dog impulse control

Well that was a great week of dog training!

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The 5 Day Workshop was roundly acclaimed a great success! People got results that astonished them. Things they’d been struggling with for months or years were resolved in just five intensive days. 

I love celebrating my students’ successes, so while my team and I are still working on the aftermath of the Workshop and welcoming new students into the two courses recommended,

From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog

and

From Challenging Dog to Brilliant Family Dog

… I thought I’d let the Workshoppers speak for themselves:

 

Thank you for caring, it is so genuine. I am looking forward to this course!

My 14 week old puppy loved this! He couldn’t take his eyes off me, plus he sat after every treat without being told.

Did two sessions already and his recalls outside improved. This is going to be a fabulous week!! Thank you so much!

Thanks for your kind approach; it’s so much nicer than harsh words or worse!

Thank you for making the course and emails so easy to follow!

So Meg (the world's most anxious Border Collie who we've only had for a few weeks), has been playing - yes real playing with tail wagging, playbows, and coming back for more! She's now exhausted and flat out after all the playing - looking very relaxed. I'm a convert.

You are so amazing. I’m so enjoying this training video - hugs from me and Rory

He's improved so much and isn't as reactive when out.

You put the tools in front of us and give us the confidence to experiment! I so appreciate your clarity!

Though I teach others and we do this practice every day with my own dogs, we are loving and benefiting from the group experience. Thank you so much for this, this is my first course like this. The course so far is great, even for a training professional!

She is much better on the lead since playing the focus game yeah

This is really revolutionary! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and by that helping a huge number of people be their best version of pet companion.

This course really works and not just for a week. I haven't used any verbal cues or hand signals while playing the game. Looking forward to tomorrow morning when we do the next unit.

It usually takes at least two calls to get him in reluctantly from the garden. Today after the focus game, adding the sit cue, I called him, he came racing in on first call and sat in front of me! It’s only day 4 …

You’re a godsend.

Molly has always been very responsive to training (she's a collie/springer cross) but OMG! What an eye-opener and what fun to actually see her thinking and working out what I want her to do! It's so different but she's so engaged with me - I think she’s really enjoying it. It's amazing!! I feel tickled pink!

So proud of how my little dog is progressing, thanks to what we are learning from Beverley, would never have thought it possible, but we’re steadily getting there!

Fantastic information delivered in a very easy to understand manner. I always pick up a great tip from you - Thanks!

It all makes so much sense. And we are seeing such changes in both dogs.

Just wanted to say thank you for the 5 day workshop, we have seen a really big difference in Maisie, she is a lot more calm and much more focused on her walks which means no pulling on the lead and she also seems much more content.

Thank you so much for the workshop. It's has been incredibly helpful and great fun and has finally tired her out!!!

Thank you so much. Your 5 day Workshop has been most enlightening, I have always taught my dogs using a soft voice and a gentle touch, but I must say your method this week has been an eye-opener, letting the dog work out what is required! Fantastic idea.

This week has been thoroughly enjoyable for both myself and Maisey,

Isn't it fabulous how focused they are on you?

It’s amazing how quickly they work it out x

We have learned so much from Beverley Courtney's Essential Skills for a Brilliant Family Dog and the Growly but Brilliant Family Dog books.

Love this training. Bonnie and I have learned so much in such a short time. Thank you Beverley.

Saw so much progress with the 5 day Workshop. Dogs and us calmer and enjoying each other so much more. Stress levels right down.

I love love LOVE that as a beginner it’s about just doing the exercises and letting the magic happen, whether with my creativity or my dog’s responses! THIS I can do!!

 A big thank you Beverley and team for a fantastic 5 day Workshop.

 

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Basking in praise?

No, I’m not! I’m too busy helping the new students find everything they need and supplying them with their course notebooks …

 

But I can allow myself a pat on the back for helping more dogs round the world have a happier life with their devoted owners, and be better understood.

I’ll drink to that!

 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

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Helping your young dog understand our world

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I was standing in our local high street with my puppy, just watching the world go by.

We saw people, children, dogs, wheelchairs, cars, vans, and a very interesting pigeon on the pavement a few yards from us. Coco studied this for a while and I gave him plenty of time to look at it, ensuring his lead was slack. Whenever he seemed more than curious, I’d feed him for not reacting. We were taking everything in our stride …

UNTIL this pleasant episode was interrupted by shouting. A woman was walking down the wide pavement, yanking the lead of her dog. She shouted “LEAVE IT!!” and yanked again. As far as I could see the dog was quite surprised by this.

