Category Archives

    Life Skills

  • All
  • Mikki Clikka

    Clicker is an essential tool when I train new behaviours. I use a marker word too, but I like to start with clicker – the dogs appear ‘sharper’, the message is clearer and the results are quicker.

    I have clickers in the kitchen, in the living room, in various bags, in jacket pockets and in the car – just in case I’m caught clickerless. I have favourites, even with the same brand, because some are just a touch different from others. Of course I had researched various clickers before I settled for mostly iClick, but, as it seems, not all.

    Mikki Clikka has been a well kept secret – I came across it while away training in Holland. The good news is that it’s a UK product, made by Mikki, and it’s available from Amazon, Training Lines etc.

    Mikki Clikka is a favourite for three simple reasons:

    • It has a finger loop – long live ways to secure a cliker into the place where it’s easy and quick to access. The wrist band clicker is good, but often hangs somewhere it’s not as easy to pick up fast. Note: it also comes with a lanyard you can use to hang around your neck, but personally I don’t use that.
    • Its size and shape are user friendly – the big raised ball button is easy to access and easy to press,
    • Last but not least, it looks good. I love the red and black!

    The click is loud and clear, for a sensitive dog you might prefer something quieter, but for my detection training it’s a bonus, as I may need to click from some distance.

    And some great news: Mikki will be supporting our event Detection Masterclass, with Wesley Visscher, and each handler for this workshop will receive their own Mikki Clikka as a gift.

  • The Trainer’s Pouch

    ‘Treat bags… it’s time to renew and I’d like a really good one this time.’ I asked for recommendations on Facebook group with like minded dog-training-mad people like me. I got 63 replies…

    Up to that point I’d been a Terry Ryan loyal, I was on my second one in four years. It was getting seriously smelly, and the hinges had never felt as flexible as on my first one. So I decided to try something new, and having seen so many people with Doggone Good products, I went for one of theirs. It was a similar experience and quite good also. Though again the problem was it not washing properly (and taking forever to dry). I often use raw treats for my dogs and it can get messy.

    So messy that one day late August I discovered that the seams of my beloved treat bag had come to life! I was tempted to drop it in the woods right there and run, but felt sorry for the person who’d think it was a good find. I threw it into the nearest bin and went home to re-start the search. I needed one that was not just easy to use, but also easy to clean.

    I stumbled across my first silicone pouch, a Great & Small ACTIVE pouch. I thought it was neat to use, easy to clean and the magnetic closure was a clever idea to prevent its content from falling out – or slow down dog noses wanting to go in. But it wasn’t perfect. For one, it wasn’t large enough. But its biggest fault was the clip… it didn’t allow it to be fastened securely, so it would keep falling off. This sparked another Facebook conversation where it turned out I wasn’t alone with my dilemma. What I’d just got was similar looking, but better than Dexas Popware Pooch Pouch a few of my friends were disappointed with. But still not right.

    At this point somebody suggested The Trainer’s Pouch… Coincidentally somebody wore one at one of our interactive play workshops, so I could look at it. It seemed a little ‘boxy’ and not as slick looking as the one I’d just bought, but I couldn’t fault its functionality. Fast forward a month or so and I got used to its looks… I’ve been happily using a black one, daily. I’d even like a pink one, although I’m not a pink kind of girl!

    It holds enough treats, and sometimes I sneak in a ball too. It sits securely with a good belt that has a loop so the end of the belt doesn’t dangle. Treats don’t fall out, as one of our tracking workshop participants has found, leaning forward with it repeatedly while laying a track. And most of all, it’s easy to clean, dries faster and doesn’t smell.

    It comes in a few colours. I have a black one and have seen it in all other colours, pink, purple and blue too (the latter not in the photo). They’re nice, strong colours.

