Radio, snow and dates!

January 23, 2013

Rileysnowdog

With Steve Scruton leaving BBC Essex I did wonder if I would still get an invite as I would guess the show must be having a complete freshen up, new brooms and all! I did wonder if the sound advice would survive but I am pleased to report it has, though it will be different. Mark Punter the new presented came here this morning to record some top tips, it was really strange to be doing that at home, maybe it was because we were in the living room in front of the fire and not in the work room! (see below for times)

I have had Bonnie staying this week, Jo has been in India, soaking up some sun, though she did say on Facebook that she looked like a red lolly pop as the humidity was so high! We haven’t suffered with that problem  this week!

Thanks to Janice for  the photo of Riley enjoying the snow, he is so like Bonnie, she has looked just like that most of the week, not wanting to come in from playing with her Mum in the snow!

Here are some training dates, as normal all groups have a maximum of 5 dogs and handlers!

Recall training:

Taking place here at Bury Farm

  • Wednesday 30th January recall (beginner to intermediate dogs and handlers)
  • Saturday 9th Feb recall (advanced training for the more experienced amongst you, you do know who you are, if in doubt do ask me please?)

Group walk training:

One of these will be in Hylands Park the other to be confirmed according to demand, either Dunmow, Bishop Stortford’s Thorley Park or the Discovery centre on the A130 near Braintree.

  • Wednesday 13th February walk
  • Saturday 23rd February walk

BBC Essex Radio

You can hear me on Friday 1st February

A new format on BBC Essex Radio, with Steve Scruton off travelling the world and Mark Punter in charge, you can hear a dog training tip from me daily next week, culminating with me live in the studio, answering dog questions from listeners, on Friday between 2.15pm and 3pm, if you miss the show you can always catch up on the iplayer for the following 7 days!

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Betty learning to sit

and down

High five!

Betty watching me!

Well this blog is really an exciting one for me to write, I am so excited by Betty and her training at just 11 weeks old!!!! As you won’t be able to guess what she did before I finish writing 🙂 I will just have to tell you :).

Betty went “down” on a word command only when she was 10 feet from me!!! yes she did! If you are not as amazed as me I want to know how come you are so clever:) ? And I will come to you for training!

It was just last Wednesday that she went down in front of me for the first time without my usual hand signal, and I think it only took that long because I have been teaching her sit, down and high-five! Normally I stick to 2 positions until a puppy gets them before introducing more, so she was slower than my other puppies have been to go down without a signal close by, but I think it has paid off! I obviously still have a lot to learn about dog training!

I haven’t ever asked a puppy of this age to go down at a distance from me before but 2 things happened earlier in the day that told me that Betty was cleverer than I was letting her be!

firstly the stuff we were doing in the kitchen and garden were so easy for her, I see it as easy for a puppy when they do the exercise really fast, and she was jet propelled!

But secondly it was when I was play retrieving with her in the garden. We had got into the habit when I threw a toy of her coming and lying behind me when I was sat on the grass, today I thought that is weird how I have let her do that, but like every dog owner I want success for her and I had continued to accept this as good enough, mmmm I thought, she is a Collie and I know her training genes, and she is well-bred for training, I wonder?  The next time she laid behind me with the toy, I didn’t look round, I stayed looking forward and said, daftly I know:) “Where’s Betty, oh Betty puppy, Betty Boop” and she came to the front of me! Well that was it now I knew she was being a Collie!!!! Collies will always try to control the game, herd the person and toy together, and that is what she was doing, albeit in a small way, she was turning me, just as Collies turn sheep! So no more turning from me, I threw the toy a couple more times, both times she went behind and both times I said “where’s Betty” and she came back round even faster, the third time I threw the toy she came straight to me in front! What is great is that not only have I made a big step in her retrieve I know more about Betty now too a lot more!

