Hello Again!

Needless to say this blog had taken a bit of a back seat but I’m going to do my best to get back to blogging with a focus on the reasons why I started this blog. I want to share more about local products, places, services and events as well as sharing training progress and tips.

So thought I would share a little catch up with what’s happening. Lots of exciting stuff and I hope to share some of the upcoming events and news with you guys.

Angus will be 6 months tomorrow on the 13th July and he has gone from a little cute pup to a handsome teenage doggy.

He attended his first dog show in May and although he didn’t compete, we met up with his father, it was so lovely to see him again.

Bonnie is getting on great, she has really taken on the big sis role and loves to play with Angus.

I’ve been helping out at dog and puppy training classes recently and even got to help teach a class with another assistant while the trainer was away at the IMDT conference.

I will be attending a Suzanne Clothier Seminar on 15th July. The seminar covers Relationship Centred Training and also Enriched Puppy Protocol. I’m super excited for a day of learning and can’t wait to see what new info and ideas I will take away from the seminar.

I will be taking a Practical Dog Training course with the same tutors that held the previous training course I completed. This is a 4 week course and will involve practical training with a local animal rescue centre’s dogs. I’m looking forward to gaining more experience with working with other dogs and it will be nice for the rescue dogs to get some extra enrichment and training too.

In August I will be attending a Tellington TTouch Workshop held by Jetta Reis. It will be really interesting to see the techniques and how I can apply them to my own dogs.

I am also doing the couch to 5k program as I entered the Waggy Races which is a 5k race where you run with your dog. I’ve entered with Bonnie and I’m hoping I can progress enough to jog the full 5k but we will see how my training goes!

Lots of exciting stuff ahead so hopefully I can share these with you guys!


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Dog Behaviour Class 4

Class learning

Again we covered two topics in this class;

Motivational Techniques

This covered motivation methods of training dogs, looking at the different motivations of dogs including physical, behavioural, play etc. We also looked at different breeds and dog groups – what they were breed for, what motivates them, common issues and things to be aware of or look out for.

Dog Training

This covered what is dog training, why do we do it or need to do it, what are the benefits, what are the most important behaviours to train.

Assignment progress

First assignment was handed in on time woo hoo!

The third assignment is due in on 31st October – yes we still have class on Halloween night! I’ve got about half of it done so will be finished in time for Monday!

The second assignment is due in on 7th November and that will be started once I finish the third assignment.

Reading list progress

Dogs That Bite and Fight – still in progress!

Outside of class learning

As it’s that time of the year where there can be a lot of fireworks you will see a lot of advice trying to be helpful where it states to ignore the dog when it is afraid in case it reinforces and validates the dog fear. Well no need to worry about feeling mean while ignoring your dog during fireworks or thunder – you cannot reinforce fear! Only behaviours can be reinforced, in fact positive interaction and conditioning can change a fearful response to a happier emotion! Check out the useful links below which will explain it much better than I can.

http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/you-cant-reinforce-fear-dogs-and-thunderstorms

http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/reinforcing-fear-ii-thunder-phobia-iii

And on a lighter note look how adorable this little Lemur is getting weighed!


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Dog Behaviour Class 3

Class learning

Again we covered two topics in this class;

Learning Theory

This covered all the scientific theory behind learning and methods of training such as classical and operant conditioning, desensitisation, reinforcement schedules, extinction etc. Some people might find it a bit dry but I am utterly fascinated by it!

Puppy problems

This covered training specific to puppies such as nipping, mouthing, house training etc. I personally found this very useful as obviously we adopted Bonnie as an adult so we have no experience with puppies. I’d love to get a puppy in future either from a rescue or from a proper reputable breeder (not a puppy farm or backyard breeder) so that we can have that experience of socialising and raising a puppy.

Assignment progress

First assignment is nearly done so that will be finished in time for hand in this Monday.

The second assignment is due in on 7th November and that will be started once I finish the first assignment.

The third assignment has been given out this week for hand in on 14th November. This assignment isn’t another 1000 word easy thank god! Instead we have to define different examples of the four types of operant conditioning.