    If I’m to be really sensitive, I’m finding the belt slightly clunky when the pouch is on the table – you have to be careful where you put the pouch when you take it off and how you position it on the table, or the weight of the belt could drag it to the floor. But this isn’t at all about the performance or usefulness of the pouch when worn. Yes, this pouch doesn’t have separate compartments for different sort of treats, but you could put a bag inside. And no, it doesn’t have a hook for poo bags etc, but I personally prefer to carry those elesewhere and keep my treat pouch for rewards. The shipping from Australia can get expensive, but if you want one, they are available in the UK from Yell Dog.

    Would I recommend it to a friend? Definitely.

     

  • Why I Attended Five Interactive Play Workshops (So Far)

    At first I went along because I’d caught the ‘workshop bug’ and the topic sounded intriguing. I’d also been told on a working dog holiday that I didn’t play with my dog. What do you mean, I thought, we train a lot, and training is play. Besides, a Lab will never play like a Shepherd. My dog doesn’t even tug!

    And then I caught my dog tugging, with a friend of mine. It was me he didn’t tug with. I had never encouraged it because of the old ‘keep ’em soft mouthed’ myth from the gundog world. There is, of course, a genetic predisposition to what a dog chooses to do when it picks up an object. He hadn’t actually been a ‘deliverer’ when we first started gundog training. But we’d arrived at a point where I tried to interact using a toy and he’d just hand it over. Yes, we played. We played rough and tumble without toys, but he was controlled and cautious, which is a good thing considering how delicate we are compared with dog’s teeth. I tried to build him up to tugging, inspired by one of Susan Garrett’s programmes, but he was hesitant and I lacked confidence.

    My first interactive play workshop with Craig Ogilvie helped me see my dog’s chase drive and learn that the game didn’t have to stop if my dog lost interest. I learned how to prevent him losing interest in the first place. Some dogs have to be shown and learn to play with us – what an eye opener! I returned home feeling positive about interacting with my dog, and enthusiastic about hosting Craig’s workshops here in Surrey. Fast forward another half year, and Craig has been our guest instructor three times, delivering two workshops and one talk. I’ve also attended three of his workshops hosted by others.

    Here’s why:

    • We work just where we’re at and receive just the coaching we need, since everybody gets to have one-to-one time with Craig during the workshop. We’ve made progress since last time when we focussed on toy activation, I practised that at home, and this time I bring a couple of other questions and see what Craig suggests to focus on.
    • I grow as a handler, I gain confidence to push boundaries, many of which Craig pointed out weren’t there in the first place. I’m lucky to work with two dogs with different genetics, temperaments, drive, motivation and level of maturity. And of course it’s helpful to watch a variety of others in action with their dogs.
    • Craig as a coach makes me feel positive and motivated after each workshop. I understand better the why, what and how. Of course Craig could easily get my dog to play with him. Have you ever struggled in a class and the trainer got hold of our dog and made it perform beautifully for them? It doesn’t help. Craig goes beyond that. He may give the dog a twirl to assess or demonstrate, but his work is about getting YOU to succeed with your dog.
    • Craig is also an engaging, informative and fun speaker. Before his talk I wondered, would it be possible to match what he did in the practical workshops? And he matched it! Attending the talk set the context beautifully for my subsequent practical sessions. Things like what toys to choose and why Craig might suggest one or the other thing during play are all explained in this talk. The talk touches on background and aspects than may not come up on workshop day, but you might face at home and be better equipped to handle.
    • Last but not least, for those left gasping for air from the running around – it gets easier! I’m no fitter, but the more I understand the principles, the better I manage my physical energy. I’m even starting to have some spare brain power left to process what Craig says to me.

    I would take any opportunity for an interactive play workshop, because my dogs (and I) remain work in progress, whether it’s early days or polishing rough edges. My recommendation would be to attend Craig’s key note talk once (before or after your first workshop) and then as many workshops as you like.

  • A Dozen Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Rescue Dog

    Guest blog by David Ryan

    1. She will not be grateful for you adopting her. Why should she? You are just one more thing that has happened to her over which she had no control, some of which have been worse than others. She may come to love you and her new home in time but don’t expect gratitude for “rescuing” her, because she doesn’t understand what you did.

