'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Training Stuff.

I've been looking at the Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze scheme again lately, to see where Lola is at in comparison to it. And we're doing really well! Most of the dogs at the crappy training class we were at before were six months old or so, and, speaking even without bias, none of them had the level of commitment and focus that Lola had. (In our first couple of weeks there, we were commended for Lola's intense focus on me!)

Kennel Club Bronze Award summaries:

Exercise 1 - Cleanliness and Identification. The handler just needs to have some form of 'poop scoop', and all dogs have to have the correct identification (owner's name and address) on their collar. Done.

Exercise 2 - Collar and Lead. The handler must be able to correctly and safely put on and take off the collar and lead. Done.

Exercise 3 - Walk on Lead. The handler and dog must walk on lead for 30 paces without distractions, including some turns, without pulling forward or back. Done. We do this basically every day.

Exercise 4 - Control at Door/Gate. The dog should not pull or be pulled through the gate or doorway, and should follow handler through. About half done; L will ocasionally pull through if she's too excited.

Exercise 5 - Controlled Walk Among People and Dogs. The handler should remain in control of while walking among people, dogs and distractions, without undue inconvenience and without the dog pulling forward or back. The dog should be quiet, calm and relaxed while the handler holds a one-minute conversation. Not done. Honestly, I think this is pretty out of place in the Bronze scheme - if not for this, we could probably do the scheme and (scrape a) pass. Lola would ignore the people and distractions, but she likes dogs too much to ignore them, and staying calm while I hold a one-minute conversation would be beyond her.

Exercise 6 - Stay on Lead for One Minute. The dog will stay on the spot it is left on, in the position left in, while the handler moves five paces away for one minute. Half done. Lola can stay pretty solidly, but I need to work on it more to get to a minute. I think she could do thirty seconds without fuss. I just get bored teaching stays!

Exercise 7 - Grooming. The handler should demonstrate an ability to groom their dog without any signs of aggression or nervousness. Done. This is something we had a huge problem with before, but Lola's come a massive way. I regularly give her just one piece of kibble per half a minute of brushing, and that's only to maintain Lola's association of grooming and pleasure.

Exercise 8 - Examination of the Dog. The handler should allow inspection, with nothing more than mild avoidance, of its mouth, teeth, throat, eyes, ears, stomach, tail and feet whilst in required position. Half done. We're up to everything but throat - I'm unwilling to prise Lola's jaws open to stare down her throat, so I'm just not sure how to proceed. She'll let me look at her teeth without fuss though, even though she used to throw a fit.

Exercise 9 - Return to the Handler. The handler should somehow distance themselves from the dog ten paces and recall it. The dog should stop close to the handler in any position and allow the lead to be replaced. Done. We do this loads; Lola will even recall off of prey that she'd otherwise love to chase.

Exercise 10 - Responsibility and Care. The examiner should test the handler's knowledge on specific subjects related to owning a dog, with the handler responding to three randomised questions from topics e.g. a dog's needs, illness and responsibilities of ownership. Done. I like to think I know pretty well what my dogs need, how to respond to illness onset, and what my responsibilities are.

So that is three things we need to work on  (control at door/gate, stay for one minute and examination of dog), and one thing that really needs work (controlled walk among distractions). If it wasn't for exercise five, I reckon we could probably attend a couple of sessions and then pass the scheme, but that trips me up. I don't work on Lola's greeting with other dogs a lot at the moment, because I try to retain her friendliness and enthusiasm for meeting others, but eventually I'll work on it. :)


Sara said...

Considering how Lola is still a baby dog, her progress is remarkable! You've done such a wonderful job with her.

Oreo is 4 and we are still working on a lot of this stuff! Good for you for getting started early.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I think Lola is doing so well and she's still so young! Your test is similar to our canine good citizen - Ricky passed and did great on everything except one part where another person handles his feet, ears, etc. He did not want that strange woman touching his ears!

Sophie said...

Thanks! :) The CGC program actually looks harder - Lola wouldn't be impressed with being forcably introduced to a stranger.