Why in the world would I take my dogs to the dog park and then make them do obedience exercises? Because its fun. Because I'm mean. (Booowhahahha!) Because I love our trainer's motto: obedience, anytime, anyplace, under any circumstance. Most of all, because I can.
Loki was and still is a reactive, alert dog. When I started training almost two years ago with Loki, we trained occasionally in a dog park, with a long line. Needless to say, Loki was freaked. Numerous dogs would run amok while I and Christi-Ann (our trainer) would make him do stuff like heel, long down-stays, recalls with downs half way and the biggie: down out of sight for 3 minutes. There were days when Alpha leader ("Uncle Lance" K9 Clinic owner) showed up to train us. Together we learned all about how far we could push Loki before it was time to call it a day. There were days I went home crying. I cried because deep down, I knew Loki was and is an incredibly smart dog and when he's calm and confident, he's obedient, funny, smart, alert and a great partner. Yet he acted so much like a cracker-insane freaked out dog in public. Doing a dog park exercise like this a year ago with Loki used to send me home, bug-eyed and in need of a stiff drink.
I'm not a big fan of dog parks for a variety of reasons, but I like to expose my dogs to everything so we go to them once in a (rare) while. Today when we do these exercises, it's a game and it's fun and the pressure on Loki is so much less. He's much more confident. And because of this, he can move on to do other jobs like Search or Tracking and I can be confident when he's doing his job, his obedience will be there.
Check out the photos below and tell me if you think Loki looks stressed or upset because I'm "making" him down-stay while other dogs harass him.
"Hey man, nice big white dog you have there!"
"Ya, I know I smell good. It's called 'Prellshampoo.' You can pick it up at Walgreens."
"Oh look, there's another dude coming to say hello. Cool. I'll just stay here and let the party come to me!"
"Oh hum. I won't even let Juno Belle Jodhpurs make me look bad."
"Ha ha, Retardo! You have to stay down while I get to play! You must have been naughty."
"Cupcake, keep it coming. I'll dish out your comeuppance when mom releases me."
"Oh look at this little fella coming to say hello. He seems nice enough."
"Um, err, little fella, don't you think it's a little early in our relationship to go there?"
"Hey little fella! Where ya goin'? Can we still be friends now that our shortly-lived intimate relationship is over?"
Ok, so I'm not that mean. It's give and take. Loki is actually a very social dog and loves other dogs. So I release him to play.
Everyone check out the border collie who just came in!
"I smell a whiner! A weeeerrrmerwhiner!"
"Waiting for it..."
"And up jumped the devils!" These two were smitten with each other.
Look it's Dennis' cousin!
"What the hell is this thing? It smells canine, but I think it's a descendant of Chewbaca, the wookie."
"WHO is THIS charming lovely lady? Check out her pantyloons!"
Meet Isis. Thirty-five pounds of gorgeous Siberian floof. I once said I'd never have another Sibe, but every time I meet one, I fall in love with them. Isis is newly rescued, and so very good and surprisingly obedient too!
"I got your back sweetheart." says, Loki, looking out for his new girlfriend.
Of course she should not be confused with JBJ. Isis has more floof to her back side. Khyra, on a MFT scale, what would you rate Isis' pantyloons?
Loki and Juno make friends with this pretty Doberman. Later on the doberman attacked Loki. Loki did me so proud. Instead of fighting he tucked his tail and ran. I was about 500 feet away watching it. Within the 3 seconds that it took me to discover it was aggression on the Dobbie's part, I recalled Loki and he ran to me instantly and stuck to me like glue. Loki's been proving to me lately that he'll defer to me to settle confrontations. Which is exactly what I want him to do.
Loki, you're the man.