it a bit more, we realized that he was simply meeting the 50/50 expectations of getting it right. He was guessing! He did eventually catch on to the routine, by us giving him closed hands to choose from. If he picked correctly he got a treat**. We then told him to sit, and then he got the treat. It was not long before he would go directly to the “treat” fist, and then go into a sit…. and wait!

His homework is to get him up to speed with five containers!

His touching is pretty good, but we have always encouraged that, and picking up an object is not real problem. However Ray, in his own special way, will control the games. If the incentives are not to his liking, then he will not cooperate. If the treats are of borderline interest, but there is distraction in the room, then forget the game!

Given Ray’s obvious aversion to hot and humid conditions, and given the chemicals used on the sidewalks over a winter period, having some way of tiring him under those conditions is invaluable.

** clicker was used throughout.

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52 thoughts on “Ray’s Summer School!

  1. WOW, Ray. That sounds like a fun game I need to teach Mom. We play indoor fetch with my toys – and sometimes Mom throws them so that they land in places where I have to really hunt to find them, but there are no TREATS involved. I think I’d like the treat game even better.
    Woof! TINK

    Mom says: Thanks for your great comment about fireworks and dogs on my July calendar, Colin. I’ve moved it up into the article. xx, mgh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lena chases the laser for her exercise, but she is so old that she will sit down and wheeze (We both have crummy lungs) and I have to put it away. It does prevent her from getting the zips and racing up and down the hall at 2:00 am! Most nights, although she is a nocturnal animal, she sleeps through the night, and if we should “disturb” her to go to the bathroom ourselves, she lets us have it with the most annoying yowls and meows possible. When 6:00 am rolls around, it’s kitty alarm clock time, which is fine during the school semesters since we have classes at 8:00 am, but there’s no sleeping in during the summers off either. When it’s bedtime for HER, she comes in and puts herself to bed, expecting us to put up our books or turn off the TV to accommodate her. She rules the roost and since this is HER house and she lets us live her, we usually obey Queen Lena’s wishes. She is sixteen, after all.

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  3. My oldest daughter, Heidi, has a rescue dog too. Harley is a Black Lab/German Shepherd mix.They live with me in Rhode Island now, but she adopted Harley while living in Maine. Harley had been physically abused by her former owner/owners and had many defensive behaviors. It has taken the best part of 5 of the 7 years of being together for Harley to become the dog she was meant to be. Harley went to a training facility here and still needs refresher courses from time to time on an “outdog” basis. I follow Ray’s stories with great interest, partly because of Harley, but mostly because they are enjoyable. Thank-you Colin and Ray too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Ellen – I can imagine a rescued Shepherd/Lab mix being a sweetheart once it accepted you guys, and felt accepted by you. Shepherds are very independent, protective, and really like their “space”… as are Rottis, so we have a double dose with Ray! Heidi might enjoy reading my book covering the first 18 months of living with him. She will probably be able to relate more so than many other readers, and may even get some ideas which might be useful re Harley. All profits from the book are going to the Humane society that rescued our beloved Ray.

      Liked by 1 person

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