She marched on, towards us and the pigeon. The friendly-looking young dog looked towards my pup - YANK! “LEAVE IT!!”

Then he made the mistake of glancing towards the pigeon YANKYANK SHAKE “LEAVE IT!!!”

By now the poor dog was straining on his lead to get as far away from his owner as possible. She stopped, gave the lead an almighty yank and hoisted the dog off his feet, once more yelling “LEAVE IT!!”

I wonder if that dog had any idea what “Leave it” meant?

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What I do know is that a naturally curious young dog was being abused and punished for … what? Showing interest in his surroundings. 

This is exactly what I had brought my young dog out to do!

•  It’s very sad that anyone should treat another creature in this way.

•  It’s more sad that the dog was doing nothing wrong.

•  Sadder still that his owner seems to think this is the way to teach.

•  And saddest of all? He is stuck with this short-tempered, unenlightened owner.

We can’t reach everyone, but by our example we can hope to change attitudes, one dog at a time

 

To get a flying start at this, get our free 8-part email course which gives you “training recipes” for changing things you don’t like, and encouraging the things you do like in your dog

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I'm too busy to train my dog

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Gone are the days when you had to march round a hall for what seemed like hours on end to train your dog. Those bad ole days when we were instructed to practice only whole exercises instead of breaking them down into tiny component steps.

No longer do you have to prepare a training session like a military campaign, getting everything in place before you fetch your controlled and manipulated dog from the white room he’d been placed in so that he didn’t get too excited/bored/whatever. 

You don’t have to take copious notes on what you do in every session. Note-taking certainly has a place, and if you’re a professional animal trainer, working with a host of different animals every day, it’s a must. But for the average dog-owner, with just one dog to work with, you should know what you last did and how to progress it next. 

Most of my training is done on the fly, as part of my everyday life with my dogs.

A delightful morning greeting! | All-Day Training, force-free training | #dogtraining, #puppytraining | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

First thing in the morning, for instance, my dogs are released from their beds to give a delightful morning greeting. Here’s Lacy’s morning smile to me, leaning over my pillow … What could be nicer?

Straight downstairs and they all sit at the garden door waiting for it to open and to be let out by name, individually. 

So already we’ve used matwork, impulse control, turn-taking, and waiting for - and acting on - a personal release cue. These all have their own intrinsic rewards - no need for treats or toys. 

While the others do their business, Rollo will be too busy watching the hens emerging from their house for another day of clucking and scratching. His “Hurry up” cue sends him straight to the pee-side of the garden for some action. Back inside again, they are free to greet the cat, keep me company getting ready for the day, to chew bones, lie on their beds - generally amuse themselves. So that takes more impulse control, self-confidence, feeling comfortable in their own skins. 

And so it goes on, through the day. While I work they can do what they like. An off-switch is an essential here! Preparing for a walk or van-journey incorporates impulse control and patterning. 

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A visit to the shops or cafe brings in more of their everyday training. Here’s Coco on his mat at the coffee shop, waiting for victims to come through the door to greet him (so he thinks). More matwork, more impulse control, polite greetings. 

Once we’re out we either have an exploring walk, or play with toys (each dog has their own toy so that there aren’t any mid-air collisions or spats), and the two that have difficulty with things suddenly happening - strange dogs, people, children, bikes, plastic bags, or hot air balloons - get to work on their reactivity with carefully-designed strategies for them to adopt instead of barking, lunging, and shrieking. I help them cope with the hazard, then on we go again. Here we’ll have used a number of reactivity-geared techniques, counter-conditioning, recall, loose lead walking, retrieve, stop mid-hurtle, down, sit, and any other tricks I fancy asking for. 

I’ll walk one, two, three, or four, dogs as the fancy takes me, and as the need arises. Multiple dogs in a home can soon turn into a gang of hoodlums if their individual needs aren’t catered for.  


William Henry Davies had it, when he penned his well-known poem Leisure. He knew the value of living in the moment:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Breaking down what you end up with into tiny steps

Those recalls, for instance, aren’t something you teach by telling your dog to sit, marching away, facing him like a statue, then barking out a command for him to come to this imposing figure, and sit. Life is not an army camp! And your wayward dog is not going to learn by you just yelling at him when he’s a couple of hundred yards away, hoping that somehow, miraculously, he’ll understand what’s wanted. 

