Tag Archives: training

The power of surprise

In my last post I wrote about how to make your dog come to you. I suggested to use a toy or a yummy treat to make it worth while for your dog to come to you. Some of my human readers have asked me what to do if this doesn’t work. They told me their dog won’t come to them, although they have a treat or a toy.

Okay. I think these humans have a problem and I guess their relation with their dog is not as good as they think it is. They should work on that. Or maybe they made a common mistake, by calling their dog and putting her on the leash every time she came. We are not stupid, you know. When you call us and put us on the leash and take us home every time we come to you, we won’t come easily again. How do you think we feel, when we are having fun but we stop our play to come to you and then every time we do this, we have to go home? Here’s the clue: don’t do this. Call us once in a while, give us a treat or play with us, and let go again. Then your dog will learn it is a good thing to come to you. And she won’t mind that after some nice playing time she is taken home again.

There are some other tricks than toys or treats to make your dog come to you. The key word is: surprise. Like I wrote in my previous post: make it fun for your dog to come to you! I know a human with a very independent dog. She has to make an effort for her dog to come to her and she found an excellent way to do this. When she wants her dog’s attention, she starts jumping up and down, waving her arms and singing ‘whooieooieoowiieee!’. That is funny. It makes all the dogs in the dog park go to her! When we are with her, she tells us to sit and we all get a yummy treat. Then she sends us off again, to resume our play. Now that is a good way of making your dog come to you and build a strong relationship. When she calls her dog to go home, in the end, he willingly obliges because it is fun to be with his human.

This is just one trick to get your dog’s attention. One of the favorite tricks of my personal trainer is this: she throws some treats into the grass (and I pretend not to see it), then calls me and asks me to search for them. It always works. Another trick is bending down, pretend like you are looking for something on the ground, maybe even dig with your fingers. Your dog will certainly come to help you in your search. Some time ago we were walking leisurely along the canal near our house, when I turned and saw M sitting on the grass! She never does this, so I immediately ran to her to check it out. She told me she fell down, but she won’t fool me: it was another trick to get my attention!

Nose

All these tricks have one thing in common: it is a surprise for us and it is fun. We love surprises, so this will always work. But please do not make the mistake of putting us on the leash every time when we come to you. If you do, you will not fool us again and it will become harder and harder for you to make us come to you.

 

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Foldable dog

Ever heard of a foldable dog? That’s me! My legs are very long and so is my back – long and extremely flexible. I was born that way and I have been training hard to maintain the flexibility, by doing doga together with M. I benefit greatly from it and M says she does too. Although I do not see her progress, because she is still as stiff as a plank.

Anyway, I like being foldable. It gives me lots of variations in the position I like to sleep in, for instance. This is one of my favorites.

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Now I think of it: this could be an excellent doga posture! I will practice it with M, so she can become flexible, like me. She masters the plank already, so it is time to move on to more challenging poses.

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Training schedule (kind of)

Some of my human readers told me they liked my post on the best workout in the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living, but they need more information on how to incorporate this into their life. Actually, they asked for a training schedule. They want to know exactly what to do on every day of the week. Jeez. What is it about listicles and schedules that humans like so much? Can’t they just go out and have fun? Apparently not. So all right, I will help them. But do not expect a detailed schedule from me, please. I am a dog. I don’t do spreadheets.

I can give you a basic training schedule. M and I do this together and she got inspired by a training method made by Mark Sisson. He developed a way of life, called primal living. M is enthusiastic about it and works out according to his schedule. I like it too, because it means we go out a lot. For this training method you do not go to the gym, you go outdoors! That’s great.

This is what we do, roughly speaking, every week:

– Every day: a walk for at least 1 hour. Using the entire body, as I explained in my previous post.

– Once a week: a sprint training. M says this is called an interval training. We do this for about half an hour, she tells me. We walk to the forest and the dunes and there we run to every top and walk down. I like it, although M still can’t keep up with me, even when she is running. So I enhance this training by jumping around M and biting in the leash.

– Almost every day: doga. Or, if you do not have a dog (didn’t you adopt one yet?): yoga. M says we do this to train all our muscles, so we become strong and flexible. I mainly do it because it is a lot of fun.

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This is our training schedule. We do not take it too seriously, there are days we do nothing at all. When it is pouring with rain, or when M is too busy, or when we just do not feel like it. Then we do just a short walk. But most of the time this is how we exercise.