    2. Adopting an adult is not easier than adopting a new puppy. Okay, she may be house-trained (but not necessarily in your house) and not need to toilet through the night, but you are dealing with a dog that already has expectations of how you will behave towards her and re-learning how to respond is more difficult than first learning. Initially you should be prepared to put in at least as much time and effort as you would with a puppy.

    3. She does not know your rules. She has lived with some human rules before (maybe – maybe not if you import a street-dog) but they won’t be the same as yours. Where is she allowed? On the carpet? On the sofa? On the bed? On your knee? When, where and what is she allowed to eat? Food dropped on the floor? Free wild-food (horse manure and squirrels)? Your petunias? She will do what she has done before and, again, re-learning is harder than first learning.

    4. She does not know you from Adam (especially if you keep wearing that fig leaf). Why should she do what you say? Because you rescued her (see 1 above)? She may take time to love you and maybe six months before she trusts you (if ever, depending upon what has happened to her previously). She won’t necessarily want to come back to you when you call her – especially if something more interesting/edible/worrying/fun is happening over there.

    5. She will not automatically get on with your other dog/ cat/ hamster/ child/ husband/ hair-dryer/ vacuum cleaner/ traditional training methods… Dogs are individuals with personalities. Many dogs can accommodate changes and adapt accordingly but this will need time and effort. Sometimes some just can’t.

    6. She is not your last dog. She may have the same number of legs and cute floppy ears, but she is not a replica of any dog you have ever had. She can replace the place in your heart that your last dog left empty, but she cannot replicate them – even if she is the spitting image – so don’t expect her to.

    7. She will have odd habits (perhaps amusing, or disgusting). People allow or encourage their pets to do the weirdest things: taking food from her bowl and bringing it into the living room to eat one piece at a time, licking the plates in the dishwasher, licking her bum then your face (kisses for mummy!) or re-eating vomit (more kisses!) –  and the dog might consider these normal.

    8. People lie. Or at least are economical with the truth. Do not believe everything on the form the previous owner filled in. They were trying to get their dog adopted and may have glossed over what they think might be her faults – especially if they feel embarrassed about them. Q. Where does she sleep? A. In the kitchen (for the first five minutes until she sneaks upstairs and spends the night in bed with me). Q. What does she eat? A. “GoodBoy!” dog kibble (after I’ve mixed minced beef and gravy with it and fed it to her on a spoon).

    9. Rescue societies aren’t perfect. They do their best to match dogs with owners, but might not know that the dog you’re adopting has a tendency to howl the house down when left (the previous owner might not have mentioned it) or that she chews shoes, or hates postmen, or humps cushions or… You might need to work with her a bit…

    10. She WILL be stressed when she arrives. The most stressful life events for humans are the loss of a loved one and moving home. She’s just experienced both at once (regardless of how bad they were). She is in a new place with odd rules, which she worries about getting wrong. This will make her nervous and less tolerant of being pestered (for example by dogs on walks or by visiting children). She will feel apprehensive and defensive. Give her a break. Be hyper-attentive of her needs. Does she need to walk away from that yappy dog? Does she need a treat to reward her for coming away? She needs guidance (Guide & Control). Provide it for her before her stress levels tip her into using problematic behaviour. In time her stress will ease as she becomes used to her new situation.

    12. She may have a Honeymoon Period. No, not giggly holding hands with flowers, champagne and chocolates, but because she stressed and everything is new, she might not do anything at all for a while (varies but about a month isn’t unusual). Then, when she’s sussed out the new place and folks, she will revert to how she has behaved previously. This might be some forms of problematic behaviour that resulted in her being given up for adoption in the first place. Don’t be another human that gives up on her – work with her.

    12. Treat her right and she will bring you joy. There isn’t a day that will pass that she won’t make you smile – probably when she tries to help you rebury the daffodils she has just proudly dug up for you. Or when the postman pats her on the head and says, “What a nice dog, where did you get her?”

