With the festivities surrounding St Patrick’s Day (and this being Ireland) we have had a short week this week and another short week next week, with Easter!
Awesome Pets & their People
Monday was a day filled with behaviour consults and we started with Bueno!
This guy spent most of his life confined but has now found a great new family who are doing lots to help him grow in confidence and to learn about the world.
Dogs like Bueno who are shy, reserved and take time to explore their world are most likely this way because they missed out on vital exposure and social experience early in life. Puppies who, in their first 3-5 months don’t have TONS of positive interactions and experiences will probably experience behavioural and emotional issues their entire lives.
People will often presume that they behave this way because they had bad experiences, were abused or neglected, but it doesn’t even require that. Simple lack of experience can be really damaging to a dog, and the effects will be felt for that dog’s entire life.
We got started with lots of foundations and introduced a way to help him learn how to control interactions, feel safe and boost his confidence:
Next up was PingPing who is named after a Panda!! And he has a sister called SingSing – also named after a Panda 🙂
We did lots of work on increasing responsiveness around other dogs and decreasing excitability.
We started with some great foundations and began to teach him that looking at another dog (at such a distance that we wasn’t getting wound up) means yummies and soon, when PingPing sees another dog he looks back to his person (hey! where’s my treat!?). Him playing the game tells us that he is becoming more comfortable too!
Next up for a consult was little Benny, who brought his tennis ball with him – the most important part!
This fella had been wandering as a stray but soon he found his new family and has really landed on his paws! With the help of his love of play and his awesome people this fella will be growing in confidence in no time!
Tuesday meant it was daytraining-with-Molly-time!
We got lots done and made some incremental improvements with her distraction and focus levels. We slowly introduce distractions and work at a level with which she can cope.
And our last consult was with this cheeky little chappie, Joey.
He was adopted just before Christmas and is growing in confidence more and more. Now with some great foundations in place along with a little work in some other areas, he will be an even more cracking little dog!
We have two new and excellent courses coming up soon and there are a couple of spaces left on each.
Teaching Puppies is probably one of our most important courses on offer. Puppy classes offer the most important education for puppies and their new people, helping to get everyone off on the right paw.
What’s most worrying is that anyone can offer puppy classes and they are routinely delivered by those who have no or very little education in training and behaviour! Beginner trainers will often attempt puppy classes as they appear the most straight forward, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Read more about this course here and share the info with people whom you think will benefit!
The Helping Rescue Dogs looks at what happens when the dog-human relationship hasn’t worked out and what we can do to improve that, with dogs’ welfare in mind.
We look at everything from the dogma in rescue to canine behaviour to assessing and improving the welfare of canines in various stages of the rescue process.
To improve the plight of rescue dogs we need educated, skilled and knowledgeable people on the inside, building it up from within. This course is designed to help make that difference.
Read more about this course here and share the info with people whom you think will benefit!
And more great news this weekend for our CBTT4 group who have completed all their work and are now fully-fledged Canine Behaviour & Training Technicians!
They have worked so hard over the last year and have completed over 90 credits worth of work – each credit equals about 10 hours of the learners’ investment…yep, that’s over 900 hours of studying, reading, analysing and practicing, practicing, practicing.
We can’t be more proud of our ever growing CBTT-family!
Such a busy week that the blog was left a little behind but we have big plans for the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!
Awesome Pets & their People
We had lots of amazing dogs with us this week for behaviour work, training and rescue evaluations.
Monday started off with this happy chappie, Dante:
Dante came for a follow-up to our initial consultation to help him get ready for a big move with his family to Switzerland!
Sweet, soft Rebel also came for some behaviour work – he was just happy to discover that pate goes into Kongs and it’s delicious!
Bacchus came for a behaviour appointment too before he set off for Crufts 2016.
He did really well, placing 5th in a puppy class with very stiff competition. Wohoo Bacchus!
Molly came back for her second session and we worked on lots and lots.
Part of our plan was to introduce flirtpole play so that we can have some good exercise that will take some emphasis off lead walks, which can be a bit of a problem, and so that we can raise her arousal a little so as to narrow her focus – Molly is big on getting distracted.
We didn’t anticipate that she would be super scared of it though…
We work with A Dog’s Life and help out with training & behaviour support for their dogs and volunteers, advising on policies in relation to fostering and adopting dogs and developing programs to help their dogs become the most adoptable dogs they can be!
