Smart spaniels strut their stuff!
by Emily Freeman and Rachel Taunton // April 2018
Smart spaniels strut their stuff!
While our training classes are organised by age of a dog, we take any breed (or fabulous mix) in any class. However, sometimes we end up with a class theme – as was the case when three spaniels came for training at our Bridgend class!
I’ve always had a soft spot for spaniels, having two Springer Spaniel crossbreeds myself, so when I saw three sets of floppy brown ears coming through the door I was delighted! Bob, Charlie and Rolo were absolutely gorgeous and entered with the whirlwind of wiggling bums and frantic sniffing that you would expect from this type of dog.
They all had slightly different things that they wanted to focus on. Charlie was prone to deciding that birds were the best thing ever when out on a walk and would leave his tennis ball and go hunting, temporarily deaf to his owner, before returning to collect his tennis ball and continue on his walk. We needed to help Charlie understand that if he came back when he was called he would get a delicious snack AND the chance to ruffle some feathers! We worked on building up his recall reliability inside, helped along by our resident robin that lives in the barn and provided an excellent distraction. Once he had mastered this we went outside and started to add distractions and even started working on an emergency stop cue.
Motivating speedy recalls with a game of fetch
Rolo also wanted to work on his recall, but he was more motivated by playing with his friends. Again, his owner worked hard with him to build up his tolerance of distractions. We taught him that a speedy response would work in his favour, as otherwise his playmate (mostly fluffy Bob) would conveniently stop playing with him (thanks to his wonderful owner reclaiming him should Rolo has a momentary lapse of recall motivation). He soon started to realise that a fast visit to his owner was merely the opportunity for a pit stop, rather than the end to his fun and games.
Rolo focusing on returning to his owner like a pro!
Bob was hugely enthusiastic about life which meant he wanted to go everywhere at a million miles per hour. His poor owners, only having two legs, found this hard work and wanted to teach him to walk calmly without pulling on his lead instead. Bob proved to be a natural, and was soon getting the idea in a low distraction environment. Building up to new and exciting environments would take time and consistency, but he made a very positive start!
Bob makes concentrating look easy!
These three boys all thoroughly enjoyed their time at Dog School, and their dedicated owners worked hard to progress them each and every week. Thanks to our small class sizes of no more than six dogs per class and two coaches in every lesson they were able to progress in the specific areas that they wanted to work on, as well as covering many other useful training cues!
Do you have a puppy, adult or golden oldie who needs a little bit of help with their recall or loose lead walking? Or maybe you and your dog have a few other skills you could brush up on while discovering fun new ways to bond with your furry friend? Either way, get in touch! We run classes for all ages, sizes and types of dogs, and would love to help you help your dog. You can call us on 07920658645, email us at SouthWalesDogSchool@dogstrust.org.uk and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @dogschoolsw.