He’s a Working Dog Part I

by Tom Antion

Everybody and everything I read told me if he’s a working dog, then you’ll have to, “exercise him every day”. “You’ve got to keep his mind busy”, “he needs a job, ” etc. . . .  OK! Alright already! I get it. I won’t make him like me . . . sitting around all day behind the computer. I’ll exercise him at least three times a day. In fact, I’m going to have that hole in the tennis court fence repaired so I can safely work him out off leash.

Every morning before I fed him rain or shine I had him out on the tennis court. He knows where the toys are kept and starts jumping toward the basket as soon as we hit the court. He is ball crazy! He doesn’t even take the time to pee or poop unti after a few good 100 foot runs (the tennis court is 78 feet plus the area outside the lines makes 100 feet). Check out below another cool way we both get exercise.

Before I tell you about our ball playing and tugging frolics, let me tell you about exercising him hard BEFORE eating. Apparently dogs with large chests can have their stomach flip over if they are jumping around like crazy with a full stomach. YIKES! This is serious and could actually kill a dog if not treated in about 45 minutes. So, I learned really hard exercise was to be done before meals. (Read my article about feeding your dog and avoiding bloat.)

Ok, back to the fetching fun. I was dead set on doing my fatherly duty and exercising this dog. It was actually a good thing for me too, since I need to get out from behind that computer more. The first week or so Rubix would chase the ball eight….maybe nine times and then come back near me and pretty much collapse panting. I thought, “This is a piece of cake”. Throw the ball a few times, he gets his exercise, I get some fresh air and then back to my computer.

As the weeks went by Rubix started getting in to shape. Eight or nine throws of the ball turned in to 20 or 30 which turned in to 40 or 50. …I mean he was becoming the marathon fetcher of all time. My arm was getting tired before he would quit doing his 100 foot sprints. We did this three times a day for three months.

Then New Year’s Eve morning I commanded Rubix to “SIT”. He did not sit. I commanded him again. He did not sit. I seriously commanded him and he did not sit.  . . . Hmmmmmmmm. Since I’m new at this, I was recalling an article telling me that training a dog is two “sits” forward and one “sit” back. I was thinking this must be the one sit back. He as being disobedient for the first time since he came to live with me.

We still went out and played ball and he was running around and jumping and chasing the ball just as we had done just about every day for the past three months. That afternoon I commanded him to sit. He did not sit, but it looked to me like he was trying to sit but his left leg was shaking. OH! NO! I think Rubix has hurt his leg and that’s why he wasn’t sitting.

On New Year’s eve I packed him up and off we went to the emergency room where we spent 4 hours to get our 5 minute appointment that suggested Rubix had strained the ligaments in his left knee.

Click here for more of this personal protection dog confession



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