When you want more in depth information about exercises or a more detailed training schedule, I suggest you visit the website of Mark Sisson, the guy who invented a prehistoric man called Grok. His method implies living like Grok. You could say that M adopted this training method, so we exercise like Grok. Mark does not write about dogs, which is strange. Humans had dogs in primal times, so Grok must have had a dog. I think her name was Growl.

Just one more thing, before you start to study training schedules and go training hard. Please know that the most important thing for becoming healthy and happy is not how far you can run in half an hour or how much weight you can lift. It is about enjoying life. So whatever you do: have fun!

Playing in the water

 

 

The best workout

Thank you for reading the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living! As I told you in the prologue, this lifestyle has four key elements: exercise, food, rest and mindset. In this post I will focus on exercise.

Exercise is extremely important for a happy healthy lifestyle. We are not made to be indoors, doing nothing (or looking at these luminous devices). We are made to move! Like our predecessors some thousand years ago. Nothing changed much in our bodies and our brains since those times. Doing what you are naturally made for makes you happy and healthy. That is the essence of my training method. It is simple, really.

Our predecessors had to hunt and gather to get food. Some lucky humans and canines still live this way, they work together in order to get their dinner. But most of us don’t do this anymore. Humans and canines got lazy as a consequence. And fat. And unhappy. So humans invented workouts and fitness programs. With schedules and do’s and don’ts and tools and clothes. Most of them are pretty expensive. And boring.

When you live according to the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living, you can skip all this fitness-program-stuff. You do not have to go to some cramped fitness studio to workout with loads of other sweating humans. You do not have to buy gear and odd looking clothes. In my training method you work with what is around you. Meaning things natural. This is my method, in five comprehensible steps:

1. Put on some practical, easy-to-wear clothes.

2. Call your dog and go out. If you do not have a dog: how sad. Adopt one. In the meantime: go out on your own.

3. Go to a natural place. Like a forest or the beach. If there is no such place in your surroundings, a park will do.

4. When you are there: play! Use your entire body (you want to become beautifully fit and muscular, just like me, right?). Run, walk, jump over logs, sprint, use your arms to throw things, climb into trees to surprise your dog. Maybe she will surprise you too, by climbing in after you. When you need to call the fire brigade to get you both out of the tree, you will have a great story to tell your friends!

5. Get dirty! Hence point 1. Humans are afraid to get dirty and I don’t understand why. It is great to get dirty! It makes you feel alive!

Mud bath 2

When you do this workout, you will get in sync with what your body and mind are made for: running and playing in the wild. This will make you happy and healthy, I guarantee. Now probably some humans will ask about the training schedule. That is simple: you should do this every day, for at least one hour. Preferably in the morning, because then you can smell the new day. If you are too busy, you can do it at the end of the day. It will help you unwind and get rid of all the unhealthy stress you accumulated during the day.

A natural surrounding is essential for this workout (you want to act like your predecessors did, right?). Like a forest. It has everything you need for a good exercise. Like lots of little paths, to go walking and running.

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It is great when there are some obstacles. For jumping, climbing and hiding. And doing some pull ups, if you feel like it (I prefer push ups, though. You can do them anywhere):

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You also need things to throw, in order to train your arm and back muscles. Your dog can fetch these things (most dogs love this). If you are out there without a dog and you feel a bit awkward about doing this, just pretend your dog is somewhere out there, not listening to you (this happens a lot, so no one will notice you haven’t got a dog with you). Things to throw are abundant in the forest:

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You can use all kinds of items you can find out there: stones, logs, pine-apples or odd little things like this:

20150505_120733Well, maybe not this one, because it is still inhabited.

When you do this workout, you will have loads of fun, strengthen the bond with your canine (which means instant happiness), improve your health and get strong. You will get slim, too. Just give the yummy treat you deserve after this workout to your dog, that should do the trick.

After this, you’ll need some rest. I will explain all about that in following blogs. Stay tuned!

 

 

The Bubbles guide to happy healthy living

I notice there are a lot of blogs, books and videos on how to have a happy healthy life. Apparently humans need some help here. As a dog, I naturally know how to be happy and healthy. I am willing to share some of my insights with you. This is beneficial for me and all canines, because it is much more fun to be around happy healthy humans. Happy humans give us cookies.

