When Dog Trainers go Home!
by Karen Brady // May 2018
When Dog Trainers go Home!
A day off in the life of a Head Coach!
So I’m Karen, Head Coach for Dog School East Midlands. At work, I’m busy coaching people through training their dogs but when I’m at home, it’s a different story!
I live for my dogs, I adore them, and I have trained them to suit my lifestyle. Here are some of the ways my training has helped to integrate my pooches into my life.
I’m a busy person, I enjoy coffee with friends, long walks and I am also a musician, I play mainly the violin and piano and often attend concerts. But don’t worry, my dogs are never left behind!
Meet Marley & Lottie, or Princess as we like to call her. I have had Marley for almost a year, and at the grand old age of 12, he’s a true gent! Lottie I’ve had nearly 5 months now, she’s 7 years old and still full of beans!
When I adopted Marley form Dogs Trust he was very overweight and couldn’t resist stealing food! Now he can lay down and chill out while I have coffee and cake at my local café! What a transformation! Actually, it was very simple, a little bit of training every day taught him to be calm and relaxed around food. Firstly I taught him that when I was eating or cooking he would have a Kong, stuffed with his normal dog biscuits (diet ones of course!). After a week he started to go to his bed and wait for the Kong when I started cooking! From this, I then weaned him off the Kong and kept his pot of biscuits carefully weighed out for his dinner on the side in the kitchen, and would throw the odd one onto his bed to encourage him to spend more time there. The more we practiced the more patience he developed, and soon he didn’t need any biscuits he would just go to his bed when I entered the kitchen!
I went back to using the Kong when I had a dinner party because he wasn’t used to that much food and people, but it was lovely how settled he was on his bed while I had my friends around. From this, I started to take him places……..To begin with a quiet café with outdoor seating on a Sunday morning for a coffee. I took his breakfast allowance and practiced teaching him to stay calm and relaxed. I did this every week after his walk in a country park until he needed no food to settle! Then we tried inside a busier café and he actually did it automatically! Despite me having his food with me just in case!
Now Marley frequents pubs, cafes, restaurants and local garden shows and I always get complimented on how well he behaves! And believe it or not, he is completely deaf! So he learned this without me saying a single word! I just rewarded his good choices and set him up to succeed!
Now Marley enjoys music…..in so much as he likes the vibrations off the piano, so it’s easy to take him to concerts! Lottie, on the other hand, is a little more sensitive! So on top of the settle training, I also got her used to lots of different sounds!
I recorded snippets of violin, piano and other instruments and played them quietly in the background while I was training her to sit, lie down and settle in the home, so she was having fun and getting rewarded while these noises were in the background. Each day I increased the volume by one until it was rather loud! I was always checking to make sure she was happy but looking at how quickly she was responding to the training and making sure she would still take the treats!
Next, I took her to a concert at my local church where we sat at the back near the door and practiced our settle. I took her outside for little breaks every 5-10 minutes, although these days she will relax and even fall asleep for over an hour while I take in the culture!
So when dog trainers go home we are usually training our own dogs! Teaching them to enjoy life with us, or sometimes just teaching them fun things like closing doors or bringing us a drink from the fridge!
To find out how you can help your dog to have good manners in public sign up for our training classes via our website!
Or give us a call on 01509 882316 to book on!