Top Marks for Tommy

by Iain Sneddon // June 2017

Top marks for Tommy!

Dog School student Tommy who didn’t have the best start in life a double merle breeding left him deaf and partially sighted. These ailments haven’t stopped Tommy being a happy soul who does amazingly well navigating through day to day trials.

Tommy’s owners wanted some help with basic training and training solid hand signals. As with all training consistency is key, anyone who has had the pleasure of living with a Border Collie will know the importance of keeping the same cues accurately. The first step was to choose a marker for training that both his owners could use. The clicker wasn’t an option so we opted for a “thumbs up” hand marker. This was introduced on basic behaviours such as automatic focus. Tommy was quick to understand the relevance of this signal and we had our marker to train other more complicated behaviours with.

Generalizing the training between owners proved key, Tommy could quickly connect the hand signals for Sits and Downs with one owner for instance. But when the other owner who was a lot taller tried there was no response. We trained each hand signal cue from the start for both owners, making sure to work at a suitable pace to create strong foundations and Tommy was soon making the connection. Whenever we are training our dogs it is important to work at their pace. Dog training isn’t a race to get to the end, if you rush through at some point the behaviour will fall apart and you will be back starting again. It is far better, to take time at each small step to before moving on.  Lay strong foundations and your training will stand the tests of time.

Tommy’s owner really did take to the training style of Dog School and it was obvious the amount of homework they were doing. Being pro-active between classes is a key part to making the most of our courses. We suggest a minimum of half an hour training a day between classes. This is best divided into small fun sessions for a lot of dogs this would be something like 6 x 5 minute sessions spread through the day. If your dog switches of before the 5 minutes is up, have shorter sessions and more of them..

Tommy graduated from Dog School having worked through all the behaviours during the course and stole everyone’s hearts along the way. We look forward to meeting him again soon, and wish him and his owners the very best till we do.