One of the challenges of having a super-smart dog like these Australian Labradoodles is that you have be creative and keep them mentally challenged. This is especially true of Sam. I can keep him physically exercised, but if he doesn’t get the mental challenges he craves, he just doesn’t burn off the same kind of energy. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the difference. I think it’s mostly the difference between being tired and being relaxed. He doesn’t really relax until he’s used up all his mental energy.
Don’t get the wrong idea, though, he’s not crazy. And one of the things I like best about Sam is that he’s energetic and fun, but he has an OFF switch. He will calm down when I ask him to. Most of the time, anyway. He is still a young dog, so he can’t always just knock it off when I ask him to. But he’s really, really good!
Luke’s a different kind of dog. In some ways he’s more energetic than Sam, but he doesn’t have the same kind of intense drive that Sam does. He loves to learn and is super willing and engaged. It’s just different. He doesn’t turn into the same kind of bucking bronco that Sam will when he’s under-stimulated.
So I’m always looking for ways to burn off the mental energy. That’s why we do training and play games at home like “find it”. To add something else to the repertoire that does double duty, I’ve been thinking about doing agility with the dogs. I especially think Luke will be really good at it because he’s little and springy. Sam will enjoy it for the challenge, but he’s so big! I’m not sure he’s really built for it as a “sport”…maybe more as a pastime.
I have been eyeing a new indoor agility place that recently opened in Claremont—the Zoom Room. I decided to take the Doodles in to check it out. Well, that was fun!
What a cool place this is! To understand how nice this is, you have to appreciate how heavy and big dog agility equipment can be. You either have to set it up semi-permanently in your yard (because trust me, it’s not that fun to set up and break down over and over), or go to a facility and use theirs. This place is really nice because it has great equipment, easy to move around, plenty of room to (sorry) zoom —and it’s perfect if the weather is not great. I can see coming here especially if it’s raining or really hot.
It was fun to teach Sam to go up and down the A-Frame. He was loving it…Up and Over, Up and Over! Luke did it, too, with a little encouragement. He didn’t love the A-Frame. He really prefers to dive through the tunnel. What a cutie he is going through that thing like a little champ! Neither one of the dogs was down for the “dog walk”. I didn’t get a picture of that thing…it’s kind of a balance beam with an inclining ramp on either side. Too narrow for the Doodles to think that was fun. We’ll spend some time on it, and I’ll bet they will figure it out. I hear that there are some super-special treats that dogs will do anything for. Maybe that’ll do the trick. Sam and Luke are really smart, so it may just take a bit more encouragement to get them into that piece of equipment.
Zoom Room is a little pricey, so you might want to team up with a friend if you are going to rent the place for private time. That will make it more affordable. The sign up process is a little detailed, so don’t think about just dropping in like I was planning to do! I’m really glad I called ahead. There’s a whole reservation process for getting a time slot and if you are going for the first time, you have to register your dogs, show proof of vaccination and (I think) that they are neutered/spayed. Be sure to bring copies of those with you when you go. I got everything lined up before I got there…it would have been a pain to get all the way to the place only to have to turn around to get documents.
This is turning into more of a review than I wanted it to be…it’s a bit of a process to register, etc. But! It’s really fun to do! Now that the dogs are all signed up and in the system, we’ll be able to go more spur of the moment—when the mood strikes, or the Doodles are going nuts for lack of stimulation. I may get some lessons for these guys or join an agility group. Luke is too young to do it much, but we can do the low impact stuff….
More on this the next time we go!