We see the issue from all sides – rescue dogs going out into the community and the training and behaviour support some rescue dogs might need when out in the community. It is our priority to emphasise the placement of safe, suitable companion dogs that won’t mean a life long project for their new owners, who will be excellent representatives of what rescue dogs are and who will be loved and treasured family members. No pressure then!
We had visits from two of these dogs this week and got to spend a couple of hours with each one to get to know them a little better, evaluate their behavioural tendencies and outline the best next steps for them.
First up was this gorgeous gal, Jessie:
We are eagerly looking for a suitable foster placement and forever home for this girl so if you think you can help, please contact A Dog’s Life directly.
Both of these are cracking dogs who will make excellent family companions and wonderful additions to their new people. We look forward to seeing them again soon, once they have settled into their new homes, for their post-adoption follow-up!
This weekend we welcomed a full group of dog professionals, walkers, trainers & groomers, for another Canine First Responder course. It was a great day and all happily achieved certification for another two years, before they need to renew again.
Would you know what to do in a canine emergency? Register your interest for our next course by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more 🙂
BIG Summer Event
We are very excited to have Helen Zulch back after a very successful and booked out weekend workshop last year.
Helen is a veterinary surgeon, clinical animal behaviourist and a highly skilled clicker trainer.
She is best known for her work with Lincoln University and the Life Skills for Puppies program. Helen is a senior lecturer in Lincoln University on the Clinical Animal Behaviour under and post grad degrees. She is also a consultant at the University of Lincoln Animal Behaviour Referral Clinic.
The Canine Training/Behaviour Skills workshop will take place at our centre in Glasnevin in Dublin. We have a great weekend planned:
Day 1: Saturday, 4th June 2016
This day will concentrate on building clicker skills, covering more advanced skills in precision clicker training. Participants for this session will be those who have some experience in training their own or others’ dogs and have shaped behaviours with clicker training.
Spectators of any background will really benefit from this session and it will be especially helpful if you are new to clicker training or preparing for clicker training assessments such as the CAP program,
Day 2: Sunday, 5th June 2016
This day will be seminar style (no dogs!) and will look at a topic that is rarely discussed in our field, but one that is highly relevant. Helen will examine, with the help of case studies and interactive discussion, the relationship between canine health and behaviour. She will cover ways to integrate these concerns into our dog training, developing meaningful relationships with veterinary and healthcare professionals.
This will be a valuable topic for anyone working or interested in training/behaviour fields and those working in veterinary too.
Participant Saturday – €150 (with a dog who is suitable and comfortable working in a managed workshop environment)
Spectator/seminar one day- €90
Spectator/seminar both days – €160
Participant one day and spectator one day – €220
If you would like to book a spot we encourage you to register and pay ASAP so as to secure your spot (there are limited places). To book please copy and paste the following, along with your responses into an email to email@example.com :
Day/s of attendance (please specify as many as are relevant: Spectator Day 1, Participant Day 1, Spectator Day 2):
(Where relevant) Dog’s name:
Chosen method of payment:
Better get your skates on as places are limited and booking up fast!
Boomer and Decker reluctantly share – Boomer’s queen bee and Decker is just trying to steal a corer of his bed!
And Zack had something yummy…but then everything is yummy to Zack!
We’ll miss all our new friends that helped our learners develop their mechanical skill.
Awesome Pets & their People
This handsome fella is Opie, who we have known since he was a puppy. Well, he’s certainly all grown up now, weighing more than 30kgs!
He came back for some revision and to really get a handle on loose leash walking. Now that he’s a full on teenager it’s important that we are emphasising appropriate physical exercise, lots of calming mental exercise and tons of work on self-control. Opie is lucky to have an awesome person!
Opie knows that dog trainers can’t resist doggie-head-tilts – they are our kryptonite!
Molly came for Daytraining
A daytraining program is an intensive program for your dog. It starts with a one to one session with the pet+ owner to discuss the issues they are experiencing, and we begin by putting some foundation exercises in place.
We schedule a number of daytraining sessions where your dog comes to spend the morning or afternoon with us and we begin working through a comprehensive program that we all design together.
