One of the many reasons Nakai is as trusting and bombproof as he is is due to the many things I did to him as a teenager (often without much thought to possible consequences). Over the years, the “training” changed as he no longer needs desensitizing. A moment for a good look at a new obstacle is enough. Now, it’s to encourage him to continue to think independently and brush up on some older cues (and it’s also just plain fun).
Since going blind in his right eye, it’s been a bit of a challenge to learn how to cue him on his off side. So many things I took for granted (such as my body language and hand signals) are pretty useless now that he can’t see them. He has a tendency to crowd me on that side if he isn’t sure what I’m asking, and finding a cue for him to “send” has been tricky. We also continually work on the cue “up” (I.E – watch your footing / pick up your feet) which has paid off over technical footing and helping him see things.
We practiced a bit last night:
There’s only so much I can do with what is available on the farm, so I’ve been researching ideas for unique, easy to build obstacles. When it dries out a bit more (not sure if I live in Pennsylvania or Seattle anymore, to be honest…) I’m planning on using some of the natural topography around the property.