Little and Large!
by Kimberley King // July 2018
Little and Large!
Here at Dog School West Midlands, we regularly see all different sizes, ages and breeds in class, but no 2 have stood out as much as little and large – who despite being so different in stature are only 2 weeks apart in age!
Meet Hugo, a 4-month-old Chihuahua and 3 1/2-month-old Pepper the Great Dane, who graduated together on 4th May from our puppy class in Great Barr.
When they first attended our classes at the end of March, Pepper strolled in confidently to class and couldn’t wait to get started. In contrast, little Hugo was more wary of his new surroundings – which included dogs much bigger than himself. In order to give him some confidence, we introduced Hugo and Pepper very slowly in week 2 – keeping Pepper on lead and allowing Hugo to approach in his own time. He was cautious but gradually got closer until they said a lovely hello to each other. Pepper was wonderful at reading Hugo’s body language and adapted her boisterous approach to a much calmer one – which allowed Hugo to take things at his own pace.
Over the weeks they worked alongside each other whilst working on their recall and loose lead walking amongst other skills. This allows dogs in class to be alongside each other yet focused on their owner – something we find helps a lot of owners in class by teaching their dog that not every dog is more valuable than them – their owners can be much more fun!!
In week 3, we saw play bows between the 2 and although Hugo wasn’t quite confident enough to engage in play, once more Pepper read this body language brilliantly and gave Hugo the time and space he needed.
The following photo was taken at the end of graduation on week 5. Hugo was much more confident by the end of the course and sweetly pawed at Pepper’s nose – which she loved!
Pepper and Hugo’s journey highlights the importance of reading the body language our dogs are showing us to allow them the time and space to build confidence over time. Had we rushed these dogs it may not have developed into such a lovely bond and confidence building exercise for Hugo. Likewise, it was a great experience for Pepper to develop her social skills and adapt her style of play around other, smaller breeds.
Pepper and Hugo graduated in style, with the hard work from their respective owners, who showed us that with positive reinforcement and time, we really can help our dogs to flourish!