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 Right Bed in the Right Spot

Resting and sleeping are not necessarily the same state. Good sleep where we feel safe and comfortable is important for us all.

Play Health Check

When we look at play or food delivery as an ACTIVITY we share the same mindset as the dog: is there pleasure to be experienced?

Since the Dawn of Dog Training

The old joke reminds us that the only thing dog trainers can agree on is that their training method in the best one. It becomes increasingly difficult to know which method is “right” and whether it will suit the dog, the situation and trainer’s skills.

Back to Basics?

The word “basic” is often derided as synonymous with “shallow,” but in its origins it is the very opposite: foundational, profound, supportive.

The Whole of The Dog

We cannot divide training into compartments of fast recalls, or sit for greeting, or loose leads as everything we ask of the dogs is interrelated.

Not Today and Not for My Sheepdogs

Standard protocols of extinction, impulse control, counterconditioning are quickly grabbed off the shelf as satisfactory solutions. These solutions are unlikely to help your collie, your sheepdog as the focus is heavily on suppression of who they are and why they live.

Do you see what I see

Doing better is the reward from doing the work. This work needs to be the right work at the right time with the right intent done in the right way.

The Cost of Cherrypicking

When we admit that the ideas we’re sharing are derived from the work of others, we demonstrate our own commitment to learning

A Family of Multiple Dogs

Another addition is not just an extra bed and bowl. It is important to build a home that is healthy, content and well-balanced.

A Road to Nowhere

When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.

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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