    David Ryan was a police dog handler and Home Office accredited instructor for 26 years, helping to lead the revolution in professional dog training out of the ‘push, pull and shout’ methods. He was the first police dog instructor to be awarded Southampton University’s postgraduate diploma in companion animal behaviour counselling and also the first to be accepted as a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, serving as Chair from 2009 to 2012. He is certified as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist by the independent Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour and has a unique blend of practical experience and theoretical knowledge of canine behaviour.

    Now retired from the police service, he helps local charities with their more problematic dogs. He has presented educational study days for the Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy Study Group and the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and has lectured at the Wood Green Animal Shelter, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and to BSc animal behaviour students at Myerscough College and Bishop Burton College. He is currently a visiting lecturer on Newcastle University’s MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

    David appears as a legal expert witness in canine behaviour in civil and criminal cases and has been an independently verified member of the Register of Expert Witnesses since 2008. He is regularly instructed in cases involving alleged pit bull terriers, dogs alleged to have been dangerously out of control, cases of negligence and those involving the 1971 Animals Act, and cases where interpretation of police dogs and their handling are required.

    David has written and published four books and contributed to a fifth: Guide & Control Your Pet Dog’s Behaviour, Dogs that Bite and Fight, Dog Secrets, “Stop!” How to Control Predatory Chasing in Dogs and Chapter 2, Our relationship with dogs in David Appleby’s The APBC Book of Companion Animal Behaviour.

    David’s website: Dog Secrets

    You can book David’s Dogs That Bite and Fight seminar at Enjoy Your Dog on our Events page.

  • A Little Win from Everyday

    Guest blog by Craig Ogilvie

    As dog lovers we all have a set of goals that we would like to achieve as a team with our canine companions. Our goals will naturally vary depending on our lifestyle and aspirations.

    Whether your goals are to work together with you dog to earn a first place or to help your dog become your perfect companion, here are few guidelines to help you map out your path to success.

    Firstly, become very clear and specific on the goals that you would like to achieve with your dog. Once you are clear on your goals write them down on a piece of paper and stick the piece of paper in a place so that you will see them every day. This will give you a clear set of goals to work towards.

    Secondly, take each one of your goals and separate it in to as many little steps as possible. Often if we just have one huge goal that we strive towards with our dogs we can become overwhelmed by the task at hand and lose focus. Breaking your goals down in this way will give you the ability to work together as a team with your dog towards a part of each of your goals every day.

    Thirdly, be sure to take a little win away from every day. What do I mean? By following this plan your goals will be laid out step by step. You will not have to spend hours at one-time training with your dog to work towards your goals. Instead you can structure short positive training sessions at times of the day to suit your lifestyle. Try not to focus on the duration of your training sessions, instead focus on the quality of what you have covered during the session.

    Focus on taking a little win away from each training session in the form of a positive step forward. This will mark a positive end to each little training session and leave you both eager to start the next session.

    Big goals are achieved as part of a process that involves lots of little wins. If you and your dog take a little win away from every day together there will be no stopping you.

    Craig Ogilvie makes you the centre of your dog’s world. Having spent a great deal of time training and testing working dogs in locations all over Europe, he very quickly went on to achieve unique accreditation. He is the first and only person from the UK to be licensed to test and train dogs internationally in the working dog sport called Mondioring, which consists of Obedience, Agility and Criminal Apprehension. He is one of the very few experienced and qualified civilian Police Dog Training instructors in the UK, a dog behaviour practitioner, seminar leader, author, and public speaker. His passion and study of training, interacting and communicating with dogs led to his discovery of the Interactive Play Experience and How To Become The Centre Of Your Dog’s World. He has been delivering his systems worldwide via sell out workshops, seminars and online training, helping dog lovers all over the world to achieve their goals.

    Web: Love for Dogs  |  Facebook: Craig Ogilvie | Instagram: @craigogilvielfd

    See dates for Craig’s talks and workshops at Enjoy Your Dog on our Events page!

