Hi! My name is Chase, and I am a devilishly handsome pouch for dog training treats. Sometimes people call me the Tasmanian Devil because of how crazy and high-energy I can be. But I'm here to tell you a story about someone even crazier than I am!
His name is Sakka, and he is an Australian Shepherd and Siberian Husky mix breed. Here's the thing. Sakka goes absolutely nuts for treats. Our human has to keep me hung up in the entryway because if she left me on the floor, I have no doubt in my mind that Sakka would eat me in two or three bites. (I can't really blame him for it…everyone tells me I am cute enough to gobble right up!)
That being said, I don't really like the idea of being eaten and would much rather be used in the way I was meant to be used. Anyways, let me get back to the story about Sakka. See, before I came around, Sakka was kind of crazy… OK. Well, yes, he is still a little crazy, but I'm talking crazier than he is now.
He had so much energy when he was a younger dog that our mom didn't know how to handle him and was getting really overwhelmed. She would take him for countless walks, and at least one if not two runs every day. Sometimes she would even schedule playdates for him with other dogs, but nothing ever seemed to tire him out!
He would get into trouble all the time, bouncing off the walls of the house, getting into the garbage, ripping up her nice new decorative pillows, and countless other naughty dog behaviors.
She knew something had to change. That's when she found me! She wanted to get really serious about training Sakka. She had heard that it was possible that he was bored, and that was why he was acting out.
What better way to stimulate the mind of a young dog than by training? (Make sure to check out our blog "How to add dog training to your dog walk routine") Now, Sakka already knew the basics, like sit, stay, come, and how to walk nicely on a leash. What Sakka really needed was a challenge.
When I came home that first day, oh boy, was Sakka excited…. He thought I was a new toy that he could shred to pieces! Suffice it to say, I was not as particularly thrilled about my new home at first, but our human made the rules clear right away, thankfully! No chewing on Chase (that's me :) )!
She put on her Tequila&Bones belt and clipped me on and off we went for our first day of training. We started by just going for a walk that day, so Sakka could get used to me and learn that I was what stored his treats. Our human worked on all of the commands that he was already good at, and I would let her take a treat to give to Sakka as a reward! He started to get the concept right away.
After our walk, we went home. Sakka was still pretty excited, though, so we decided to go to the backyard and keep working out Sakka's brain! It was time to learn a new trick!
We decided to start with a trick we call "spin." It's pretty simple. We just ask Sakka to sit and then to stand up and spin around and then sit back down. After Sakka sits, my mom grabs Sakka's favorite treat from me and then closes it in her hand. She then shows Sakka her hand and encourages him to smell the treat and follow her hand, and she moves it behind his head and back to the front again. And he spins! Then she tells him to sit and complete the trick, and she rewards him with the treat!
After doing this about ten times or so, she starts saying the command "spin" as he spins around, and then when he completes it and sits, she marks the good behavior with a treat from me and by saying "yes!" in an excited voice. After about 15 more times of doing this, Sakka is a total professional at spinning and can whip around in a circle super fast!
If I remember correctly, we were in the backyard that day for maybe twenty minutes, and he had it down completely by the end of it! And best of all? He was totally tuckered out and ready for a good long cuddle session on the couch afterward!
All in a day's work for me, but our human was so excited! She was finally able to relax and read a good book on the couch without worrying about what kind of trouble Sakka would find for himself.
The next day we tried it again before we went for our second walk of the day. It was kind of rainy and dreary outside at that point (yuck), so we didn't really want to go out again. Instead, our human grabbed her belt again and clipped me on, and we went to the living room after she filled me up with those delicious treats! Sakka was totally thrilled.
We worked on teaching Sakka how to clean up after himself after making a mess of his toys. He has a toy basket, but he used to only be able to take toys out of the basket and not put them away. But after a bit of practice and training with me, he figured out that when mom pointed at a toy and said, "pick it up," that she wanted him to grab it and put it in the basket! He was so excited about the treats, the praise, learning something new, and spending fun time with mom and me.
And that's my story of my first couple of days in Sakka's house! Like I said, he used to be a little crazy and high-energy. But since then, he's only tried to eat me a couple of times, so usually, we get along great. And now we do a little bit of training together every day. Consistency is key! And oh! I almost forgot to tell you. Sakka hasn't dug in the trash can or ripped up any more of mom's favorite pillows since we started our fun training sessions!