I picked up my daughter, Iris, from daycare and I reminded her that tonight was a special night. We were meeting my best friend, Amber Duderstadt, with her dog Buckley, an Australian Shepherd at Dukes K9 Dash N’ Splash.
Since Iris loves dogs, she was super excited. We got in the car and drived to Mantua, Ohio. Dog training will be our main focus with Buckley because this is his first time doing dock diving.
Dock diving is a sport where dogs jump off a platform into a pool of water. In competition, they measure the length of the jump, and the longest jump gets the highest score. This year, the Mantua Potato Festival had a dock diving competition.
You might be able to observe dock diving in action at different festivals near Mantua, Ohio. Dog training will definitely be your initial focus if you want to join this sport because most dogs won’t instinctively know what to do.
Buckley has some anxiety so he definitely didn’t want to just jump into the pool. He actually loves the water but he has been in shallow lakes or rivers where he feet can touch the ground. This pool was 3 feet deep. There was a ramp that led into the pool. Buckley was a little unsure of the ramp at first but was quickly able to walk down the ramp.
We experimented to see what would motivate him to go into the water. We began with an encouraging high-pitched voice. That didn’t work so well. We attempted floating water toys, and he wasn’t interested in those either. Splashing water wasn’t exciting enough to get him to move into the water. Surprisingly, he wouldn’t eat any treats in the water so that didn’t work.
Because I love creatively exploring dog training, we came up with a solution that made a small amount of progress. Buckley loves his frisbee. It didn’t float, but Amber was willing standing in the water. She moved the frisbee a few inches in front of Buckley and he inched forward. Then she threw the frisbee out of the water. Therefore, after he moved into the water, he got to chase the frisbee and go out of the water.
When you are training a dog that is fearful baby steps are definitely best. You also want to figure out what is motivating to your dog. Different dogs will desire different foods, toys, etc. The reward must be motivating enough to encourage your dog to move through his fear and toward obedience. Mantua Dukes K9 Dash N’ Splash didn’t special in dog training, but I was there to help Amber and Buckley.
Overtime, we discovered that the frisbee was the best motivator. Notice that we allowed Buckley to retreat out of the water to get his reward. For a fearful dog, it can be really helpful for him to be able to move away from the fearful situation right after he submerges himself a bit toward the scary situation. The dog then gets a double reward, the treat or toy and the ability to move away from the scary situation.
This place will be closed until May of 2018, in Mantua. Dog training will be our focus with Buckley when we resume dock diving in the spring. I am looking forward to see his progress toward obedience as we work on more training.
It was fun watching Buckley use his mind to try to overcome his fear as we practiced dog training. Mantua is a small town but there are many people that will enjoy knowing about Dukes place so check it out!
Because Dukes doesn’t specialize in dog training. Mantua, Ohio is a place that we serve. We are happy to help with your dog training even if it includes dock diving.
Johanna Teresi, Professional Ohio Dog Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars, Dog Training, Mantua, Ohio and surrounding areas