Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Age is a Wonderful Thing But Not The Solution To All Your Dog Training Problems

A few weekends ago Iggy and I competed at the AAC (Agility Association of Canada) Ontario Regionals.  We had an incredible weekend and took first place in our height class.  Iggy ran his heart out for me and I was very proud of my boy.  The agility was great but I was also very aware of how well behaved he was while walking to the rings, waiting our turn and even sitting in his crate back at the tent.  He will be 6 years old in November and we have hit that great age in a dog when the brain is all there and they are young enough to enjoy it.

One of these four will be mine :)
When I work with people and there dogs I hear a lot of "Oh he jumps but that's just a puppy thing" or "He gets a little excited but I am sure he will outgrow that".   In my experience if you allow your puppy to practice a behaviour on a regular basis HE WILL NOT OUTGROW THAT.  I spend a lot of time socializing and training my puppies so that they grow up to have the skills that Iggy displayed, this did not come by age along.  Training will give you this adult dog, time alone will not, I take that back, time will but you will probably have to wait until they are 10+ and sore so they stop jumping and stop getting excited.

How to Introduce Your Dog To New Sights, Sounds and Smells?

You want to start small.  You do not want to overwhelm your dog on the first outing.  I start all of my dogs on the sidewalk in front of the Independant in Kemptville.  They have a long sidewalk and almost nobody walks by the far left.  You get the odd person so you can practice people up close but most of the excitement will happen far enough away so the dog can get used to it.  Depending on the dog, that decides what time will be my first socializing experience.  With my Siberian who was a little crazy and high strung I started at 8am on a Sunday morning, there was almost no one there.  You had cars moving around because of the Five Star and the Tim Hortons and the odd staff person would walk into the store.  I would go and work my post game (keep reading for more info on this pivotal game), just for about 10 minutes, until Max's brain arrived and then we could start working skills.  At first name game and sit working up to walking beside me.  We eventually could sit on the bench beside the doors at 10 on a Saturday morning and Max could sit calmly or perform skills regardless of the people walking by.

Post Game
Goal;  to teach the dog to maintain a loose leash regardless of the environment


  1. pick a leash length you will give your dog, appropriate to the environment
  2. put the hand holding the leash against your body and leave it there
  3. what is the dog doing?  Let the dog's behaviour dictate the next step
    • if he is pulling - take a step back in the opposite direction then go back to step 3
    • if the dog is looking at you - smile at the dog, you can ask for a behaviour e.g. come, do not fee the dog for just looking at you
    • if the dog is looking at the environment and the leash is loose - reward the dog 
Stay tuned to the blog my new puppy was born on June 2 and will come home in late July.  Looks like I will be getting another black and white Border Collie boy :). The blog will follow the training of the puppy.  What I will work on to get that great adult dog that Iggy is now showing me.