Today I had Luke at the park; I put him through his paces. Yep; at ten years old he's still got it. It amazes me how some dogs pick up cues so easily; the most subtle of body posture change and they see it. He saw it today; I got in my training posture, a place that has not been visited for sometime. I assumed my posture; he kicked it into gear without a second thought. Before I knew it we were in sync; without even thinking about it we were heeling, turning, downing and heeling again.
I think it does a dog good to have a refresher. As we all know; rules tend to slide as our dogs age. "They're old;" quickly becomes the excuse for everything. "They don't want to;" just comes out to easily as our dogs enter their golden years. But I'll tell you; Luke was beaming today. He was heeling with a huge smile on his face and loving every second. "That's right; who's the man?" The gushing praise cup runneth over and Mr. Luke was soaking up every bit he could.
Does it seem that old dogs should just be left to do as they please? Yes it does but they enjoy doing their thing. Even if that thing is doing obedience that was once a must and repetitious; now it makes them feel young again. Watching Luke beaming as he heeled around the park with me was invigorating. He was so happy with himself; he was dropping on a dime when asked to down, became my second skin as we turned and listened with such intensity that it was obvious that he was having fun.
Luke was trained with purely positive methods; obedience is fun for him. He was never given a yank to stop; go or follow along, it was always encouragement, praise and reward. Why wouldn't he want to have a good game of obedience? He has a great association with obedience; as far as he is concerned it's an easy way to impress Mom and extrapolate the positive fueling that warm and fuzzy.