Yesterday was just a wonderful day to take a few hours of vacation time and leave work early. Of course when I take time off it is to run home and mow the yard. After that I get my boy out and do something fun. Sometimes it is going out to train somewhere. Other times we will practice obedience or other skills. Friday, we worked on ladders. Küster is still learning to walk on ladders. As I have mentioned before from time to time our group does educational demos on K-9 Search and Rescue. These demos are mainly held indoors. Being a trailing dog is not conducive to the indoors for the most part. Once after a demo our team’s sergeant looked at me and said “Why not teach Küster to work a ladder?” Of course our answer was, “Sure”. So from time to time we practice.
A dog that can go across and climb ladders can be beneficial. Being able to cross a void if there is no other equipment around is helpful. In a disaster scenario sometimes your search could be on a second or third floor and you need to be able to climb up to your area that needs to searched. But, also ladders are great for the dog to learn body awareness. Basically ladders make the dog think about where each foot is and where they are placing their feet.
So how did we start training Küster to work ladders? We make it fun of course with lots of treats and his ball. The first time he trained to do a ladder was mainly an introduction. The ladder was placed on the floor and we played around it. Letting him walk across it and smell it, etc. We then moved on to having him walk down the length of the ladder keeping his feet on the floor. Sounds odd, but he needs to pick up all his feet while stepping over the ladder rungs. Once Küster seemed comfortable completing this task we start adding height the equation.
To be honest with you readers, we have not been at this very long at all. Küster has no problem going out on a ladder. He goes out with his front paws no problem at all. Then the Black Tornado starts walking his front paws across until he is all stretched out. Finally, he brings his back paws into him, very slowly. This is just a learning process. Küster will figure out what his back end is doing and where it is. Yes, from time to time he misses a rung and falls through. No problem, at this point in his training we are not too far from the ground.
So when I returned home after our training session yesterday I asked the wonderful Chief Editor of this blog if she would take a few pictures of Küster learning the ladder for this post. She agreed. We set the ladder up and I brought the boy out. Apparently, he likes this new task. He jumped right up and out on the ladder and he did pretty good working his back end, too. Once across, we played and he was jumping right back on the ladder platform.
Readers if you are wondering why the ladder is flat, it’s only because we are learning. Once Küster is up and going on the flat ladder we will start a new element, angles.