This week during one of my Beginners training classes we looked at basic moving Heelwork. This is starting to show dogs where the heel position is, how to stay closer to their owners while moving, focus work and often involves some level of self control from bouncy and excitable dogs!
We have a bouncy excitable dog in a gorgeous 14 month Parsons JRT – we introduced the clicker to help his mum mark the best behaviours he was offering as when he started with us just 2 months ago he was barking at all other dogs he saw in frustration and excitement, didn’t know how to focus on his mum at all, and wanted to play with every dog within the area! We’ve helped guide this dog’s mum on how and when to use the clicker (it can be an art form In itself just getting timing right and knowing what is the Behaviour we want to highlight!) and are seeing dramatic improvements each week and hear of how better he is doing on walks also.
This week we looked at beginners Heelwork and I spoke to this dogs mum about not being too focused when he bounced and leaps during the Heelwork but to Click once he has feet on the ground and can walk just a step or two. We started here then clicked for 3/4 steps on the floor … Literally within 4 mins this dog walk walking next to his mum looking up archer face, trotting along as if he had done it for 14 months and the bouncing and leaping had pretty much stopped! We were thrilled – but of course I was so busy teaching I didn’t get to film it which is a shame as the progression was amazing to watch!
So with methods geared to suit each dogs character and breed individually and a little time working with a dogs’ owner on breaking things down and focusing on the areas we want to achieve small results can happen quite quickly which in turn lead to progression and result become that bit bigger and continue 🙂 We don’t need to rush into achieving the full Picture in one go but continued repetition and becoming potentially frustrated if that doesn’t suit the dog, but instead making training easier to understand for our dogs means they will learn small pieces of an exercise and enjoy it more and then linking together becomes a natural progression!
Moral of the story? Every dog is different and there is never one single way of training an exercise to all dogs – finding the right method and reward for each dog will lead to more dogs enjoying the learning process, more owners enjoying working with their dogs and better communication with our K9 friends all round!
Go have some fun with your dog(s) this weekend – however you dog does that 😀