Have you red our previous post about living with a puppy? If not here is a link: http://www.dogexploreeurope.com/?p=181 It is about a little bit beginning of having a puppy and his socialising with the world.
This time lets focus on how to prepare the puppy for his adult life including race environment. Please bare in mind I am not an expert, I only write what I do with my dogs and how I want to prepare Masi for his life as pet and sled dog.
My puppy is growing fast and it is little bit sad as I love clumsy puppy days, and all those fun times when all dogs play together. The future running with Masi is super excited and I must admit I cant wait to put him in harness and run with him, however for now it is a big no. I would prefer him to be puppy and just grow without any problems. Therefore our preparation for race environments is taken to a different level. I have decided to use obedience (every day life) training as a training in preparation that he is confident dog. I do feel extra confident as last two years I have spent time racing around Europe, from small local races up to big international Championship. I have seen and learnt a lot and I will use this to make sure he is ready. I will also try to share as much as possible with my readers.
Off lead training
For me it is very important that my dogs can be off lead as much as possible. I believe this is the greatest training if they can just run free and monitor their own pace. I can also observe how they react to a different weather. In case of Masi- this is great opportunity to continue off lead training so he stays with me. A beginning of training to stay with me and get as much as you want salomon or tuna pate. I know this will help me for future off-lead training while I am on a bike (faster pace than me just running). At the moment it is just walking pace, and Masi keeps running around, sniff or chases nice smells in between trees. Most of the time it is 1-1, but I also take two other dogs so he is used to some other distraction.
Getting used to busy environment
In case of Laferra as a puppy, she was very timid and shy, so I learnt that she needs to get out with me to be around people and other dogs. Masi is very confident and super excited to jump on other people. Therefore walks to busy places such as our trip to Chioggia or Lago di Garda, where there were a lot of people and dogs on the beach and city was absolutely amazing opportunity to practise “on by”. At first he wanted to say hi to all, but eventually once again he grasped it that on by we just continue walk. By the end of the day he was nailing and totally ignored everything around and just focused on me. The most challenging “on by” is when he sees ducks, birds or other dogs. Work in progress.
During all walks I keep saying to Masi left or right if we turned too. This is great start to get to know the directions. I also throw a little bit of “on left” or “on right” meaning he needs to stay to this side. This is hard for him, but I know eventually he will get it.
In all this busy puppy life, he is still a puppy so he needs a lot of sleep. I am trying to check how well he rest in different environment. He is very good in his own house in bed, but also crate in car or even a dog park. I also take him to restaurants where he just sits or lies down for a bit of rest too. Rest is very important, so this is ideal that Masi can just rest even if it isn’t sleeping in any place.
Running Harness on
I put running harness so his body can get used to rubbing and it also great opportunity to practise line out. There is no canicross or any running at the moment. I put him on a line, let him stand for couple seconds, count him down from 5 and let him run off lead. He is superb with this, however sometimes find it boring and just sits down rather than stands. Haha
Every time we go to woods, it is around 200 m he is in his walking harness. He pulls as he thinks the faster we get the better. I let him pull me, however I walk. When we get to the woods, I take the lead off and make him stand and wait. I count him down while he stands and on go he is ok to go. At first I needed to pretend to hold him, but now he just stand waits and focus on whats in front of him.
We continue our obedience training so Masi knows simple commands, but also get distracted by other two. It is also grat to work with trio to have some fun and also for bonding. I like my dogs being ok with each other when there is food. I teach them silly tricks, but like my brother say the dogs are great performing them. I am not rushing to run Masi, he is just growing puppy and we will have plenty years to run together. For now we enjoy those silly moments.