It's been a busy few weeks here at K9 Co-operation. I've been pulling together courses and new training groups which have kicked off this month. At the end of March I will be running my first behaviour workshop to which I already have a few people booked in, places are limited so get in while you have the chance. I also started my first agility class last week beginning with the foundations of agility which works on body awareness and balance and teaching techniques required for the agility ring. I have three class attendees who are interested in competing at some point so I am going to be very comprehensive in the way I teach the class, despite some people just joining in for something fun to do with their best friend. The first class went really well with some people really surprised at how focused their young dogs were being considering all the new doggies they got to meet. I am looking forward to our class tomorrow evening and seeing how much everyone has been practising at home. Tomorrow we are expanding on techniques from the previous class.
In terms of behaviour work I have taken on the job of helping a fear aggressive collie who has already been seen by another trainer but made no progress. I did an initial evaluation for the dog and have put a training plan in place, and then for the last two weeks, once a week, I have been working closely with them using my awesome stooge dog, Harvey. The progression in their collie has been impressive so far. He has already calmed down his reactivity, his reactive distance has decreased meaning he can now get closer to strange dogs before he reacts, and he actually walked calmly next to harvey and willingly came over to me while i had harvey next to me, for a cuddle. This is a huge improvement for him. Our main goal is to have him interact with completely non-reactive dogs who ignore his antics as this shows him that being around other dogs does not mean they will react back and return his aggression. Once he has stopped reacting to our stooge dogs, we will begin to introduce other dogs which will verbalise but not physically react to him. We are going to slowly build up his tolerance. He is not being punished for reacting, but instead he is being encouraged to return to his owners everytime he feels anxious and needs to react. We are using a mixture of positive reinforcement, behaviour adjustment therapy and distraction tecniques. We are interrupting his 'focus' on other dogs before he hits his need to react to modify the way he deals with other dogs. The improvement so far is really promising and we hope it continues.
I am also currently taking names for a second agility group, and I am working out the practicalities of running a week long training course for kids and young adults with a possible fun competition at the end to see how everyone has done. It is still in the interest gathering stage and I will be speaking to the venue I use for training about how this might work as iot would run over the summer holidays. If I get a lot of interest I may think about running kids training classes. I've also completed an art commission and I am working on a few art pieces as I get the time. I will add them to the site when I am done. I apologise for the fuzzy agility photos, the only person available to take some at that point was my 7 year old daughter who was helping me with the equipment on the evening!
Dog Trainer, animal lover, artist and photographer