Have lots to cover today!
First, I’ve got to do some bragging. What, you didn’t think I’d admit I brag?
I don’t have any fences to blow down. You rarely see me on a leash, but it wasn’t always that way. When I first arrived I walked on a lead every time I went outside.
Now I no longer need the lead, but still the Human goes with me. But I get ahead of myself. For the first couple of years I had 4 to 5 regular outings each day. Each outing I took at least 2 turns around the perimeter of the yard, on lead. There was a special spot that we stopped for potty time. Now, I also got out to practice my obedience.
My first off leash time, I still had a check cord.
My Human would just step on the end of the cord if I didn’t immediately obey.
When we went to the mountains the same procedure was followed. At least four times a day, on leash, I walked the perimeter of my boundaries.
Once my Human felt confident with my responses to basic commands, the walks were off leash but I was wearing the check cord. It wasn’t long before I graduated to completely off lead walks. Of course I was attending obedience school too.
From time to time people ask about the tab lead on my collar. Lots of agility dogs wear them when they are training. They allow the human to grab it to correct us.
I always have one attached to my collar all the time. My Human says it makes her feel more comfortable when she can quickly grab the tab lead if I’m acting inappropriately.
Anyway, that’s how I learned my boundaries. The fact that one of my Humans is always outside with me, keeps me within my boundaries. One paw outside and I get a verbal correction or recall.
Haopee asks “I have a question. Are CBRs high energy pooches? What if you live in a small apartment? How many hours of exercise do you guys need?”
All retrievers need loads of exercise and mental stimulation. I get a good walk before daylight, then come in and eat. Almost immediately I want to go out for a potty break. By now it is light, so I usually get about a 30 minute walk and about 15 minutes practicing some obedience. In the summer my schedule is a little different, because we try to go for our long exercise early in the day.
In the winter, like now, we usually go mid-morning when the sun, hopefully, is warming things up. Our long exercise may be a leashed walk in a town park, an on or off leash hike, or an off leash hike on private property. Weather permitting, my Human and I jog part of the trail. If possible, we go where I can run off leash and practice retrieves.
Then evening, after supper, we go for another walk about half an hour. This walk usually includes about 10 minutes of obedience work. The final walk is just a short one at bed time.
So that is my schedule. If the Humans have business that interrupts the schedule, I usually get a really long walk and training session in the morning and another when they return in the evening.
The most important thing about having a successful relationship with a retriever is to spend time teaching him new things and make sure he has lots of brisk exercise which includes exercising his retrieving skills.
To see more about training retrievers and to see how demanding a job we can really handle, go visit Thunder and Storm and follow Freighter as he grows from an 8 week old pup to the accomplished hunting companion his dad already is.
Our, retrievers, ability to work closely with our human and understand complicated commands is what makes us great guide and assistance dogs. Stop and visit McLean Southeastern Guide Dog in Training to see how adaptive we can be. Or you can follow Brandon’s Life as a Guide Dog in Training. Meagan has a wonderful blog Davey’s Everyday Adventures. The most recent post was a summary of Davey’s life until Meagan had to turn him in for advanced training. Finally, stop by Raising Patrick in College for tales of a future assistance dog.
The main reason retrievers are used as guide and assistance dogs is because we were bred to work closely with a human and trust the human and to take direction. Because we are retrieving birds and have to learn to mark where they fall, we also are more aware of what’s above us. This is very important if you are guiding a blind person so you don’t walk them into a branch or sign.
So, Haopee, I hope I’ve at least partially answered your question about our energy level. I hope anyone who stayed with me throughout this post understands just how eager we retrievers are for knowledge and how we need to be inside with and part of our family or special person.
Y’all come back now!