Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Some Training Ramblings ! Why Iike to teach three or more behaviours to a puppy

Many pet owners come to classes and are only interested in teaching the sit and down as they won’t really use the stand in day to day life except for examination or if they plan to show the dog.

So why it is useful to teach 3 behaviours,  the sit, stand and down to a puppy and not just sit and down.

These are some of the first behaviours we start teaching a puppy, they are simple, easy and can be lured with food creating a nice positive force free introduction to learning/training

A puppy will follow the food lure and then eventually the hand movement without food in it, and we then add words called cues or commands

The puppy will mainly at first actually be watching your hand movement and food and not really listening to the word. The hand movement is a visual cue and the word is a verbal cue.

At first for the behaviour (sit, stand or down) to happen the hand movement will probably be needed and it wont happend just on a verbal cue. This  movement needs to be faded out gradually and then the behaviour will happen on just a verbal cue

Things to consider :

Sit and Down only
If you just teach the sit and down the puppy cannot get it wrong and may not learn to listen to specific cues but just to do the 'other' behaviour it knows when you say a word. The perception is the puppy is learning correctly because it is getting it right. If the puppy is sat and say down it only knows one other thing to do so will get it right, if the puppy is in the down and you say sit, its going to get it right.
You can test this by saying sit if the puppy is already sat or another random word and see if the puppy lies down.

Sit, Stand and Down
If you teach the three behaviours, you can mix them up so it is unpredictable and the puppy can make errors. If the puppy is in the sit and you say down it now has a 50/50 chance of success, this means you can test if the dog is listening to the specific words (sit, stand and down) The puppy is now learning the skill of listening to different verbal cues.
Another common handler error that can happen is the handler cues stand to the puppy which is already in the sit and it lies down, then the puppy stands as there was no reward for the down. If the handler was to reward the puppy, the puppy learns not to do the stand on the ‘stand’ cue, but to throw its repertoire of behaviours at the handler and it eventually get the right one and gets rewarded. The puppy then learns to just throw behaviours and it eventually gets paid. Therefore the hander must only reward if the correct behaviour occurs on cue straight away

I like a dog to make errors so it can compare and then demonstrate true understanding, however I never allow a dog to make more that 3 errors, I reset the dog up for success after two. If a reward is withheld then it enables the dog stop and think what was different. Too much failure is frustrating and the learning experience becomes negative, even punishing. Think about how you have felt when you have repeatedly failed at something? Also consider how rewarding it then is to get it right? This is very fine balance and it needs to be adapted to the individual dog. Learning to fail and try again is very valuable learning and life skill for a puppy.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dog Walking Dog Walker in Manchester South Manchester ! A friend of mine Jemma Redhead has set up a dog walking business in south manchester, we dont cover this area so if you are out of our area then do call Jemma, she has a great passion for dogs and training and your pets could not be in better hands

Jemma has been on some of our courses as well as other dog trainer courses, she has a great empathy and is careing and patient with the dogs she has brought to our classes

So she comes highly recommended

Her Website is

Jane @ WaggaWuffins

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Film Called 'Fetch'

Dinky my Leonberger was in a short film called 'Fetch' where she had to carry a severed arm around a farm!
The film directed by Jack Davies has been selected for the best of boroughs film awards, which is in September. I get to go to BAFTA with the rest of the film crew to watch them!

There are lots more photos and screen grabs on the 'Fetch' facebook page!/pages/Fetch-Movie/164983960227239

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Training Workshops and Quick update

I have updated the training workshop page with all confirmed dates for September and October

Ive finished my first year of the BSc at Bishop Burton, its has been a bit of a rollercoaster and hoping next year will be better.

I'm part way through my CAP Assessors Course and have completed 3 supervised CAP1 Assessments. On Monday Im off to Worcester to the Learning About Dogs Teaching Diploma Course for a week and then back the following week to Helen Phillips Advanced Gundog Week. Tommorow is CAP3 training at WaggaWuffins. I think Helen might be sick of the sight of me by the end of the month!!!

Waggawuffins is Closed From Monday the 15th to Friday the 19 August and reopens on the Saturday as myself and Matt are on the Advanced Gundog Week.

Ive been mad busy trying to fit everyone in for home vists etc before i go and feel I need the break now! Puppy Classes are busy as ever and we only have a couple of places left in August! We have had some very very sweet pups come to classes :-)

Thats all for now I need to chop treats for tommorow!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Blackrod Scarecrow Festival 2nd and 3rd July 2011

The annual Blackrod Scarecrow Festival in Bolton is run over a weekend with each day being at one of the two schools in the village. Saturday I was asked to do something and due to us working Saturday morning I agreed to go and do a clicker training demonstration in the afternoon so I took Dinky with me and Carole and Tess met us there.
Sunday we had arranged for all of us to be there all day. Carole thankfully brought all the gear in her trailer for us. We did several displays through the day, Agility, Canine Freestyle, Gundog, Triebball and Clicker Training

We took Samson and Tess the Border Collies, Teal and Cara the Springer Spaniels, Dinky the Leonberger, Pickles the Working Cocker and Diesel the Rottie.

The weather was beautiful and we had already picked a spot prior that would have shade! So the doggies were fine. The dogs met lots of people and this was Diesel and Dinkys favourite part as they got lots of fuss!

Sarah and Samson did a Freestyle demo

Matt and Teal did a Gundog Display

The others helped with Triebball and Agility Demos

There are lots more photos on the WaggaWuffins Facebook page

Monday, 2 May 2011

New Spring Summer Workshops

I have updated the Training Workshops dates on the website"

We have Agility, Shaping, Puppy, Treibball, mixed Activites and Hetty van Hassel is coming to do a Heelwork to Music Workshop of the 26th June 2011

Here is a video of Hetty doing a Heelwork to Music Demonstration at Discover Dogs in London

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wagga Wuffins Launch Puppy Life Skills Sessions - 'Training and Socialisation in the Real World'

We have had many discussions about what pet owners really need to help them turn their puppies into well behaved sociable adult dogs.
We run very successful puppy classes at Waggawuffins where we include controlled socialisation, basic training and education of owners.

We have found that some people find it hard to transfer these skills outside into their day to day environment and some people don’t have the confidence to allow their dogs to got off lead or socialise with other dogs without our supervision.
We always train dogs and puppies in controlled environments such as fields, halls and centres and although they are safe and controlled having many advantages, we should also be out there in the real world supporting the training and socialisation there too!
So we have designed WaggaWuffins Puppy Life Skills Sessions!
These sessions have been developed by our behaviourist Jane Ardern with the support of one of our trainers Matthew Phair and are training sessions of small groups in public places. One is a visit to Bury Town Centre and the others are Local Parks (Heaton, Phillips, Burrs)
If you think you might be interested in these sessions please visit our website for more information