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How long does it take to train your dog to meet a challenge?
I don’t know how long it takes you but let me show you how long we’ve been preparing Honey to live aboard a sailboat.
I admit it.
With our lives turned upside down after selling our house and everything we own, I haven’t been working with Honey as much as usual.
But confessing my big training fail led to some great suggestions from S’Waggers about how I can amp up Honey’s training while we’re looking for our new sailing home.
I’ve dug out my clicker and am figuring out how to make temporary training equipment from stuff in my sister’s garage. And thanks for suggesting videos to watch for ideas on what to teach Honey and how.
But I haven’t always been a slacker.
Training For A Boat (And A Bike)
Way back in 2012, we were already thinking about what it would take to teach our cautious girl to be comfortable with a home that’s constantly moving.
Have you seen her Adventure Dog In Training video?
When we first got the idea of moving onto a sailboat, Honey wouldn’t even walk on a ramp lying flat on the ground. It freaked her out.
We weren’t sure she’d walk on a floating dock or boarding ramp.
But once Honey got used to the wobble board, teeter, and homemade ramp, it was time to take her on an actual sailboat to see how she’d like it.
Honey On Board
The folks at Solvit kindly gave us a Telescoping Dog Ramp (affiliate) to review and help Honey move on and off the dock.
At first, she’d do anything to avoid stepping on the ramp. Even when I tossed liver treats all over it.
It appeared Honey wouldn’t tolerate a boarding ramp, much less living on a boat.
But with several weeks of work, she became comfortable walking on the ramp.
In fact, we had to put the ramp away once Honey discovered she could use it to visit the dog-loving sailors in the next slip without us.
How Long Should You Train Your Dog
So how long should you train your dog to meet a challenge?
As long as it takes.
We didn’t know we’d be setting sail when we brought Honey home to live with us in 2010. But we did know we wanted her to be comfortable with a lot of situations and people.
We exposed Honey to every unusual thing we could think of when she was a puppy.
And thank goodness we did. Because Honey has enough natural timidity that if we hadn’t socialized her to so many experiences as a puppy, she’d probably never take to it as an adult.
The socialization and training we’ve done with Honey so far have created a good foundation.
With all the great suggestions I got yesterday, I know she’ll be happy in her new floating home.
Now who has suggestions for how to keep the humans from freaking out?
Your Turn: My husband and I have thought about doing more videos with Honey. Is there anything you’d find fun to watch for a minute or two?
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