Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Mischief: Cheating at Dog School

A few months ago, I stumbled across the website for a new dog school on Long Island called Martial Arfs. They combine some principles of martial arts with dog training to provide fun mental and physical activity for you and your dog. They offer a variety of classes, such as obedience, agility, and disc dog. Instead of belts, the dogs get colored bandanas to mark their progress.

I was SUPER excited to take Chewy to Martial Arfs, even though my dad thought it sounded too gimmicky. Chewy has more energy than I know what to do with, and it would be good for him to learn some discipline. But then I broke my finger and that plan was put on the back burner.

Since my finger has now almost reached its normal range of motion, I took Chewy for his behavior assessment at Martial Arfs yesterday. And he was a BIG FAT CHEATER!

First up was a series of inflated balance discs set up like wobbly stairs. The goal was to get Chewy to put his front paws on one disc and his back paws on another. Kibbles were used to lure him up the steps, but instead of getting on them, he would just run around to the side and try to steal the kibbles (sometimes successfully)! Eventually he did get two paws on the bottom step, and when it was time to lure him onto the middle step, he would either stretch as far as he could to reach the kibbles, or get off and run to the side again.

Super stretch mode

He got a little frustrated that he wasn't getting kibbles with his cheating methods, so he decided to go off and explore. Being the mischievous dog that he is, he almost collided with some giant balance balls in the back and scared himself silly.


After a few more tries on the steps, he managed to put one front paw on the middle disc. Then we moved on to a "balance beam" supported by balance discs on both ends. Chewy was very hesitant about getting on the board, and again decided running around to the side of the board was the best way to get the kibbles. Eventually we got all four of his paws on the board, and he shook SO hard. His tail was still up, so I assume he wasn't too scared, just very physically challenged. I guess his core strength is not as good as I thought it was. (He can stand up on his hind legs for minutes without holding onto anything!) He was not willing to take any steps forward on the board, and I had to sit on the floor and promise snuggles to entice him to jump off the side.

Why is the kibble so far away?!?

We moved back to the wobbly stairs, and this time Chewy got his front legs on the middle disc and his back legs on the lower disc with ease. I guess he gained some new perspective on the balance beam and decided this was a piece of cake. The photographer (my dad) was slacking a bit in his duties, so I don't have pictures of Chewy's accomplishments.

Chewy passed his assessment, and we will start taking classes next week! He was pretty tired when we got home, but after a power nap, he was back to his old hyper self. I don't know if we'll ever burn through all his energy!


  1. Wow! That sounds like such a fun time! I wish we had something like that around here.

    New follower here stopping by from the Monday Mischief Pet Blog Hop! I hope to see you around the blogosphere! Come by and see us at and :-)

  2. Sounds like it'll be a fun class once Chewy gets used to everything. Sadie also cheats when I try to lure her with treats. I wanted her to jump through a hula hoop and she just kept running around it to get the treats I was holding on the other side.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun. I couldn't help but think - when looking at that first exercise - at least he's limber! :-)

  4. How old are you Chewy if you have so much energy? I love agility but don't like the things that move under me like you do and I steal the treats any way I can so I totally understand. Love Dolly