2/01/2011

Keeping Piper Busy

     Piper is happiest when she is doing something, whether it be learning to obey, playing games, or going on long walks. Sometimes I forget that, and I neglect her training, and don’t do anything to keep her busy. That’s when she gets into trouble. I have to remind myself that German Shepherds were originally working dogs, and that she has an endless store of energy that she is always ready to use. Thankfully she is not a big exuberant lab who is never still; she’s quite capable of having nice quiet times with me, and she doesn’t have to be constantly using her energy. However, I am realizing we are both happiest when she does have ways to use it.
    The other thing I have to remember is the fact that she has a remarkably intelligent brain behind those big brown eyes, and she loves to use it. That is one of my favorite things about her. She is really, really smart! Yesterday I played a game with her, and I think it is definitely going to be one of her best tricks. I had three yellow cups, and her favorite treats ever. Hot dogs!! I made her sit on the floor, and then I set up the cups, and put a piece of hot dog under one of them. The idea is that she’ll learn to put her paw on the one it’s under, and then I’ll tip it up so she can have the treat. Eventually, once she figures out how it works, I should be able to take her out of the room for a few minutes, and she’ll still remember which cup it’s under! She still hasn’t quite figured it out, but she loved the attention and treats. A few more days and we should have it down.
    I thought the cup game was pretty successful, so I am trying to think of other games and tricks for her to do. Any ideas? I don’t know how you teach them to do it, but I imagine she’d like jumping to catch frisbees. I’ve also read about obstacle courses for dogs, which could be interesting. Another thing we’ve thought about, is getting her certified to go to places like nursing homes and children’s hospitals to visit people.
    Anyway, interesting things to think about. Piper is a really cool dog, and I need to remember to take advantage of it while she’s young and teachable. And of course, we have to mention her pal Pookie (my pet name for Phoebe). Like all younger siblings she’s tagging along, and learning skills with Piper. She liked the cup game too. What dog wouldn’t when it’s got hot dog treats?

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