This gives the dogs some better skills so helping to support their pet owner as the humans learn the training exercises.
We have had some excellent success with daytraining programs, particularly for on-leash behaviour. Molly came for some help with pulling on leash, self-control and to help reduce her stress and vigilance while out.
Here’s what happened during her first daytraining session:
Molly is a little concerned at being in a strange place with new people so to help her we start simply by teaching her that she can train humans!
We start just marking with a YES!, any approaches toward us, and we toss salami away each time. As she becomes more comfortable we can begin to mark and reward her giving eye contact.
Soon Molly is offering sits, YES! and we toss a reward. She learns that these humans are easy to train and her learning that her behaviour controls the environment around her is confidence boosting. Molly soon becomes more and more comfortable as she learns how to learn.
This exercise can be progressed too so that it not only helps with confidence boosting but also with her learning how to greet more politely and even control herself when she’s excited:
By getting Molly excited and then waiting for her to immediately calm herself she can begin to develop better self-control and self-calming skills. Yay Molly!
All this has been pretty taxing for Molly so far so we take a brain break – time for a sniffing course. This helps to relax Molly by allowing her to do a favourite-doggie-past-time, sniffing, and helps her grow in confidence as she explores novel and weird items.
She even chills out at this stage to have some fun with plastic cone decoys too!
When faced with distractions we can back-up to quickly get Molly out of the situation and get her re-focused on her human.
This can also be used in teaching and practicing loose leash walking out & about, where Molly may find it hard to eat food rewards. This backward movement is exciting and we are associating with lots of praise, fun and food rewards!
Notice how this time Molly is much more relaxed and less unsure of what her job is in this game.
We are so impressed with Molly’s progress that we even begin to work just a little bit outside. We start right outside our centre in the carpark to the front where there are lots of comings and goings, sights and sounds.
We start with some passive focus – she can check out all the goings-on and as soon as she chooses to reorient we can mark and reward. But soon she is able to practice a little of our auto-sit exercise too.
To help bring Molly down after all the excitement, we worked on some matwork which her people have started with her at home. We use a high rate of reinforcement, really regular treat tossing, because there are some noises and voices outside spooking Molly. Over time, with the help of lots of rapid rewards, she can relax more and more even with these great distractions – she even makes a little nest for herself!
We are thrilled with Molly’s progress during her first session and we can’t wait to get working with her again next week!
We welcomed a new Canine Nutrition group – this is a three month part-time course and we were joined by six learners from all around Ireland on their journey to learn more about canine nutrition for physical and behavioural health.
This course starts with a look at the functioning of the canine digestive system, how that system processes nutrients and the fads and trends in canine nutrition.
We emphasise the development of critical thinking skills, applying that to the broad area of canine nutrition that is often filled with myth, anecdotes and misinformation. A tall order!
We ended our first day spending lots of time analysing commercial feed labels; learning about labeling tricks, energy content and evaluating food quality. Their heads were well & truly buzzing after all that!
This weekend, we had CBTT6 in for their second weekend. We’er finding it hard to believe that they are almost halfway through their tuition already – time flies when you’re having fun!
This weekend, their second, we covered Domestication & Selective Breeding on Saturday and Canine Nutrition & Dietary Requirements on Sunday so they have all headed home this evening exhausted!
Well done CBTT6 for getting this far – keep up the great work!
Check out the Mother’s Day Google Doodle that we had for CBTT6 today, of course projected – very fitting for all the dog lovers in the room:
Decker and Boomer had a busy week helping out the humans, while Zac wrapped up…
This week has been super-dooper busy as CBTT5 have been in everyday, for their last week of tuition.
The Canine Behaviour & Training Technician course is the big one! It’s for those who want to become serious, make-a-difference, professionals in canine care, training and behaviour.
It’s delivered over about one year, with learners attending for tuition for two separate block weeks (bookending the course) and four separate weekends. They complete 15 units (subjects) and to successfully graduate must achieve at least 80% in each unit.
To say that this is a tough course is a bit of an understatement so just surviving to their last week is in and of itself a MAJOR achievement. Our learners are amazing!
CBTT5, their last week
Decker is ready and waiting to greet the learners on their last week with us for tuition!
We started with Domestication & Selective Breeding, developing an understanding of the effects of our past and current breeding practices has on dogs, their health & behaviour.
