Thursday, 26 May 2011

Training day

Today I think I can talk for everyone when I say we had a great training day. Nothing dramatic, no major breakthroughs just training.

First we had a coffee, training? Of course if you turn up everyday to a walk jump straight out and walk your dog the time you are held up you can't be upset at them creating a fuss can you. So we made them wait a little while, Sky came out whilst we drank so he could mooch as we watched to see how he was doing today.

Not a peep from everyone so we started opening the doors and said not one word, cage doors open we waited, surely someone would make a mistake. I love to feel the tension, they practically crackle...nothing worse than being ok all the time is there, I think most of us hate stress but a bit tension and excitement is great. We of course had a couple of evacuators Sirus and Harv the usual suspects waiting to sneak or bulldoze out whilst another dog is brought out. We let them get it wrong and put them back in whilst the others got out to play. Both waited, desperate to join in and they did after waiting patiently to be invited out.

Once everyone had the chance to have a run and play we started the steady sit training. Little actions can make so much of a difference and our guys have started to treat sit as a prelude to wild running, this may of course not be the case but hey as gamblers the chance that they might made them excited. So we are working on correcting this( we have needed the correction rather than the dogs it is afterall something we have inadvertently trained). So we each invited a dog in popped them on the lead and did a steady, nothing is going happen sit. I love these kind of sits because it is stroke, tickle love time. The leaders come off and still they sit slow stroked appreciated by both, eyes going soft and their bodies relaxing into the sit.

To see them relaxed, enjoying the attention whilst others play with their friends is just so interesting, the frustration control we do evident. Instead of releasing them with an excited 'GO!' we walk asking them to step in line then with a tickle on the head they go back to what they love most whether that is rough play, sniffing or just running.

The likes of Molly T who is a busy little person, super sensitive and opinionated( not necessarily a bad thing)we don't 'tell her off' when she moves or shuffled we just place her back to where she should have been, whether this is once or twenty times. Roly who is an adrenalin junkie is also treat the same then they don't feel pressured or the need to appease by going all giddy and silly.

Elsie staffie and Stan have really progressed with this.

After all the the guys were done we worked with handling with Charlie and Murphy. Both boys are very similar though they look so different! Charlie despite being a lab is cautious of new people and new situations, despite knowing Alex and Sam well he isn't often physically handled by them so we are working on this. Murphy is just a bigger exaggerated version of Charlie. So I haven't handled either today, Sam worked on Murphy first just long firm strokes, ignoring giddy over the top behaviour and praising staying with her instead of coming to me. Watching for his soft face returning keeping the pressure off as much as possible without backing off he settled and even when released he chose to play next to her.

Charlie knew straight away something was going to happen so he wouldn't hang around until Sam caught him, avoidance is a sensible option but just doesn't help in this situation so Sam just kept at it until she could pop him on the lead. Once settled he was just gently held, arm around him, he wasn't released until all the tension had left then once he got to that stage he was allowed an excited release. That mad go and run was enough motivation for him to be happy to be caught up and worked on again. After a break and a play Alex then repeated.

Willow being the youngest had a watered down version and was no bother at all and is rarely fearful now...

So whilst I am sure it is probably not a very exciting post I have thoroughly enjoyed spending a bit extra time working on little things, sharing time with the guys and communicating with them, there are times where I am sure they think we are merely Chauffeurs delivering them to their fun. Is this what dog walkers do do? Chauffeur?! I like the day long contact, the interaction that that means, the involvement in their lives. So the next time I complain about the little wassicks doing something tell me to get a grip it could be worse I could just be walking them round the block!

I am proud of us and the guys today.

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