What are you teaching?

It's going to be another scorcher today.  Thankfully I spent much of yesterday in San Diego where it was at least 8-10 degrees cooler.  Still hot but not scorching hot.  When it is as hot as it's going to be today we spend much of our time indoors.  We will head out nice and early before the searing heat hits for a bit of exercise but then we'll be in the AC.  Because today will be another "inside" day I've decided to teach Elsa to go through my legs.  She already knows how to go through; but it is sort of willy nilly style.  She runs through getting all excited but now I want to fine tune the act. 

The other day as I was putting both Luke and Elsa's harnesses on when I thought about the lesson.  Hmmmmmm, I'd like Elsa to come through my legs from the back and slip into her harness.  She already does the very cute and adorable 'latch on' exercise before we leave; which is much like a seeing eye dog does for their owner.  I go to the place where the open button for the garage door is;  she pushes under my hand until I grab her harness.  Then the button is pushed and we can leave, but not until then.  I love it, she is so cute pushing under my hand trying to get me to grab a hold of her harness. 

So now I'm going to teach her to go through my legs and into her harness.  Luke and Elsa both where the Easy Walk Harness by Premier.  This harness is perfect for the exercise because the action required to get it on is exactly what is needed.  She will have to come from behind me; go through my legs, putting her head into the harness.  From that point she will be asked to continue moving forward while I do it up under her chest. 

Elsa gets very silly and overly excited when we are learning new behaviors.  She wants to cut to the chase and get the treat.  Being treat motivated is wonderful for learning new stuff.  Dealing with her over zealous behavior takes calm and cool behavior on my part.  I need to create a black and white scenario, no gray tones for this girl.  If she is on the wrong path I will mark that with a vocal error marker and stop.  Then we start again.  (More detailed instructions on working with over enthusiasm on my website soon).

So while the sun is at it's fullest and the heat is on; we'll be working hard on learning a new behavior.  It doesn't matter what you teach your dog; any new behavior or exercise is a good one.  Many dogs who have never been given the chance to learn have a difficult time with the concept.  Once a dog understands the premise behind learning; they are typically on board for more.  What are you teaching today?