Learning Together

We attended our first puppy training session last week.

There were four dogs in the class, with screens in place to help the puppies concentrate. A mat to mark the place to put your dog’s settle bed, and a chair for the human.

Zeke and I were next to a very vocal and excited puppy, which was perfect as it was exactly the distraction I was looking for. Mr cool as a cucumber Zeke wasn’t at all phased, already motivated by the variety of smelly treats I took (I did mention he’s a Labrador!). Focusing on everything and responding at 100mph.

We were given a homework booklet, and a follow up text reminding us what we covered in class. We received a link to lots of online resources when we signed up. I knew it would be professional, but it was really informative too. My training experience has been focused on adult dogs and adolescents. Training puppies is a new experience for me too.

Since the class, we’ve been doing our homework (of course). Practicing settle, marker words to reinforce name, and hand touch exercises. As well as “drop”, although I’ve confusingly already been working on “leave” because of the water pipe incident, so I’ve stuck with the same term. And “sit” too, but Zeke was already doing that, so I’ve super charged it by making no hand gestures, hiding the treat, and adding some distance.

While the terms may change, the principle remains the same. It’s all based on positive reinforcement. There’s no use of “no” and definitely nothing punitive, ever. Focusing on rewarding the behaviour you want, and ignoring what you don’t.

Zeke has been obsessed with dandelion flowers in the garden, but not the daisies. He goes round ripping them up. I have no idea what they did to offend him, but that’s probably a good example of something I ignore. He’s never in the garden alone, so I tend to distract him by producing a ball, or squeaking and chucking a toy. If I focused on what he is doing it would become a game of chase, and one I’d never win as he’s so fast!

Until next time






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