Happy New Year… I love this time of the year… new training, new goals!

Libby has been sharing with us her training from Puppy Peaks for the last 2 months. Her post last month was about helping Riley learn the confidence to wear a head halter. Libby took her lessons from Puppy Peaks and helped progress Riley’s training in a matter of a few sessions.  One of my favourite points in Libby’s last blog was the how she had realized the importance of “play” in her training.

I love to read these revelations in all trainers, but it really makes me smile when what we do can influence such a young trainer. Make everything a GAME through training and play!

Here is Libby’s Month 3 Puppy Peaks review.

Puppy Peaks: Month 3  

Junior Reporter  Libby

So I have this passel of dogs.  Actually I only have four and since you all are dog lovers four probably is a rather small group.  But, anyways, every time I let one of them outside, they all rush the door, barking, and getting hyped up making it a miserable experience.  Now, I know this is wrong and always have known, so, I decided that since I have this great resource, Puppy Peaks, I should use it and find out how Susan fixes/prevents the problem.

Merry Christmas Elliott Tree

I found the relevant video in Month 2 Week 1 of Puppy Peaks.  I started Susan’s strategy with the dog that was the worst because I wanted to fix it ASAP; so Elliott the Border Collie was up first. We began with tugging to get him focused on me.  Then we worked on the fast sits that we did for Recallers  when I stopped tugging.  He did well with both of these, so I moved on to the door.  I started off by tugging and as soon as I put my hand on the door I stopped tugging, hoping to transfer over the fast sits.  He did great!  Occasionally he would have a few slow sits, but he seemed to learn that slow sits didn’t get him a cookie or tug.   Check out her video below or click here! 

Next was Riley.  When Riley came to me a little over a month ago, he didn’t know how to have fun with people.  He loved playing with other dogs, but was not affectionate towards people at all and when I first tried to engage him in a game of tug he was very confused and uninterested.  He has gotten extraordinarily better at tugging and we now incorporate it into training as much as possible.  I trained Riley the same way as Elliott, starting with tugging/fast sits and then transferring it to the door.  I noticed that he actually was more excited when I rewarded him with the tugging then when I rewarded him with food – YAY!! Huge accomplishment for this very food motivated guy!  We still have some things to work on with tugging like regripping, but he is enjoying it and I am thrilled with the progress!

I then worked with Zoe, my 8 year old Corgi.  I think I trained her this a few years ago, but didn’t continue to require the good behavior at the door.  When I began training her she caught on very quickly and was thrilled to be getting cookies.

The big test was putting the dogs together since they are especially bad when it’s time to go outside and all the dogs are wanting out.  I started by working with Riley and Elliott together.  Riley’s first sit was a little slower than I would like, but once he understood it was the same criteria he was much better.   We played a lot of tug and they did very well when I switched dogs and asked the other to play.  This was a news flash for Elliott because he thought he was the only dog that gets to play tug.  But, he did much better at taking turns than I expected.
Then, I added in Zoe and they all did great.   The video shows a little bit of the training and adding each dog.  It is wonderful to have them not barking obnoxiously and running out the door all at once!


Thank you again this month to Libby, for sharing another great “peek” into her training, this time of a behaviour that was “irritating” to her!  “Irritation is Motivation” and the dogs in the video look motivated to work and train with Libby! Today I am grateful for Libby demonstrating how easy it can be to turn a struggle into a strength!