When I call my dog I want him to respond to me with a “Hey! That’s my name!”, a head-turn towards me (a stop and turn if they’re racing away), whole-body turn - then a race towards me where they’ll be greeted not with a stony face, but with joy. No requirement to sit - just to race back. So each of those parts is taught entirely separately, and only occasionally put together as a whole. And each of those parts is practiced in isolation, regularly. 

Practice makes perfect

Yes there are little impromptu training sessions dotted about the day, one dog at a time, while the others wait their turns on their beds - or perhaps all at once to see who’s listening!

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And when I’m teaching a completely new skill - scentwork (in the photo Lacy is searching a car for contraband), teaching them their sign to give consent when I want to handle or groom them, fun things like stacking beakers or dinner bowls, fetching and carrying things for me, formal obedience stuff, like Sendaway or dressage-style Heelwork - these will be slightly more planned, but still slotted in for a minute or two here or there. In the back of my mind I know what I want to achieve, and what small steps need to be taken to get to the desired result. Then I just peg away at it when we are all in the mood.

In short, instead of planning training times with my dogs, which would inevitably be postponed because time slid away, or I felt too tired, or I’ve timed things wrong and they are now exhausted from a long walk . . . I grab the moments I already spend with them and use those times to teach new things or practice old tricks. (It’s all tricks to them.)

We don’t line our children up in the morning and give them a ten-minute lesson on what we want them to learn, then ignore them for the rest of the day! We interact with them all day long - a word here, a story there, a little advice or teaching slid in to a conversation, appreciation for something they’ve done which pleases us. We don’t need to allocate special time for all this - it all happens as the day unfolds, during the time we are already spending with them. 

And that’s what happens with my dogs here. A frequent note to self that “What you expect is what you get,” ensures that I keep the training going at all times - although to my dogs it’s just daily life, interaction with me and each other, cuddles, food, fun.

This is what I call “All-Day Training” - just bits, slotted in here and there.

Who’s doing the training?

How many people have a dog of eight or ten years old, and say - “Oh, Harry never comes back when he’s called,” as if somehow it’s Harry’s fault that they never took the time to teach him!

It’s never too late to teach your dog skills that not only may save his life, but which make daily life so much more congenial. If you wait till the time is right, all your ducks are in a row, and you are going to “do some training”, you’ll have missed the boat. 

Full of care, you’ll have missed out on the squirrels and the stars, and the smile in the eyes.

Forget about formal sessions. Forget about sits and downs and marching about on a lead. Stick to All-Day Training and see how easy it is. 

If you want to find out how to break things down and teach one minute at a time, check out my Online Courses, and my step-by-step books. Develop the bond between you and your dog, enjoy watching him blossom as you work together, and things will all pan out very nicely.

You’ll be a family.

 


And for lots of quick ways to learn some of the things in this article - and which you can fit anywhere in your busy day - get our free email course here

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Beware the deadly mince pie! Christmas hazards for dogs

Dog training, new puppy, puppy training, Christmas, dog health | Some foods are dangerous for dogs | CLICK FOR THE LIST | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

In the excitement of Christmas Eve, somehow Jessie managed to scarf down a six-pack of mince pies. The shredded packet was all the evidence needed, plus an unusually quiet Jessie.

Fortunately Jessie’s owner knew the seriousness of the situation - she knew that raisins can be fatal to a dog - and rushed her to the vet without waiting for her to get sicker.

And that’s where Jessie stayed over the Christmas break, in intensive care, on a drip, while they worked to save her kidneys. 

That story has a happy ending. Jessie came back home, weak and tired - but with fully functioning kidneys. It was a harsh, frightening, and probably very expensive lesson for Jessie’s family. You can be sure there’ll be no mince pies left lying around in that house in future!

Nor any Christmas cake, fruit cake, chocolate, chocolate with raisins, headache pills, artificial sweeteners, slug pellets, rat poison - the list goes on. 

Not to mention rubber bands, paper clips, mothballs, small pebbles, cooked poultry, wooden meat skewers, plastic meat wrapping, and elastic netting and string for parcelling meat.

 

Check out my new online Challenging Dog Mini-Course and Wild Puppy Mini-Course teaching new dog and puppy owners to achieve lasting results through a few crucial lessons of dog-friendly training

 

The world is such a dangerous place! 

Not really. We don’t need to get anxious about it. Parents of toddlers automatically keep the area clear of known hazards.

We just need to know about a few hazards that are peculiar to the dog.

Like raisins and chocolate, for instance.

Who’d have thought the humble mince pie could cause so much trouble?

Leave It!