Honey goes where we go.
And we go by bicycle. And sailboat.
What will it take to teach a Golden Retriever that fun adventures await if she rides in a bicycle cart or climbs aboard a sailboat?
Some special training. And lots and lots of patience.
Where the Training Began
We had been clumsily introducing Honey to the Doggy Ride bicycle cart since she was a puppy.
It sat in the corner of her exercise pen in the kitchen and I occasionally put treats in it. We used it to take her to watch the Red Bull Chariot Races. She was fine going. But coming back, she got tangled in the restraint and became very unhappy.
By the time we gave up our car, we couldn’t get her to go near the thing.
In the meantime, we also started sailing with plans to eventually go on a long cruise. Of course Honey would go with us—but we needed to make her comfortable with flapping sails, clanking halyards, a heeling boat, and boarding from a moving dock.
Honey’s First Session with a Dog Trainer
Before we ever met with our new trainer, Russ Hollier, we filled out a questionnaire asking us all about Honey’s behavior, training, habits, and how we lived together as a family.
At our first sessions together, Russ observed that Honey was:
- eager to please
- able to put her head in the bicycle cart, but only with the promise of really stinky treats
- fearful of walking on any strange surface, even if it didn’t move
- highly food-motivated
He suggested we use the bicycle cart and agility equipment to build her confidence. As she made progress, we’d increase the challenge.
In the video you’re about to see, we’ve increased the challenges, yet again.
- the bicycle cart is on a frame that lifts it closer to the height it will be when we put the wheels on
- we modified the teeter board to make it less stable
- we stopped bracing the wobble board with our feet so it wobbles more
- and we introduced a new piece of equipment, a dog walk ramp
You’ll also see that I’m not a very good trainer. And I do a lot of luring. But standing and waiting for Honey to figure out what we want next so we can capture it with a click doesn’t make for good television.
So how’s she doing?
Honey’s Video Debut
Look At Her Now!
Honey has come a long way. She’s:
- having fun
- focused (even with Chérie barking in the peanut gallery)
- having fun
- willing to try new things more quickly
- and, most importantly, having fun
I think Honey has big adventures to look forward to.
Have you used agility equipment for other reasons than to compete in agility? If you haven’t, would you?