The canine genome was mapped in 2004 and since then, our understanding of canine genetics has grown and grown. Dogs are currently ‘cool’ in science right now, and we couldn’t be happier with the wealth of knowledge that is becoming available everyday.
Dogs are an amazingly diverse species, more so than any other, yet dog breeds have become closed gene pools. These very small gene pools can cause a range of problems for modern dogs and only through awareness and education can we see incremental change in improving canine welfare.
We looked at a range of works studying the genetic health of canine populations, the related causes and effects, breed and behaviour, better breeding of modern dogs and we truly challenged our minds illustrating the true complexity of canine genetics.
Next we worked on Advanced Canine Behaviour discussing temperament evaluations, enrichment, the emotional impacts of training & behaviour procedures and principles of behaviour change programs.
Using clips and examples we can work out the causes of and reasons for behaviour – this goes a long way to us developing programs to help pets and their people.
In the clip above, what behaviours do you see? You might see behaviour/s that the dog is doing or maybe that the human is doing.
What causes that behaviour to happen? Looking at what happens just before the behaviour can give us a good idea of what makes that behaviour happen. This tells the animal (dog or human) when to carry out the behaviour.
What happens just after the behaviour? This gives us the reasons for the animal (dog or human) doing the behaviour. This is the why of behaviour.
We use this tool, functional assessment, to help us analyse the things that cause and maintain behaviours including those that might cause problems.
Nobody said this dog training business was going to be easy…!
On our last day we looked at the Biology of Behaviour & Cognition. This complex unit looks at the behaviour from the brain up, starting with studying brain and how it functions to allow animals to carry out behaviours and to learn about their world.
Again, there has been an explosion in studying dogs in terms of their cognitive abilities and we can take full advantage of that to learn as much as we can.
We end our discussion of these vast topics with a look at canine play and the way in which dogs use play signaling in many complex and varied ways.
Play has always puzzled science, labeling it apparently functionless behaviour but play is way more than that. Besides, play is about having fun and that’s often reason enough; just like these happy campers:
As part of working on their Advanced Canine Training unit, the fabulous people at Tayto Park give our CBTT learners access to their zoo so that we can spend two days working with other species in a new and challenging environment.
Learning applies to all species (capable of learning) so to really test how well CBTT5 can apply this, we practice with prey species like goats, pigs, sheep, donkeys, guanaco and fowl.
Craig, one of the Tayto keepers, spent some time with our learners (thanks Craig!) demonstrating the applications to our training work there. He is working with their female Amur Tiger showing her presenting on cue (when asked), different parts of her body through the fence, for checking and routine care such as vaccination and blood testing. No restraint, force or sedation required!
At all times in this work the animals choose to participate. They are well-fed so will and do move away when they feel like it – this is why we work on the other side of the fence (not just for safety) to ensure that the animals can leave it they want and we can’t really do a lot about it! Ever tried to force a tiger to do something?!
These same techniques can be applied to our pet animals to reduce the need for restraint, force and distress during routine grooming, medical or husbandry care. Just because we can force them, doesn’t mean that we should…
Using targeting to get behaviour is a little like luring, but more complex. We must first teach the animal a targeting behaviour – in this case touching their nose to the wooden spoon. Once they readily offer this targeting behaviour, we can use that to teach further behaviours.
Targeting can be used to hold animals in position without restraint, move them to observe for lameness, for example, move them so that they can be transported or change their position, it can be used to guide the animal up or down so that we can check various processes, and to teach other behaviours.
Donkeys will work for…
When we are working with these animals, finding the right motivator is often challenging as these animals are well fed with a range of foods, have access to their buddies and can move away any time.
It is the learner who decides what they are willing to work for and it’s up to the teacher to work that out!
Here our CBTT5 learners work out that these donkeys will work for grass (picked from close to their enclosure) and scratches to the neck!
Starting out we capture the goat lifting her foot to put it on the fence and by timing our click correctly we can reward the goat for just lifting her foot, then holding it up.
You can see that this is not a linear process – the learner writes the plan for you and the trainer directs the process by rewarding relevant behaviours that the learner chooses to offer.
Check out how much this momma-goat gets the game – at the end you will see there is a delay as we chat about planning – the goat, not getting rewarded for lifting her right goat begins to lift her left foot instead to see if that also works.
