The Power of the Play Bow

Cookie's muscles are healing well but it seems we run into problems because they haven't been used all that much for quite a while because of the forced rest.

After last evaluation by her physical therapist, Cookie got a few exercises to do for her homework.

We've done exercises in the past but we never had much of an actual equipment to do them with. I mostly used my body to do things like weave between my legs or cavaletti exercises over my legs when I was sitting on the floor.

This time the therapist lent us actual cones and cavaletti poles.

Cookie likes doing some exercises more than others. Of course, her willingness to do some of these things depends on value of the treats I use but there is only so far one can upgrade.

The hurdles didn't look like something worth doing to her.

It was strange, weird, and why go over them when one can just easily go around them?

One trick Cookie always loved doing is a play bow.

I taught that as a trick fairly early on when we were just messing around with things to do. I thought that putting play bow on cue would be the most awesome thing of them all. I knew that there were certain times when she was very likely to offer play bows to solicit play. I was ready for it and when she did, I marked and treated. To encourage the n
ext one I did a bit of open mouth panting, because I knew that to her that also communicated playfulness. Indeed, she responded with another play bow which I marked and treated.

Already that night, play bow was on cue.

I was extremely excited about that which might have influenced how willing Cookie is to do them when prompted. It makes us both very happy.

Already in the past I noticed that throwing a few play bows in between other tricks got Cookie in a more compliant mood. She became much more excited about doing whatever was to come next.

To tackle our hurdle with the hurdles, I decided to try having her do some play bows throughout the session.

What do you know, it worked! She is much happier to go over the hurdles if she can do something she considers fun as well. So we mix it up a little, to a bit of this and that, some play bows and we get the exercised done merrily.

Whatever works, right?

Little tricks can go a long way.

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  1. Aww, she is so cute doing her exercises. I'm glad she seems to be doing OK. Funny how the play bows help keep her more interested! Like you said, whatever works!

    1. She's cute doing anything ;-)

      Yeah, isn't that interesting what the play bows do? I guess it turns work into fun somehow.

  2. I love the cone set up that you have. I think that would be something Zoey would enjoy and would be great exercise for Sydney.

    1. These cones are great. I wish we had better space to do more with them, have a longer course ... but we do what we can with the space we got.

      I also make the course more fun by putting a single cone at the end of it to go around, it can be set up for weave and other stuff.


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