Reading list progress

Dogs That Bite and Fight – in progress, really insightful book around aggression that isn’t really covered in detail in other books

Outside of class learning

I am only including one link in this section for this week because this really and truly spoke to me and I think every dog owner should read it, especially for any owners of nervous dogs. Remember “Pavlov is always on your shoulder!”

The Rational Participant by Denise Fenzi

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My motivation for learning to understand dogs better ❤

Hope this week is treating you guys well so far and catch up soon!


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Dog Behaviour Class 2

I was gutted to miss out on our week in review post this week as we had a little streak going but things have been hectic around here. I’m not letting any more posts slip behind schedule though so here is my update on the dog behaviour course!

I’m going to format these posts a bit better so it’s easier for me to track progress etc so here we go.

Class learning

Again we covered two topics in this class;

Canine Life Stages and Learning

This covered the importance of socialisation (defined as learning how to recognise and interact with the species with which it cohabits – kids, adults, other dogs, cats, livestock etc) and habituation (defined as becoming accustomed to environment stimuli – household noises, traffic, fireworks, surfaces etc). It also defined the different development and life stages for a dog including the importance and effects of socialisation, habituation and potential problems at each stage.

Learn to Earn training program

This covered the training protocols for the learn to earn program. This program is recommended for dogs with poor impulse control that may excessively bark, jump, mouth or dogs that are quite “pushy” for attention or are a bit over the top in general. It is a program where the dog must earn all its rewards so that it can develop impulse control and realise that patience and behaving calm is what gains access to things it likes such as food, throwing a ball, releasing through a door, getting to greet and play with other dogs, getting stroked etc.

Assignment progress

I still haven’t completed the first assignment. I have done most of my research and background reading and will be hopefully get it finished this week. It is taking me longer than expected due to being quite busy with work and also due to making sure I put enough time and care into research and compiling the references for the essay.

A second assignment has also been handed out which is due on 7th November. This is another 1000 word essay based on the importance of socialisation and whether socialisation is necessary only at the “critical socialisation window”. I’ll need to pick up the pace to make sure I’m not too pressed for time!

Reading list progress

In Defence of Dogs – done, fantastic in-depth read, actually re-reading for assignment 1

How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves – in progress, great practical easy to read book

Dogs That Bite and Fight – in progress, really insightful book around aggression that isn’t really covered in detail in other books

The Other End of The Leash – done and really enjoyed it but could do with re-reading as it was a long time ago!

Outside of class learning

I follow quite a lot of facebook pages, groups and subscribe to channels on youtube pertaining to dogs so I usually come across a few interesting videos or resources so I thought having these grouped here would be great for future use or if anyone else finds them interesting or informative!

I finished watching the following 2 part series this week and I really like how it shows that even inexperienced trainers can train their own dog to do something quite impressive through the power of positive reinforcement! I also like how they cover dog body language and signals which is important in respecting our dog’s emotional state.

This short video from Chirag Patel is a great reminder to be aware of our dog’s true feelings about being petted and stroked, and to ensure our dog is enjoying it or help them form positive associations to truly enjoy it rather than just tolerate it for our sake.

I love this quote and feel like it’s something we should all strive towards with our dogs. There are always going to be difficult situations we get into with our dogs where we have to ask them to “trust us” whether it’s navigating a particularly stressful situation out of necessity or emergency, performing first aid procedures on our dog that could be stressed and could lash out in pain, asking them to leave a really tasty looking scrap of food that is dangerous to them and so on. If we have continually built up our relationship and trust with our dogs through positive means these “deposits” add up then when we have to take out “withdrawals” in situations like I mentioned then our balance stays in the positive.

Finally some interesting research was done around children and dogs’ abilities to follow advice from adult humans. Those of you that have both young children and dogs what do you think of the research? Maybe it would be a fun experiment to try at home!

http://news.yale.edu/2016/09/26/dogs-ignore-bad-advice-humans-follow

If you made it through all of that well done (click – treat :)) and for your efforts have a picture of Bonnie hiding under our recliner because why not!

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Bonnie’s little dark enclosed den

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Dog Behaviour Class 1

Monday was the first class of the dog behaviour course I mentioned back in my Exciting News!  post. Although it was a long day as I left the house at 8am and didn’t return until 10pm it was totally worth it! I was super excited and had all my supplies and bag packed up ready to go the night before. After work I went to a coworkers house to relax for a bit and have some dinner then arrived at the class for it starting at 7.30pm.