I must add when I say throwing the toy, I do only throw the toy a few feet from us, it is hot and she is young, I don’t want her exhausted:)

Anyway that is why I was thinking I have to push this little girl a bit more, not in a pressured way but simply ask and see what happens, I did just that. Which is why we came to be walking around the paddock, me with Betty’s dinner in my pocket and having done a few of the normal sits and downs and comes and high fives all as we walked around the paddock, I waited for her to wander away from me a little and said “Betty down” and she did, so having given her 5 bits of food in my excitement:) I continued to wait for her to go a bit further and try again! And, as I said before, she did it!!

No holding us back now, I am going to have to rack my brains for this little one to see what more we can do, while of course keeping these bits going!! 🙂

I must add too that since that first time Betty went down without the hand signal I sense her listening to me more, I could a bit before, but it is like now she has one word she wants to understand more! She is certainly responding appropriately when I say things like “where is it” when playing and similar. She may not know the words completely yet, but she is trying too and the best dog to train is the willing one:)!

I look forward to hearing about the words and signals your dogs understand and/or how they have surprised you:)?

My puppy group this morning were talking about how their puppies were causing havoc in the living room in the evening, yet feeling that 8pm was too early to leave them out in the kitchen when the family are ready to relax. I have to say I disagreed, 8pm is late enough for baby puppy’s, my Betty is only in the living room if she is dozy and cuddles on my lap or I am just going in and out again. For the most part she stays in the kitchen and utility room, where there are hard floors, at this time in her life carpet is not understood and she is likely to toilet on that type of floor, it is just too like grass in her little mind. By keeping her out of the rooms with carpet, at least for playtimes, toilet training goes smoother and if she does have an accident (usually my fault for not getting her out!) it is easy to clean up!

My puppy owners all reported bad and silly behaviour from their puppy’s in the evening, behaviour worse than any other time of the day, this is often a sign of tiredness and a resistence to resting, by keeping the puppy in the familiar sleeping area they will settle themselves and not develop bad behaviour issues. I would say that many of the behaviour problems I see in older puppies often stems from them being over stimulated in early life, having too much attention can often lead to as bad if not worse behaviour than too little! As the grown up we have to tell them when enough is enough, just as we do with young children.

After 8pm I still take Betty out to the toilet as needed, give her a last meal around 9.30pm, then out to the toilet until I see her have a last pooh! After that she is in the kitchen until I go to bed, when I take her out for one last toilet, this week she then comes upstairs and into her crate for the night, by next week she should be in her crate downstairs. I like my puppy to have the first week, where I shut the crate door at night, by my bed to give them comfort, after that they are fine in the crate anywhere, and I feel okay about it too! I must confess the first two evenings I had Betty, I did keep running around after her until around 10pm, this just meant I was wacked and if I had kept doing that I would have enjoyed her less in the day, and it was not necessary, we all need down time.

Last night Betty had her first vaccination, 😦 she was so pleased to see everyone in the vets waiting room, her tail didn’t stop wagging! She was especially pleased to meet the 12 week old Labrador sitting next to us, who’s poor owner had bite marks all up her wrists, though the puppy looked very sweet! Betty was wearing her collar and lead, which she is used to now, and the Labrador was not, though four weeks older, her owner commented on Betty wearing hers and said she had not introduced the collar as yet! What a shame, the puppy was now ready to go out formally and would have no previous experience of wearing the collar!

One of the reasons I introduce the collar and lead and anything else needed later is to give the puppy something to think about, it is giving them these tasks that helps reduce play biting, a bored puppy, that is one that just gets to do their own thing all the time will be worse at play biting for sure! In fact I do not wait, as you will know by now, to take my puppy out. Now I do not take them to high risk places where many dogs will have been, but my friends houses and the paddocks near my house are all great for stretching and solialising and training, all of which helps prevent the puppy learning and practising behaviour we do not want!

