by Lizzie Ashton // September 2017
Back to School: The Return of Ollie the Labrador
We first met Ollie after he was booked into one of our Puppy classes at the beginning of the year. You might recognise him from one of our earlier blogs. This time round Ollie was definitely more suited to our adult classes: at around 9 months old with huge paws and long legs. Owner Christine wanted to re-book Ollie into classes to tie up any of those loose ends with the training and consolidate what he had learnt in his puppy classes.
First class arrived and an extremely excitable Ollie came through the door, it was so lovely to see he’d remembered where he’d done his puppy training and to see how much he’d clearly enjoyed it. I know we were all looking forward to seeing what he now looked like and to have a cuddle with our familiar canine friend!
Ollie had mastered the settle in his puppy classes and he definitely had not forgotten what he had to do if owner Christine disengaged from him. He headed straight to our purple beds to chill out to wait for classes to start. Teaching a settle is extremely useful in many situations: if our dogs know to relax and chill out when we are occupied this can make washing up, cooking dinner or even visits to cafes and pubs much easier with our canine companions around.
We were all impressed by Ollie’s loose lead walking and recall in class, this meant we could really step up the tests. Adding in distractions and practicing these behaviours in different situations means we can ensure these behaviours are bombproofed for the real world. We all know the feeling of having a perfectly well behaved dog at home but as soon as that door opens and the outside world comes into the equation it’s as if it’s all gone out the window.
Ollie needed some extra help with his approach to greeting people when out and about, he’s so motivated to say hello that he sometimes forgets that this is done best with his four paws on the floor. This is something we know is a common problem with owners so we make sure we cover it in class. We introduced an automatic sit for Ollie so if Christine stops walking his first thought is to plonk his bottom on the ground. We also acted as if we were people in the park so Ollie could practice how to greet politely towards us first. This meant Christine could practice the training in class before out on walks and we could practice our role play skills.
It was great to have Ollie back in classes! If you wish to find out more about our classes or have any other questions please contact Sussex Dog School on: 01273 466977 or email: SussexDogSchool@dogstrust.org.uk
To read Ollie's first blog, click here