When Helen started in my free 5 Day Workshop in January, Mocha was a typical 13-week-old puppy - full of the joys of spring, easily excited, and much-loved.
She’s a “Cockerpoo” - a combination of excitable Mini Poodle (take my and Coco Poodle’s word for the excitability quotient!) and busybusybusy Cocker Spaniel. This crossbreed can throw up a lot of challenges which are hard for the unsuspecting novice dog-owner to handle.
They did so well in the short Workshop that Helen went on to join my full program From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog, where she and Mocha went from strength to strength.
Instead of the ups and downs of puppyhood, the total misunderstandings and regrets that I read in my inbox regularly, Helen went on an almost linear path upwards and onwards!
She discovered that instead of saying NOOOO she just had to ask Mocha to do something she truly understood and which had a strong reward history.
She discovered that rewards can be all sorts of things, not only food.
She discovered that asking was much more effective and enjoyable than telling.
She didn’t expect miracles of her pup, who’d only been on the planet a matter of weeks,
And she regaled us with stories of their successes together - far beyond what the average young puppy can achieve!
Just two weeks into the Wild Puppy Course …
Here’s a report from Helen in Week 2 of the Wild Puppy course. What thrilled me about this is how Helen had completely grasped the concepts I want puppy-owners to understand, thereby enabling her to use the same processes in other situations.
“A few days ago I got very despondent as I had to drag my pup out for a walk. She completely ignored the treats (sausage!) and then she dragged me home. After reading some unrelated stories and comments on this group, I decided I was being unreasonable (she's only a puppy of 15 weeks) and maybe was stressed/frightened by the experience (hence ignoring sausage).
1. I've mentally re-named walks as "sniffs", which allows me to relax and let her control the pace, direction and focus.
2. We're playing lots more in the garden instead - doesn't she know it's freezing? The loose leash step and treat game is a favourite.
3. Someone's become a bit of a mat star ... Today's mat test was giving my Mum the mat and puppy. It worked without me - Woohoo!
4. We seem to have cracked the new Rules of Tugging, after a month of "wrong" rules!
5. Mocha "got" the Magic hand game straightaway to leave stuff that isn’t for her. I'm now making my friends try it too.
6. I let her off lead yesterday to play with another (older) puppy and got her attention by using her name 3 times - she abandoned her playmate each time and raced to see what I wanted.
So proud of us!
Sorry to prattle on, but I wanted you all to know how much your support has helped my relationship with my beautifully amazing puppy.”
And here’s what she had to say when Mocha was 20 weeks old. Notice how she spent time building the foundations before expecting miracles.
“Today I am so very, very, very proud of my pup and all our hard work ... why? Because today I managed to loose leash walk somewhere that wasn't the back garden. This is HUGE!
Prior to this she's been so excited when out, she refused to eat treats and pulled like a train on the way back home. We've worked so hard in the garden and near the car over the last 6 weeks, that I thought we should try to go a little further. So, I grabbed the cheese and aimed to walk up the road for a few metres. She totally got it and we were walking nicely for 20 minutes and have walked about 0.5km! I nearly ran out of cheese!!!
I'm a very proud mum right now - she's been given a chew to celebrate…”
A stunning recall from this puppy!
But I think the outstanding moment for me was when Helen showed us this video, also in Week 2 of the course - with her 15-week-old puppy! This young puppy recalled instantly, on one call, and hurtled away from a bunch of people and friendly dogs back to her owner.
Can your 15-week-old puppy do that? Can your 15-month-old dog do that? Can you imagine having that level of recall?
Well … you can! Watch out for June 10th, when we’ll be starting a new free 5 Day Workshop for your Brilliant Family Dog - You can Join us here!
When I asked Helen if I could use her video and quotes she replied:
“Absolutely! Share away! I hope someone else can be helped as much as we were.”
This generosity is typical of the kind of person who’s attracted to the Wild Puppy Course. I’m very proud of all my students