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Teaching control through playing games

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By Sue Williams Bsc, GODT(MT), MCFBA, Chairwoman Guild of Dog Trainers 5 November 2015

Kali is approaching 5 months old and one of the things that has struck me is just how quickly puppies grow up. This is scary as it highlights how little time there is to address the foundations in not only the training but also the behaviour, socialisation and habituation. In fact it really is a mammoth task! Further more it is extremely time consuming. Im lucky as being my own boss I have been able to plan and adjust my work load to make the time but even so in an ideal world I would do more. Im also lucky as I frequently raise pups and therefore have a wealth of experience I can draw on. Most people may experience a puppy a couple of times in their lifetime and often the last time was 10-14 years ago when they got their last dog. Getting a pup can therefore be a real shock. That cute cuddly furry pup you viewed is actually all of that but also a mischievous, demanding, tester of patience!

I certainly empathise with people who work and I appreciate how difficult it must be. This reflection has strengthened my belief that owners really do need the correct information so they don’t waste any of that precious puppy time.

Correct puppy training and up bringing is crucial. Get it right and you and your pup are set for life get it wrong and you risk joining the hundreds of owners with out of control dogs. Puppy owners have an obligation to nurture and teach their pup to develop into a sociably acceptable dog. I often help clients who seek my help with their adolescent dogs many have attended puppy classes. The very fact the owners have tried to do their best and taken the time and trouble to attend puppy classes makes it a travesty that their dog is a delinquent misunderstood monster.

Something I have had a bee in my bonnet about is that most new trainers start with teaching Puppy Classes. To me this is so wrong the most experienced trainers should specialise in puppy training. It doesn’t require much skill to regurgitate what you read in a book or watch on a film and virtually anyone can lure a young pup with tasty treats! Real skill comes from hands on experience combined with a sound academic knowledge. So my advice is definitely choose wisely who you invest your time and money with.

This weeks film demonstrates , using games and play to reinforce control.

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