Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Motoring Along: Irwin Rides in the ATV

Irwin’s puppy raisers have an orchard, and they take Irwin to work with them every day. SSD Judge, the first dog Donna and Jim trained for us, also used to help in the orchard. (Judge is currently in advanced training.)

The orchard offers lots of training opportunities. Donna and Jim use an ATV when they’re working in the rows of trees, and Irwin rides along. This gives him a chance to practice balancing, being in tight spaces, and being comfortable around loud noises. It also gives them a chance to practice cues in real world situations, such as “car” (to cue the dog to get in the car), “up” (two paws on an object), and “all the way up” (all four paws on an object).

Some days can get long, riding up and down the rows to check each tree, so Irwin has the chance to learn how to relax for long periods. Now that he’s getting bigger, he can lay on the seat without sliding and falling off. When he was smaller, he used to ride in an apple crate to prevent him from falling off the seat.

Irwin has several methods of riding in the ATV. Sometimes he lies on the seat, and other times he stands and lays his head in Donna’s lap. In the cool early morning, he likes to curl up in a ball on the floor and steal warmth from the humming motor. He also likes to sleep in the sun. 

Irwin stands and rests his head in Donna's lap.

Irwin curls himself into a tiny ball on the floor of the ATV.

Sleeping in the sunshine!

He is very good about not jumping in or out of the vehicle, even when he spots a rabbit. Excellent self control! But just because he doesn’t jump out of the ATV, doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice his surroundings. Even when he seems to be asleep, he’s sit up and look around if a hawk screeches overhead. He also likes to watch the butterflies and glider planes. 

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