Betty yelped when she had the injection:( and was very sad afterwards, sleeping most of the evening, unusually for her! I opted not to have her micro chipped yet as that is even more painful and I do not want her to be anxious about the Vets so early in life. I will wait until she is a little older as she seems to have a low pain threshold, unlike Pie who didn’t flinch at injections or the chip! It is a touch life for the young:). Today is the first time her pooh has been less than firm (despite all the garden bits she enthusiastically eats) which is the stress and possibly the vaccination, though she is fine in herself! I am sure she will be completely back to normal tomorrow.

Betty on the move!

Betty with some of her sisters!

Betty being important

Up until today I had only taken Betty on several short car journey’s, I hadn’t planned it that way, it was how my life was last week, she was fine in the car but a bit squeaky. It might have been easy to think she didn’t like the car because of the squeaking, but I suspected that she was already finding the trips exciting! Yesterday I had to go to Colchester and I decided to drop in to see Annie and the remaining puppy’s with Betty. The journey is about forty minutes and Betty squeaked a bit for the first ten minutes in her crate, then slept!  No more squeaking coming home either, I will ensure we do more longer trips over the coming weeks to make sure she learns to settle in the car.

It is only because I know her temperament and my experience of dogs, that I knew it was the life experience she was having that was producing the wrong behaviour in the car, how easy it is to go wrong with puppy’s, but once spotted can be put right easily too!

Betty was very excited to be back at her first home, she was full of herself with the other puppy’s, I could almost hear her telling them what a girl of the world she is now. she strutted round them full of self-importance! Her Mum Gracie was so pleased to see her, Gracie is a lovely Mum and even loves to play with her babies, many bitches are fed up with their pups by this time.

Betty was a little more demure in the garden with the bigger dogs though!

Bronte is Annie’s puppy from Buffy, (see “a story of a whelping” blog) and two weeks younger than Betty, I am sure Bronte and Betty will be great friends as they grow up! Annie’s dogs are like extended pack to mine and vice versa as we are great friends, meet regularly and have each others dogs to stay.

Annie's puppy the long awaited Bronte!

Sarah giving great body language for the recall

Sharon looking great on heelwork!

Sarah looking very pleased with Charlie!

We start by getting the short recall right!

more short recall for Charlie

Jane and Freddy can do the short recall too!

A lovely shot of great lead work!

We all need a tea break, well we had worked hard!

We had a great morning, and the sun shone for us too! The dogs responded well to the strutured training, by the time we felt brave enough to leave the safety of the fenced garden and go into the paddock,  the dogs were responding well. Anne and Sharon had been to the training session a month before so were able to advance more, I was thrilled to see the improvement in their dogs and in their handling!

Recall on the long line out in the fields

The long line is our safety net!

Let the training begin! Here is the first step of preventing or curing food possession in any dog, any age!

Follow the steps on the clip and repeat every day for  2 weeks, if your dog is already food possessive you may need to continue for a month, it will work, if you have any questions or comments please post them?

Dry food is ideal for this process, wet food can be used, but if you have a food possessive dog please consider changing to a good quality dry food. Contact me if you want more guidance.

Please show tell all the dog owners you know about this simple method of preventing food possession, it will save lives and injury to people!

More information coming on upcoming posts, watch this space!

Pepe having a drink!

The recall training session this saturday was great fun, the thing that struck me most was how good the handlers were at concentrating on their own dogs! Not easy when they were all off lead, but the dogs responded to the handlers concentration and stayed focused!

We had 2 Jack Russell Pups and 2 GSD pups, all of which were great fun, the owners have done a great job of playing hide and seek with their puppies before the training session, which proved the value of this exercise once again, as the puppies were much more interested in their handlers than the other dogs and handlers!

Pepe and Janice were in attendance and Janice very kindly forwarded me this photo of Pepe which I am glad to share with you. Pepe is a huge handsome GSD, Janice has put in some great work with him and it looks to be paying off! I know Sue Horn has been a great support Janice, so well done to both of you! I look forward to working with you again soon!