VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
Over a month on from the start of the Corona pandemic, we are all still adapting to a new way of life. It almost feels normal now, a new normal, but not really, because we all know how we should be living. But we also know that this is all temporary and for the greater good. Our dogs, however, don’t really know why we’re home so much now, nor do they care, as long as we are. They’ve never had so many walks, so many treats, so much quality time, so many cuddles. But what they don’t know is that pretty soon our lives will go back to normal, and so will theirs.
So let’s make this a special time for them (and us) and dedicate an hour of our day to actually teach them something. Not just walk or run outdoors but actually engage with them indoors, give them our undivided attention and show them our pride and appreciation when they get something right!
Welcome to April’s DogBlog:
LISA CHAPMAN – Canine Behaviourist, Business Owner
My name is Lisa Chapman, I work as a full time Canine Behaviourist for a large UK Charity. I also run Dogmestix, my own private dog training and behaviour company in Surrey. I met Victor when I worked with him flying the skies as cabin crew. I eventually reduced my hours to have more time to work with dogs and finally left flying in 2018. I have a foundation degree in Canine Behaviour and Training and I’m just about finished doing my BSc (hons) in Applied Animal Behaviour. I am a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (01311) and a registered training instructor with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. I have always had dogs, have dabbled in dog walking and have volunteered for different charities over the years. It was my most recent rescue dog, Penny, that got me into dog training and behaviour though. Penny was from Bulgaria and when she arrived she was just too good. We rehomed her from a foster home as we thought she would be no trouble, famous last words! She was incredibly shut down and didn’t show any behaviour. As her confidence increased her emotions came flooding out and it was clear I didn’t have the knowledge I needed to help her! I studied at first with the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) and from there I got the behaviour bug, attending conferences and seminars and the following year I began my degree!
As everyone is currently isolated due to C-19, Victor thought it would be a good idea to give you some hands-on activities you can try so I’ve put together a few videos for you to try at home. Please send your progress or questions if you have any (you can private message videos to troubleshoot if you prefer)!
In the videos, I use clicker. If you don’t have a clicker, don’t worry, you can use a word instead such as ‘nice’ or ‘treat’. This concept, called marker training helps to tell a dog when they’ve ‘won’ the food, so they connect what they did to ‘win’ it more easily. Therefore, you must always follow up with a timely reward when you use a clicker or a marker word. Think about this when choosing a marker word as it needs to be something you don’t use in everyday language, as your dog will expect to be paid when they hear the word!
If you are introducing your dog to a clicker for the first time, simply click and give them a treat and repeat this a few times, until you see the look of excitement in their face when they hear the click. Start by holding the clicker far away from them, as some dogs can get a little worried by the sound they make at first. Remember, clicker is not an attention seeking device, it’s simply to tell your dog they have done something good!
You will need lots of tiny treats for this training. If your dog is very greedy, then using their kibble will be fine, or even peas or carrot pieces if they get too excited with that! For fussier dogs, you may need to jazz it up more. Choose your treats well, because if you use treats that are too exciting, your dog may become over aroused and start offering you all sorts of different behaviours to get the food! Your dog may also do this if they become confused with what you are asking from them. If this happens, try and go back a step to where they got it right. You can always send me your video and I will help you troubleshoot as we want your dog to be calm when training, so they learn better and don’t get too frustrated or over-aroused.
Hand targeting can be used to get your dog to move how you want them to, whether that’s to encourage them through your legs for fun or to get them to move over to let you on the sofa or bed! It’s also something you can use to jazz up your recall training when your dog has seen you, you can see how fast they will run back to a well-trained hand target!
This is more of an isolation party trick that you can show off on the weekly zoom quiz! Beg strengthens up your dog’s core, and we all know how sore too much core work can be so please go slow and steady with this training as too many repeats may lead to your dog not wanting to play the game anymore!
Leave it is taught in the video as a party trick too, but when practised with different things and in different contexts, it can be a useful emergency cue. Use the lessons learned on the video outside, and with different items. Remember that dogs don’t generalise well, so when we change the context it’s important to make the training as easy as you can again.
Any questions, please get in touch!
I hope you enjoy this.
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