Now that’s a learning goat who gets how to operate her environment – the goal of teaching YAY!
By capturing the Guanaco’s look-around-the-other-side-of-the-pole behaviour, we can freeshape a game of peek-a-boo.
Rewarding her looking at the other side of the pole over and over, soon she will begin to offer that behaviour consistently.
Then we can begin to reward this behaviour at our side of the pole and soon the Guanaco will move back and forth, playing peek-a-boo!
Using the bars on the fence we can measure our progress with this Guanaco, teaching her to lower her head more and more.
To put that on cue CBTT5 learners keep practicing until the Guanaco is consistently offering the behaviour.
Just before she bows, we can add our cue (a human bow!) and only reward her bowing behaviour if offered after our cue.
Donkey Head Lift
Freeshaping a head lift behaviour by rewarding the donkeys for lifting their head a little further.
We can use the bars of the fence to measure our progress and reward and build.
Dogs will help us a lot in our training, making up for deficits in mechanical skill. Working with animals who can take-us-or-leave-us, in an environment where we have less control really helps us to identify and perfect any areas that need improvement. We all really appreciate teaching dogs after that!
We are so lucky to have such fantastic support from the Tayto Park team, who open their doors and accommodate us, even though the park may be closed, undergoing renovations and the staff all very busy.
We always have a great time and our learners really benefit from this unique experience.
Just for fun…
…here’s 30 seconds of five day old baby Pygmy Goats frolicking:
We’ve had quite the admin week in preparation for super-busy times next week!
CBTT5 will have their last week of tuition, starting Monday. That’s five FULL days of canine science, training & behaviour – all day, every day (that’s heaven to us!).
Two of those days will be spent in Tayto Park zoo (send us good weather wishes please!) working with different species – no dogs – to really test our mechanical skill and training planning skills. We will soon realise how much we LOVE working with dogs!
We will have lots of pictures and clips from our work there but here is some of the good stuff from our trip there last year as CBTT4 wrapped things up.
We met some great new dogs this week, along with there fab families!
This handsome fella is Buddy – check out those amber eyes! His family adopted him just a week before his appointment and were keen to get everyone off on the right paw.
How brilliant is that? Proactive owners wanting to get started with training early to offset any problems from developing and making sure this addition to the family will fit right in – we love that!
Buddy did really well considering he is just finding his feet in all this; he loved learning how to work Kong toys, while the grown ups talked, and to earn treats for polite behaviour.
This happy wee girly (blurry tail!) is Molly and she came for some training with her entire family. They have done really well with her training so we are going to put in place some extra help with self-control and loose leash walking.
Hopefully we will be seeing lots more of Molly soon – we love her!
This cutie-patootie is Uno, a teenage Bulldog. We have lots of work to help this fella cope with a stressful time recently but he has an awesome family to help him!
We had lots of fun at our first session and we will be seeing him soon too – yay!
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Why not join us and follow our new Instagram account – we’ll follow you back too!
This weekend we welcomed a new Canine Studies – Foundation (CSF) group. This course is designed for those working as or starting out as pet sitters and dog walkers so that they can get started with basics of canine health and behaviour.
This is a six month course comprising two units (subjects): Introduction to Canine Behaviour and Canine Health & Disease.
We also cover business practice and management, insurance, professionalism and the canine care industry – nine new learners who are about to get very busy, and love every minute of it!
It was lazy week for the three AniEd Dogs #donotdisturb #zzzzzz
In good news, Rudi has found his new awesome forever home!And home checks are in process for Macy and Gertie so fingers and paws crossed!
We set up a confidence course behind a barrier so that the puppies couldn’t get into any mischief.
Confidence courses help to expose puppies to odd, novel and out of context items and situations in a safe environment so that we can help them learn to cope with stress and develop resilience.
Puppies learn that they can investigate new, weird and even scary things without any pressure, in their own time and they can direct the interaction, with the choice to move away built in. This is confidence building and essential for puppies.
Weird items, things out of context, new substrates, different textures and surfaces, new noises and moving things – all make for a great puppy confidence course!
And after some playtime, exploration & investigation, we had some downtime – because learning to settle is one of the most important skills we can teach puppies and dogs.
Looking after puppies, to make sure to give them the best start requires lots of knowledge, so while we parked our puppies the grown-ups discussed all things puppy:
puppy development – what’s happening to puppies of different ages and what we can do to support their behavioural development
management – how we prevent all that puppy behaviour from ever becoming problem behaviour
We looked at toilet training, chewing & destruction, biting & nipping, resource guarding, handling and self-settling.
One of the best ways to manage puppy behaviour and to set puppy (and pet owner) up for success is crate training, so we had some crate manners practice too:
lots of enrichment & entertainment – NO food bowls here!!
small challenges, everyday – cognitive, physical, sensory
well controlled social contact with other dogs, people of different types and even other species
confinement and alone training
careful exposure to novel and varied experiences
lots and lots of passive training – catch your puppy doing the right thing!
What we do now with puppies is having an impact on their behaviour over the remainder of their life; and these fosters have the added challenge of making sure that their puppies become adoptable, successful companions – no pressure then!
We practiced lots of exercises too:
supervising and managing puppy play and interactions
how to provide physical, cognitive and sensory challenges easily at home
It’s no wonder all the puppies were pooped after all that!
Awesome Pets & their People
This week we mainly had follow-up appointments with dogs and their families already working through programs, coming back to adjust the plan we have built together, to build on progress and to keep motivation up!
Harley came for a second follow-up as his people work through the program we have built together to help improve this little chap’s self-control, focus and coping abilities. He’s a super smart fella!
We were out and about with Shiloh for a third follow-up in the wind and rain (normal Irish weather!) to help her learn how to better cope with some specific fearful responses. Despite us all getting a bit bedraggled, Shiloh and her mum make an awesome team!
Shy girl Roxy came for her first follow-up – she and her people are rocking our program to help her confidence develop. She is becoming a cheeky little one!
Despite being scared of the mat at first, soon she was able to lie on it comfortably. Her dad helped by giving some support (sitting beside it neutrally) but Roxy was soon able to interact and lie on the mat with shaping, lots of choice and salami!
Lottie came for a visit too and we did some dog-dog comfort work. Lottie and her person did some awesome training, never allowing Lottie to become uncomfortable, always able to work and really closing the gap with our stooge dog (Decker)!
After we did some training work, Lottie worked on a puzzle – getting her dinner out of a plastic milk jug.
This will help her deal with any stress experienced during our training, get her brain working in a different way and keep her busy:
And Lucy Basset popped into say Hi!, check the place out, have a game with Decker and pick up a crate for her new foster brother Mason, who she will be helping to become a great adoptable pet!
We are celebrating because our CBTT3 group all completed their full course successfully! Yay!!!
They have completed 15 units at first-year degree level, battled with an enormous workload and still love dogs, training and behaviour at the end of it all.
Now the really hard work starts as they build their careers as fully fledged Canine Training & Behaviour Technicians, with our continued support.
We are beyond proud of all that they have achieved as they embark on becoming excellent dog pros!
And our trusty pack of Labs, Bassets, Rotties, Yorkies, JRTs and Beagles (don’t worry, they are all well-behaved teddies!) are very tolerant models helping lots of learners become Canine First Responders.
A whole new group of Canine Training & Instruction (CTI) learners started, christening our new classrooms!
A diverse group of fab dog-lovers, just starting on their journey toward becoming the dog pros of the future.
During their first weekend they were introduction to Biology for Animal Care, Communication Skills and Health and Safety for an Animal Care Setting.
They began to learn about how dogs tick, from molecular, cellular and physiological levels with examinations of tissues and organs.
Lots of discussion went into the best approaches to dealing with sticky issues, how to make sure that the welfare of the pet is the goal through improving the welfare of their person and learning to communicate your message so education is always the priority.
They had an intense weekend, with great feedback – we have high hopes for CTI3!
We worked with lots of animal care students all over the country, helping them become Canine First Responders so that they will know how to help a dog in an emergency, working with our teddies and Caspers!
Our next CFR course is 12th March – email us firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
And we help spread some dog awareness with talks to Gas Networks Ireland staff on staying safe in their daily dealings with dogs as they carry out meter readings and maintenance.
Oh! and we launched this blog with Train Your Dog Month 2016 – thank you all soooooo much for subscribing, sharing and most of all participating with your dog!