I went into see Mark Punter at the Chelmsford studio to record my top dog training tips for his show this week. Mark will play one each afternoon, on Friday I am there for a live phone in! you can listen again on the iplayer if you miss the show on Friday! So no excuse. There is one top tip per day and I chose them this time from my clients suggestions, so your fault if you don’t like them :). I would really appreciate it if you can listen in and if you enjoy the show go on the BBC Essex Facebook page and let them know you like me please? That’s if you do!

As I arrived who should I bump into coming out the front door but Batman! I took a photo, not the best sorry, but wanted you to know I wasn’t making it up!!

You never know who you are going to meet!

You never know who you are going to meet!

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Puppies at five weeks!

October 5, 2012

Puppies at five weeks!

Are they even more gorgeous? They are 6 weeks old today, and every day sees them going further afield, yesterday was their first time going to the toilet outside. It takes a few outings for a litter to feel safe enough to toilet away from the nest, clever Mother Nature protects the young by inhibiting toileting on new ground before the ground is familiar to them. This is the reason, when dog owners first take puppies home, they won’t go to the toilet on walks to begin with, this behaviour is designed to keep the young safe from predators. But it is just the reason I want to get the puppies outside as soon as possible to get them used to going outdoors and speed up their house training.

Next Monday  I will start their training, sits downs and little recalls, regular grooming and a  car ride, the more normal this stuff becomes the easier they will be in their new homes! Not all sold yet!

Thank you to Jo at Jobo design for the great photo’s!

You must have thought I had forgotten the blog! But no just busy training my dogs and my clients, there are just not enough hours in a day it seems!!

I have been remembering my dear Pie and what a bad dog owner/trainer I am! I didn’t train Pie until the Saturday after our messed up session, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, too busy sulking really :)! By the Saturday evening when I took him for a walk all my senses were alert and ready to learn what had gone wrong, and I must confess his recall problem had been building up for a while, at least that is what I see now! To understand I will explain how it started, 18 months ago when I was first in Italy with Pie and walking on the mountains about a week or so after we arrived I lost Pie! I was so busy looking for the way on the mountainside and trying to keep upright I forgot my dog for a moment, as I guess he forgot me, we were both on very new terrain! I had no  idea which way he had gone and I was soon very nearly hysterical trying to find him and shouting for him all to no avail, I was scrambling about on very difficult ground, and eventually sat crying, fearing he had fallen to the bottom of some ravine, regretting bringing him to this inhospitable country! When there he was beside me!! He was so puffed out, I believe he had run all the way back to the village to look for me, thinking I had turned back, he was as exhausted as I was, but otherwise all in one piece! The outcome for him was that I was not able to lose him again, he was so on to where I was after that I just didn’t have to worry again! At least not till last week!

We have been living back on the flat land of England for the last year, of course it is possible for him to see me from much further away, and over time we have both become complacent and I hadn’t noticed:), on top of that when I do take him out with Betty (not too often) I am concentrating on Betty, when out with Pie on his own, I am grateful to relax and not think too much about dog training!  As a result we had both become sloppy, not Pie’s fault as he has soon proven!

Betty was there too! Magic is at ease with the dogs!

Having spent a few days not giving him attention unless in response to a command from me, Pie was much more ready to listen to me! On top of this I became much more difficult to please on our walk, hiding from him and insisting on him staying closer, he was only too pleased to oblige! I have been taking his dinner on his walks to remind him how to work for his meals again, something he has really enjoyed doing again. I had forgotten that he likes to work for me on his walks, after all he is a Collie! I will stay on his case for a few more weeks as yet, but he is becoming more popular with me by the day:) and he must so that he can continue to help other people with their dogs!

Those of you reading this that have been to see me at Barbary have met our new visitor Magic the pony in the front paddock. Magic belongs to Adam and Ian of Barnards Bridge, they rehomed Magic a year or so ago from a girl who had rescued him from the gypsy’s. Magic had learnt not to trust people and is a troubled pony, only small so you can imagine he would be easy to bully by badly intentioned people! Magic had come on a lot with Adam and Ian’s care and love, but not being horsey they didn’t know how to move him on to the next level and asked me to help. I am enjoying having Magic to stay, it is great to see a pony in the paddock, it brings the outside to life!Luckily he seems completely at ease with dogs and is happy for Pie and Betty to run round him! I will keep you posted on Magic’s progress 🙂

Betty is growing fast and getting more whiskers! She keeps me constantly amused and entertained, it is like she has a great sense of humour and loves to share the fun! Below are some up to date photo’s of Betty with Pie, her Daddy being very patient!

Magic in the front paddock!

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Maggie brought Smarty and Dennis to visit! Smarty is Betty’s brother and a lot bigger than Betty! I paricularly love the two action shots, one where it looks like Dennis is flying in the background 🙂 and the one with Smarty and Betty playing!

Maggie and I had a fun time showing off our puppy’s tricks to each other and Maggie gave me a lesson in clicker training! Maggie attended all my behaviour and instructor courses, she was an inspirational student and continues to inspire me! Maggie is so creative in her training and inspires me to try new stuff, how lucky I am to know so many great dog trainers:)! I am a slow learner and Maggie was very patient with me, think I have got it now! I have tried clicker training before and given up as I just didn’t get it!

I hope you like the photo’s?

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!

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!

As dog owners I believe we all have a responsibility to help members of the public that are afraid of dogs, not by pushing our dogs at them, but by demonstrating the dog is under control and therefor no threat!

Never dismiss anyone’s fear of dogs, it is real and respect of another’s feelings is the first step to helping them get passed their fear.

I was out with one of my dogs one day near the beach, I stood by the car changing my boots, my dog Teddy, was running round nearby, when someone walked into the car park, Teddy was near the entrance and though not taking any notice of the person was obviously to close for comfort for this person, I saw the  scared look and the person freeze, my first instinct was to call out “it’s okay he won’t hurt you” but immediately realised that was irrelevant for this person and instead shouted “down” to Teddy, who hit the deck immediately and I called him to me, once I had him with me I apologised for the scare they had had, and put Teddy on the lead to further reassure them that they were safe.

I knew they were safe with Teddy on or off the lead, but this person did not, I could see the surprise on the persons face and the relaxed look that soon replaced the scared look. Teddy and I did more in that moment he obeyed me than any verbal reassurance from me could ever have done!