So this post is about happy healthy living. I am going to write it just the way these lifestyle-food-fitness blogs do it! I will call it the Bubbles Guide to Happy Healthy Living and this post is part one, the prologue. Since humans obviously like to consume advice in chunky bits, with tips & tricks and three-week-working-schedules, I will try to write this in the same way. Maybe I will even add an listicle on the ‘Five Habits of Highly Happy Humans & Canines’. All right, maybe not. Let’s not overdo it.

Leading a Bubbles Happy Healthy Lifestyle means living naturally, in sync with what humans and canines (and in fact all animals) are programmed for. We are not made to be indoors all the time, looking at these luminous devices, or driving around in cars. We are made to move, to be outdoors, to connect with others, to smell the day.

When you get more in sync with what you are naturally made for, you will become happy and healthy. And, very important to a lot of humans: you will get a beautifully trained, fit and muscular body. Just like me!

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In following posts I will focus on the key parts of the Bubbles Happy Healthy Lifestyle: food, exercise, rest and mindset. Stay tuned!

 

Anniversary

Today it is exactly two years ago that M and P adopted me. M told me so this morning. Wow, two years already! When they came for me, I was five months old. They took me home in their car. I was pretty impressed by everything, as you can see:

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In my new home Zuid was waiting for me, she is the dog of friends of M and P. She stayed with us for a couple of days, to make me feel at home. I had never been without other dogs in my life, growing up in a shelter, so it was sweet of M and P to think of this. Zuid became my godmother:

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I grew up quick and I turned into a strong dog, ready to measure forces with anyone.

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I became the fastest dog on the beach:

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And made some groovy friends:

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I had some great Adventures in the last two years. I traveled in a boat, with M and P:

Canoe adventure

We hiked in Spain and in Austria.

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I made sure our campervan was safe.

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I even traveled on a bike in Germany:

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M and I did a lot of training, which to be honest can be very tiring:

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And we became quite good in doing doga together:

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When I came to Holland, I had Ambitions. I am glad to say that in the last two years I started realizing these Ambitions, and have some thrilling Adventures besides. Life is good. I will never stop exploring.

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Schutzhund

I just read a very interesting article about how to become a Schutzhund. That is a dog for policework, like chasing criminals! I think it is pretty cool if a dog does things like that, so I read the article carefully. It turns out you have to be very good at tracking, obedience and protection. That sounds promising! I am learning to become a tracker, I am already a very obedient dog and I am extremely good in protecting M and P. I might look sweet and skinny, but I can be very intimidating when I want to.

But, and this is the difficult part, I do not quite understand how these things relate to each other. I mean: when does one have to be obedient and when protective? I have some trouble with this, to be honest. I protect our house and M likes me doing this, she tells me that is what a dog should do. When there are friends visiting the house, M is relaxed and so am I, I do not have to protect her then. That I understand and find easy. But last week we had this situation: a man came into our house and M was friendly to him, but I sensed danger. So I growled at him , ready to chase him away. He got the point and backed off, but M told me to shut up and invited him in!

In our house this is a rare situation, because most of the time only friendly humans visit us.  But outside it gets more difficult. Especially when we sit somewhere to have a drink. M and P like doing this, so it happens often. I am sure it is my duty to protect them when we do this. These are high risk environments, with unknown humans and canines getting too close to us. I want to make all of them very clear they have to back off and if M let me, I would do exactly that. But, and this is the difficult part: most of the time M won’t allow me to.

I guess this is the obedience part in the Schutzhund training and I am sure it is the hardest part. I lie next to M or P on the floor, trying to suppress the urge to attack humans and dogs coming too close. It is very hard, I have to keep in control of my natural instincts all the time. Maybe I could handle it easily when we only sat down for a short while, just for M and P to have their coffee. But no, they do not only have coffee, but food too and then another drink. It takes them ages and all the time I am lying down, trying to be obedient.

I’d almost say it is not fair, but that is not true. Last weekend we went on a long walk and then they had a long lunch. I managed to stay calm and obedient during the entire lunch and as a reward I got this, when we were outside again:

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It is a Dutch herring. It is de-li-ci-ous. Salty and very juicy. P bought it for me in a special shop. I waited outside, still being very obedient, as you can see (that is not very hard, when you have the promise of the reward right in front of your nose):

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M wanted to make a picture of me eating this herring, but – as usual – I was a bit too quick. In this picture you only see its tail, well, a small part of it. Of course, I ate it all. Yummy.

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I do wonder what a Schutzhund eats. Will he get herring every day? Maybe I should make some inquiries into their diet, before I enlist. When you are a Schutzhund reading this, could you tell me more about your work and the food they give you?