Zander & Ellie, (we call them ‘the odd couple’ with the greatest of affection). Zander with his long legs and the exuberance of a 4.5 yr old and Ellie, an 8 year old Labradoodle came in for a K9 Fitness & Proprioception session. Now usually we only do this 1 dog at a time, but there where some circumstances around why we had both in at once.
Ellie, although technically a senior is very food motivated and this motivation for food can sometimes interfere negatively in our sessions.
Let me explain further; When food is present, Ellie will move faster and at times do things that she probably shouldn’t simply because food is on offer. In this session we took the treat pouch away and we get to really see what Ellie was feeling up to doing.
We created an obstacle course which is perfect for any age dog, but especially seniors and it creates ‘choice’ so the dog gets to do whatever it wants to. We added a few surfaces which are great for sensation purposes. We used chairs spread out so we could create more ‘sweeping’ turns which are great for movement. We placed some pool noodles on the ground for stepping over and we set Annabelle and the ‘odd couple’ off at a slow pace to see what would happen.
In short Ellie slowed right down. She walked over the pool noodles and showed us that she had some preferences – such as her preference to walk slower, she wandered in front of mum a few times, happy to check in every so often, used the pool noodles and avoided the anti fatigue mats which are about 10 – 20mm high but happy to walk over the yoga mats that are only 3mm high.
So in this case it was definitely an advantage for us to take away the treat pouch and we really gained some good insight into what Ellie chose to do and not do.
Check out the video and see what you notice.
Click here to see more about our proprioception training.