My little dog training adventure
This is a continuation of my previous post – where did Princess Endiee come from.
My dog training started with puppy boarding job. So dogs in puppy boarding are usually around 9-24 months and don’t have any previous training. Before I didn’t know that you can train a dog if it’s older, which I think it’s good news as it means you can teach your dog good behaviour at any age. The dogs learn basics and with time trainer learns which of their skills are the strongest and what kind of job they can do. And understanding the character of the dog is crucial to give it the right job. We should totally do the same with humans 😛
After basic dog training and understanding dog’s strengths the more focused training is being done, for example for a guide dog, companion dog for autistic children, search dog (for example people, explosives, drugs), guard dog, competition dog, gun dog etc. Sometimes people buy their own dog and then give it to the trainer for few months, you can do it with any dog. As I learned from my friends dog boarding is both good and controversial. Dog attaches to you and gets confused why it has to keep moving between owners, I’m sure it misses you and the stability of having one home. On the other hand for some people dog therapy is the only thing that will make a difference to their life, and how else would the dog learn the required skills to do the job?
The basis for dog training is similar, you always start with a small version of what you want to achieve and break it down into small steps, then gradually extend difficulty. Let’s use search dog training as an example. Imagine I wanted to fully train Endiee as a snow search dog. Firstly, in a small space such as home I would hide and reward her for finding me. I would associate this game with word ‘seek’ or ‘search’. To start with she wouldn’t know what the word means but in time she would connect it with the activity of finding me and getting a reward. One of the next steps would be to hide in a not too deep hole in the ground. Then the hole would get deeper, and eventually would get covered up with say a blanket. Once Endiee practices this game we would need to try it with switching person or an object that is hidden, repeat the steps often and test various scenarios. Explosives or drug search dog training could in addition involve how you want the dog to react once it’s found what you need, for example to sit.
The professional dog training is not that easy, it requires time and commitment, once you think it’s all done the dog needs to pass exams in order to be fully qualified for the job. After it goes to new home the trainer still offers support to its new family to ensure they utilise all the skills.
Princess Endiee was originally considered for a guide dog training, but with her crazy character we realised quickly that there is nothing that motivates her more than toys (ball) and food, and I think that even ball wins over the food. She doesn’t like strict training, I would even say she finds it boring, she loves fun, riding in the car, being with us, travelling (we went to Poland and Paris by car), and she loves searching, for humans, balls and food! That’s why we think if she ever got a job it would be as a search dog. Our current dog training involves playing the hide and seek game with her in various locations and various spaces, she loves it and wins every time, it’s so cool to see how committed she is to finding whatever is hidden.
But above all what works best is lots of love, company and involving her in as many activities as we can. She can go on the leather sofa, bed and do whatever else we said she shouldn’t do at the beginning. And we wouldn’t have it other way 😀 The reason some of the pics seem awkward is because once we get her sat down I need to keep still as she is too attentive and wants to move with me or Mr B straight away and then it’s impossible to get a shot.
Thanks for reading, below are some pics from various places around the Europe
Christmas time in Poland:
Still Christmas time in Poland, Endiee was not impressed with the reindeer ears…
The squeaky piggy is her best friend, and she will bring it to us whenever we work too much as she thinks we need a break.
Getting coffee by the beach, Endiee is waiting for her treat from behind the glass:
Trying to take a selfie together using treats, she only cared about the treats:
Walking on a beach with my friend Marty who is taking pic:
I’m on my way to Cambodia to join my friend Marty in her travels, Endiee and Mr B came with me to Heathrow airport to say bye, she’s either not happy about me going or having the photo taken again:
Having breakfast in beach cafe with Mr B:
Walking around the park in South of England:
Driving from UK to Poland like a boss girl, this was around 24 or 26 hours! She was so good:
Some more selfies:
By English sea side:
Need to be in the car. This was before she learnt to jump in the back of the car: