WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins
WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins

SCENTS IN THE TRAINING LANE

Below you will find: -

Behaviours that we have observed

 

Being able to leave the netting in place for a long period of time allows the scent geography of the Lane to build up. And knowing this geography and watching a dog closely, you get an understanding why the dog behaves as he does. This is a benefit of being able to leave the netting in place for a long period of time so that the Lane/newspaper is "written on" and "read" by the dogs under training in this Lane. (You may need to consider keeping the grass short because of the smaller dogs).

 

Whenever a dog comes to Dog Games training, he is always walked on a lead from the car across the field to the training lane as indicated by the Trainer. As he approaches the corner A of the Lane, he does what all the other dogs do and have done. He has a good sniff and adds to the newspaper by peeing on the grass and up the netting. Having trained a deer hound who had "written" here, it was interesting watching the smaller dogs (yorkies etc) sniffing up the netting for as far as their noses could reach when standing on their back legs. If only I was a mind-reader, wondering what they might be thinking.

 

Before each training session

Once the Trainer, Owner and dog are inside Lane A, the gate is closed and the Owner lets the dog off the lead. The Trainer and Owner walk up and down the Lane talking while keeping a discrete eye on what the dog is doing, how it is behaving as well as picking up/clearing up after the dog. A dog that “thinks” he is being ignored by their owner will investigate the Lane for safety and smells. It seems that he is checking to ensure that he (and the Owner) are safe from meeting another dog or other threats, while also enjoying the smells and scents left by previous visitors to the Lane. When he feels safe and relaxed enough to start training, he will relieve himself to show that he is relaxed and wants to start training. Some dogs relieve themselves, others don’t but BE PATIENT and give them time as this is THEIR time and you, as the owner, are here to learn, see bullet points below.

 

In talking to the Owner, the Trainer finds out more about the dog, age, neutered, previous training, the family environment (ie single dog, neutered, small children in family, other pets, who normally walks the dog etc). When it seems that the dog feels the area is safe and he is ready to work, the dog comes to the owner wondering what we are all doing here.

 

During the week, the Lanes are closed when they are not being used for training so nothing has entered them until we use them for training.

 

When a new dog starts training with us, management of the situation (good first impressions for the new dog) is required. All other dogs are in their cars so that the new dog cannot be confronted by another dog and given a bad experience which will forever be fixed in the new dog's environmental photographic memory. First impressions are so important for dogs, that managing the situation pays so much in dividends later in training as well as life. 

 

With the new dog training in the Lane, this allows the other Trainers to watch this new dog's behaviour and to offer advice by watching from a different perspective as well as positionally and may see something that the Trainer with the Owner did not see. 

 

Behaviours that we have observed include

  • Between our 3 trainers, we had 5 dogs who would often go for walks together. When they were individually being trained in this Lane, they would relieve themselves in area E. And many of the other dogs that we trained also eventually relieved themselves in area E, wanting to join the "pack". They would also relieve themselves at A and also on the gate posts on the way into the Lane and often on the way out as well. We know that they are laying down pheromones on the newspaper, (probably) telling other dogs that this is a safe, quiet, relaxing place.
  • Following on from the point above, some Owners who had been sceptical about our training methods were observant enough to notice how their dog's body language "softened" when approaching the Lane and start sniffing at A, relieving themselves and then sniffing along the netting to the gate, sniffing the gate posts and really seeming to enjoy themselves once inside the Lane and even more when released from their lead. Sometimes we didn't even try to train a dog if he has used so much mental energy just "settling into the environment". We allow him to sniff for as long as he feels that he wants to while an Owner might be beside herself with not having seen this behaviour before. We are not here to criticise Owners but to educate them to have fun with their dogs.
  • As above, Owners have told us that their dog doesn't relieve himself when they are out on a walk but brings everything back home. They are often amazed that, maybe after a few training sessions, the dog feels relaxed enough (confident enough) to relieve itself in the Lane.  PATIENCE is required because THIS is their time, they are behaving as they would in the wild and it is a priviledge to watch and learn from them.
  • A dog that is "very assertive/confident" and wants all the other dogs to join his "pack" will walk around the Lane sniffing but deciding to relieve himself in area B. After a couple of training sessions, it was noticed that this dog relieved himself in area C and later in area D, eventually relievng himslef in area E, wanting to join the "pack", ie where all the other dogs were relieving themselves.

 

The first game is always Recall and shows the relationship between the dog and its owner. It is also the most important command to call the dog away from danger. We would like the Recall to be good and we have a way to encourage this (see Treat Box). If the Recall is slow or not good, then this is something that we will need to work on.

 

This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).

 

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