The Pleasure of Puppyhood

by | Sep 20, 2022

Better than all your birthdays put together. A complete package of such cuteness that your insides turn to warm caramel. A huggable, wriggly, kissing snuggler. Gaze affectionately at your deep sleeping pal and watch them dream of adventures in grassy fields, snuffling under leaves and sighing contentedly at your feet. But remember that cute fades, and that taking on any young animal is a long-term responsibility which will demand more time than you imagine, more expense that you could consider, and a serious change in your lifestyle. Be very sure your life is ready for this.

A New Puppy. Oh Joy

The reality of raising a puppy; the responsibilities associated with inviting a dog into one’s life.

Surprising Puppy

A demonstration of how the engineering of Todd’s learning is adapted in the transition from puppyhood to adolescence.

The Power of Passive Learning

The power of passive learning requires planning and understanding; the repetition of positive experiences creates associations that colour learning.

The Experienced Dog

A consideration of how we may provide positive experiences for our dogs to observe and explore, in order that they may expand their abilities to assess situations and environments while feeling both secure and comfortable. 

Fast Does Not Mean Better

A reflection on our preoccupation with developmental scales, fast fixes, and speed as a measurement of learning. Encourages reflection and questioning.

Primary School (Setter Members only)

Being a puppy is a busy, over-filled learning fest. They excel at being inquisitive and curious. This needs thoughtful and attentive guidance from you. Here are some ways of supporting puppies in their learning through familiarisation to “something new every day.”

But It Is a Puppy (Setter Members only)

Puppies are designed to bring on a shot of pleasure-chemicals that override common sense and risk analysis in people. This essay explores puppy biting, and the effects of pressure living on dogs. It offers some suggestions for outings and activities beyond the daily walk of perpetual motion.

Training is something that is done TO the dog. Learning is something that happens FOR the dog.

Key Reading

The Spaces Between

At the heart of learner-centred education, the teacher acts as a guide whose role is to elicit rather than to impart, and learners quickly become empowered and equipped to transfer their knowledge and skills to new scenarios.

In praise of naughty dogs

.. a desire for solutions to problems that weren’t problems until someone else outside of the relationship suggested they were.

50 years a student of sheepdogs

In recognition of my half-century of being a student of collies I want to celebrate their skills as masters of my learning.

Why add fun?

When an activity gives intrinsic pleasure we do not need to add fun.

No room for mechanics

If your ambition is to have good mechanics in communication to animals then you may find yourself blocked into a tight corner

The Experienced Dog

Knowing your dog has receive sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions so that when the unexpected happens they will draw on their skills and solve the issue.

The Value of Experience

The non-experienced, or current generation of imposters, have attended a course, read a book, got a certificate and have yet to gain experience to deepen their knowledge or understanding of the subject, protocol, method …

Chasm opening up?

The more I see “sit, down, come, stay heel” as the essential basics the more I am moving further away from the general view of living with dogs.

Normal is always changing

What was normal in training 20 or 40 years ago is not the same today. There are folk persistently maintaining the normal of 1976, but fortunately there are enough folk with a deeper understanding of the processes that have moved normal forwards.

Shaping by rewards

When I see a dog showing a behaviour that is heading towards potential conflict, my first question is “what rewards are available?”

Top Training

Evidence of learning

When we use the words “teach” or “train” child, person or dog, the operative term implies that the process is under the ownership of the teacher or trainer. What your teacher thinks you have learned may not be what you actually learned.

One dog watching

The other dog working
or ….how to train the spectators to quietly rest and watch whilst you work, play, teach a single member of the group

The Power of Passive Learning

Active learning: the learner takes active choice of what to do, how to respond, is attentive and making conscious effort
Passive learning: little conscious effort, reward is delivered for minimum effort.

A Day of Learning

A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day lying idly in the sun. Learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.

Surprising Puppy

Surprising Puppy. With obnoxious moments. After introducing the obnoxious puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the Delightful Young Man he is turning into……

Obnoxious Puppy

The delight of your new puppy is probably going to last a few weeks, maybe four if you are lucky. When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.

Preparation

Preparing before you train and the final check list

More than words

We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.

Not all lures contain food

“the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour”
This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.

Remote lures

Lures at a distance, separated from hands, pockets . Using reward stations, patterns, containers

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