Riptide’s Accomplishments: An Update from Rachel
Patrick’s and my anniversary was the middle of November, about two weeks after we got Riptide. I had a hankering for some Stone Crab, so we called around to find some fresh ones (as well as being dog friendly). We headed out to Cortez. There was a wait of about 30 minutes, no biggie, it was a beautiful night. We were escorted to our table. Oh no… a high top. Rip wasn’t thrilled to be so far away from us in a busy environment, so I improvised. I took my fleece jacket off, laid it on the high top chair next to me and hoisted him up. There he sat for over an hour, perfectly content. He was the star of the show, at least he thought he was. The other diners near us were so amazed and thought he was professionally trained! As any proud parents would, we gloated that we had only had him two weeks, he was a 10 month old rescue, and how lucky we were. After dinner, he got to witness his first hermit crab race!
We taught him to fetch! I can honestly say that none of my other dogs have ever done this. Not because they “couldn’t” more because they were spoiled and I didn’t ask much of them. Now, in my more mature years, I know how important it is to keep your dog’s mind occupied. They NEED activity and mental stimulation. It gives them an outlet to expend some energy or they go bonkers. Let them run and be a dog. Take them for walks and let them smell the world. The alternative is they may develop compulsions, bad habits, weight issues, and anxiety. Fortunately for us, Rip is food motivated.
When teaching something new like fetch, frequency is more important than the size of the treat. You also want it to be small enough to stay in a treat bag on your hip and have fewer calories. I have found that the soft training treats and freeze dried treats work very well. They have less than 5 calories a piece. Try (notice I said try) to keep your treats to be no more than 10% of their diet. If they are a healthier treat that have some nutritional value, back off your regular meal to compensate for those calories. If they are not as healthy, you have empty calories that they are not benefiting from. Give those more sparingly.
Riptide has yet to meet another dog or child that he does not love. It is amazing to see him perk up when he sees someone about his size. I think he thinks they are just two legged dogs! We have a sixteen month old grandson and I think they are in love. They play chase and “catch me if you can” around the house. You know, the pounce and run…”oh you are chasing me? Now I switch which way I go and catch you off guard and chase you!” There is nothing like seeing a dog smile and hear that amazing deep belly laugh, only kids have.
Rip has been in his crate a total of… 3 times. Thanksgiving November 28th, 2019, usually a day of joy, food, family and fun times. Our house? “We can’t go to dinner with my family. What about Rip?” This is the only thought in Patrick’s and my minds. Can you believe it, one month into our relationship and he has been in his crate one time…the first night. (Side note: I guess that is a pretty good gig for a new pup. Dad works from home and when Dad has appointment, it’s bring your son to work day for me!) Patrick wouldn’t do it. He didn’t want to be the “bad guy”. I think to myself: well, he isn’t going to go in on his own, I guess that’s now “my job.” I got a handful of the freeze dried tiny treats, I mentioned. For real, it was a handful, scattered it amongst his crate on his pad, as well as under it, and then I ran to the garage in heels. If I am going to be the bad guy, I don’t want Rip to validate that for me, by hearing him cry. But I didn’t hear a peep. We came home a couple of hours later and I took him out (it seemed only fair since I had to put him in). It was like nothing ever happened. I got lavished with kisses and I was immediately forgiven. All of my dogs have had crates. I have put a dog in a crate thousands of times. This ain’t my first rodeo, after all I’m a trained professional. Why is this time different? I think I turned soft. (BTW, the third time was a Christmas party).