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When I adopted Jasper at nine months old, I knew he was going to be busy. I knew that he was going to require lots of training and time and energy. And, I gave it to him.
We went to the dog park every day – 2 hours a day on average. We attended training at our local shelter. We played ball for hours in the yard. He got bully sticks in the evening to keep him busy.
When he turned three, I introduced new tricks and searching for treats in the yard. I bought games that he had to use his brain to solve (sometimes those actually did wear him out!).
I started coming up with puzzles of my own. I placed a treat in a Kong and placed it inside a sock and put that inside a box. He solved that one too.
I took him to nose work class this summer and he excelled. He loved it.
More recently I have been hiding treats in strategic locations in the yard – under things, in things, around plants, on leaves, in tree bark. He finds them all. He loves the game so much that he begs me to do it again. Sometimes he won’t come inside because he wants to keep looking for them. He beats all the other dogs to most of the treats too.
I’m not saying I’m ready for him to slow down like an old dog. Not yet. Not ever really. But sometimes I wish for a day of relaxation. A day where he just sneaks off to his dog bed and sleeps for an hour or two.
I’ve been a bit sporadic in my posts lately, but I wanted to at least give an update on little Miss Maggie.
Do you know that it has already been a year since Maggie was rescued? On July 16, 2013, she and her babies were rescued and taken to the Animal Humane Society (AHS), where she received medical care, food, water and kindness. In the days that followed, she learned that people could be kind and gentle. She learned it from her first foster mom, Sabrina, who taught her about leashed walks, living in a real home and that steak tastes quite good (the steak was in celebration of a judge awarding her custody to AHS).
With this new freedom came opportunities. A new place to live, time to heal and a chance to learn how to be a real dog. She came into Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and soon after that into my home. I have given her time and space. I let her learn from my dogs what a dog’s life can be like. So far, she has learned bones and ice cream are delicious, and everyone goes outside in the morning and again at night. She has also learned that cheese is good, but it is even more interesting and fun when it is hidden in dog puzzles or comes after touching my hand. She has learned how fun it is to roll in the freshly cut grass and that one must be quick if they want to get a treat before one of the other dogs. She is learning new things every day and in the process becoming more of the dog she was meant to be.
Here are just a few highlights of Maggie’s progress. Don’t miss Maggie’s two videos at the end of this post!
Maggie learns Watch me
Hand targeting with Maggie (She has only done this once outside. Too many noises outside.)