Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

Betsy

Betsy

photo photo(1)

Betsy, Bonnie and Jess! Oz came too but managed to not get in a photo!

I wish you all a very Happy, healthy and prosperous new year and may all your dreams come true!

I have enjoyed my time off playing more with my horse who always manages to remind me about my dog training! It is so good for me to have him as my hobby and in some ways he is more of a pet than my dogs! I often hear myself thinking or saying Red wants to go out, Red wants more hay, Red wants to pull his carriage today etc. In fact I sound remarkably like my clients, who fortunately often know exactly what their dogs want too! All of which is fine as long as we get what we want as well!

I am lucky that with my horse I am aware that if Red kicks the stable door to get my attention or to speed me up in getting his food, that if I respond to his demands his behaviour would get worse, and even in time he could break out of his stable door. I remember Betty doing something similar as a puppy when she very cleverly started carrying her food bowl round near feed time, I was very impressed and fed her, before long her bowl was whizzing past my head across the kitchen, it was then I realised that I must not be so impressed!! It took a some self-control to not respond to her demands, I so wanted to laugh as the bowl landed on the worktop beside me!

Remember this year it is great to know what they want, but be sure you only respond to the behaviour you want to encourage! Happy new year!

Zippitydoodah!

Zippitydoodah!

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Comment from Teresa!

July 8, 2010

Hi Avril,

I just had to let you know how much I have been enjoying the progress of Betty, she is adorable, the daily updates you are giving are brilliant, if I did at sometime in the future be fortunate enough to have a puppy I would feel much more prepared and able to cope from some of the knowledge you have given.

These daily blog’s have made compelling reading and I am alway’s looking in my inbox for the next one to come in, it’s almost like reading a very good book and not being able to put it down so thank you Avril.

I have tried to submit a comment but I keep getting a response which says YOU DID NOT SUCCEED PLEASE TRY AGAIN WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS despite using my email address which is valid, I have to say I am not very good when it comes to IT so it could me doing something silly.

Thanks once again for all the Blog’s keep them coming Avril and well done With best regards Teresa

Thank you for your kind comments Teresa, it is great to get feedback, it encourages me:) I am not sure why you can’t post, but you are not the first one to say this, anyone else having problems? I will get on to WordPress and see if I can find out why and get back to you! I do know that commenting direct from the mail isn’t working, can you try logging on the site and trying again Teresa?

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:)?

Betty waits for her turn with the yoghurt pot!

I do like yoghurt 🙂 not that I have one every day, over the years I have always given my older dog the pot when I am done, to lick out. First it was Truly and Teddy would wait for second pickings, when Truly died Teddy got the pot first and when Pie came along he got it second. Now it is Pie’s turn!

Betty has her turn with the pot!

Now that Pie has taught Betty not to jump on him, it seemed a good time to try out the yoghurt pot with Betty, I don’t give my young dogs food when I am eating generally, but I think this is a great way of emphasing the pecking order to Betty, and I love to see if she has accepted the order of life. As you can see in the photo, Betty pretends not to be interested in what Pie is doing, yet lies close enough to know, and the second he walks away from the pot she has it!

Does this look familiar? Have you got a photo of the real thing to share?

Spring is coming and the dogs will be spending more time out there, typically I am sure to be having a lot of questions about how to stop the puppies turning the garden into a bomb site! In anticipation here are some tips for those of you who are keen gardeners and do not want to lose your favourite plants this summer!

The good news first, dogs grow out of gardening by around their second birthday! If they don’t, it is not normal behaviour and you need to come and see me to correct the misunderstanding they have!

While growing it is natural for a puppy to explore their world and the garden is a wonderful place for them to do this, eating dirt, chewing sticks up, eating plants, digging around for insects, or just to see what is there is all normal behaviour, and if you fight this natural need to explore you will create more behaviour problems for yourself.

Management is the answer, by either fencing off an area that you give over to the puppy, or protecting your precious shrubs by fencing them off, to protect them from your puppy will make your life simpler, and allow your puppy to develop without upsetting you!

Ideally create a digging area for your puppy that is more interesting than the rest of the garden, this can be an earth area or you could make a sand pit, to reduce the mud you might get in the house. For a sand pit/digging area to be interesting you will have to dig it over once a day, add toys and objects of interest to the area, preferably bury these bits to make it more fun to find them!

Remember if you have just dug a part of the garden, or even better planted bulbs or plants, your puppy will make a bee line for this spot, your scent will make him think it must be interesting, prevent the puppy having access to this area for a few days until your scent has faded.

I am always delighted to have your queries and comments on any of the articles as it can lead to more clarity! Do you have a photo of your puppy digging in the garden for me to add to this post please?

For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!

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!