First up in the class we received our course handbook which had all the info on the course including what topics would be covered each week and also our assignment schedule.  We also received our first assignment which is due in on week 4 (24th October). The classes were also rescheduled to start at 7pm from next week on so it means we get away a bit earlier woo hoo!

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My supplies – notebook, notepad, pens and current book I’m reading (Dogs that fight and bite)

In this class we covered two topics;

Are dogs wolves? – This covered domestication of dogs and how previous studies done on captive wolves’ behaviour are not relevant in dog training

Reading dog’s body language and signs of stress – This covered how to read dog’s body language through ears, eyes, head, body and tail, as well as stress signals. We also had a class discussion analysing photo examples of body language and talking about why dogs might have difficulty reading other dogs signals or why dogs may not give adequate signals.

Both topics I have already read about myself but it was great to hear about the topics from professionals themselves and also to have the discussions with the rest of the class. The first assignment is also related to the first topic of domestication of dogs and has a 1000 word limit so I’m looking forward to the weekend to get that all hammered out.

I’m so glad I went ahead with doing the course and I’m super excited to see how much I progress and learn over the next 10 weeks!


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Exciting News!

As you know from our blog posts I am really interested in all aspects of dog training whether it’s useful things such as loose lead walking, fun tricks to build your bond, behaviour modification to increase confidence and many other useful applications. I find dog behaviour and training utterly fascinating and I’m always trying to better myself to give Bonnie the best life I can. As my first dog Bonnie wasn’t necessarily the easiest dog I could’ve asked for but in return she has taught me first hand how to be a better dog owner and trainer which I am so grateful for!

So onto the exciting news – I have enrolled for a 10 week course “Better Dog Training and Behaviour Through Better Understanding” which is an accredited course to the OCNNI Level 3 (equivalent to an A Level) run by two respected Northern Ireland trainers Robin Bates and Sandra Gilliland.  It will look at all training methods to research and analyse but we will be using only positive training techniques practically which is the training method I prefer to use.

The course not only covers theory lessons and discussions but also covers practical sessions including running a class and creating a behavioural rehabilitation program. I am seriously so excited! I don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity to work with dogs in the future ( I do hope I can though!) but if I ever get the chance this will help begin my journey and if not it just means I personally have a better understanding for Bonnie and any dogs or foster dogs we have in future!

We have received the recommended reading list below so I’m going to try to start swotting up before the course starts on Monday 3rd October!

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Bonnie helping me swot up – reading In Defence of Dogs

Recommended Reading List

  • Life Skills for Puppies: Helen Zulch and Daniel Mills
  • Dogs that Bite and Fight; David Ryan – Ordered
  • Choosing The Right Dog For You: Gwen Bailey
  • The APBC Book of Companion Animal Behaviour 3rd Edition: Edited by David Appleby.
  • How to Behave So your Dog Behaves: Dr Sophia Yin, DVM,MS – Ordered
  • Dogs: Raymond Coppinger and Laura Coppinger
  • Excel-Erated Learning: Pamela J. Reid Ph.D.
  • Don’t Shoot the Dog. Karen Pryor – Ordered and arrived
  • Genetics and the Social Behaviour of the dog: Scott and Fuller.
  • In Defence of Dogs: John Bradshaw. – Already have and currently reading
  • Decoding Your dog Debra Horwitz DVM and John Cirribassi DVM
  • Other end of the leash: Patricia J. McConnell. – Already have and read
  • How Dogs Learn: Mary R. Burch and Jon S. Bailey

In addition I ordered BAT 2.0 by Grisha Stewart as I have been wanting to learn more about BAT for a while now.

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My small but growing dog training library!

I am really excited but also a bit nervous – after 14 years in the school system, 4 years at University then working full time I never though I would “return to study” so this will be interesting! I’m hoping I can keep up with the assignments and perform well in addition to a normal work week, looking after Bonnie and the 3 degus and running this blog. I’m sure it will be an interesting 10 weeks anyway!


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