  • Canine First Aid Kits – a Vet Nurse’s Guide

    Guest blog by Rachel Bean

    Choose a First Aid Kit that is fit for purpose. I have designed a Kit with the following contents:

     

    1 Non adherent dressing pads, 5cm x 5cm 2 Non adherent dressing pads 10cm x 10cm

    1 Foil blanket adult size

    1 Tick Remover in Blister Pack – inc 2 wipes

    1 Conforming bandage 5cm x 4m, 1 Conforming bandage 7.5cm x 4m

    1 Conforming bandage 10cm x 4m, 1 Latex free cohesive bandage 5cm x 4m white

    2 Latex free cohesive bandage 7.5cm x 4m white

    1 Latex free cohesive bandage 10cm x 4m white 5 Moist saline cleansing wipes sterile

    1 Vinyl powder-free medium single pair of gloves.

    3 Eye wash pods 20ml

    1 Cotton gauze swabs BP 7.5cm x 7.5cm pk of 5 sterile

    1 Scissors curved stainless steel

    1 Instant ice packs Forceps plastic non sterile 4.5″

    1 Digital Thermometer

    1 Microporous tape 2.5cm x 5m unboxed

    1 Zinc oxide plaster tape 2.5cm x 5m white

    1 Torniquet

    1 Hand Crank Torch

    Rachel Bean is a Qualified Veterinary Nurse and has worked in Veterinary Practice for 18 years. She is a listed and Registered Veterinary Nurse with The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

    Rachel is also the consultant behaviourist at the Northwest newest and largest Canine Hydrotherapy Centre, K9 Swim. She won Pet Health Counsellor of the Year in 2004 and has a certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour issued by The British Veterinary Nursing Association.

    Web: www.rachelbean.co.uk | Facebook: Canine First Aid Workshops

    Find Rachel’s Canine First Aid workshop at Enjoy Your Dog on our Events page.

  • How to Choose a Canine First Aid Workshop

    Guest blog by Rachel Bean

    Have you ever thought about what you would do if your dog had an accident in the home or out on a walk, had a cut paw or was accidentally poisoned? What would you do before you arrived at the vet’s?

    Do you want to be better prepared?

    It is becoming increasingly popular to gain First Aid knowledge and it will give a dog owner or dog carer the skills to save a life, relieve pain and suffering and prevent any deterioration of the dog’s condition. Anyone can carry out First Aid to an animal as long as it is within the boundaries and limitations of The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and is limited to the above aims only. On the other hand, it is illegal to treat someone else’s dog for a medical condition for example, if you are not a Veterinary Surgeon.

    Canine First Aid training will cover subjects from bleeding, shock, road traffic accidents, hyperthermia, stings, seizures, CPR and bandaging.

    There a many learning opportunities to choose from and it may be difficult to choose the correct learning platform. A good guide to choosing a course that is going to be of most use and teach you fully:

    • Choose a tutor that works in Veterinary Practice and/or is a Registered Veterinary Professional with The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. They have real- life and frontline experience of emergency situations and can draw on this to educate you to the best level. Be careful of Human First Aid led Courses, they may not have the experience of such emergencies to tutor to the required level or answer obscure questions.
    • Choose a course run in a small group. This maximises interaction and learning. Large groups and PowerPoint presentations reduce that personal feel and discussion based learning.
    • Choose a course that uses real dogs for the practical bandaging as this gives you experience of a dog moving and you learn the anatomical points on the dog to aid successful bandaging. You will also get to experience what a real pulse feels like.
    • Be wary of courses that advertise that you will be a qualified First Aider after the course, this is usually a self certification and not with a governing body. Human First Aid companies often advertise that it is a recognised course but generally is recognised by a human first aid governing body not a pet related or veterinary one.

    Rachel Bean is a Qualified Veterinary Nurse and has worked in Veterinary Practice for 18 years. She is a listed and Registered Veterinary Nurse with The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

    Rachel is also the consultant behaviourist at the Northwest newest and largest Canine Hydrotherapy Centre, K9 Swim. She won Pet Health Counsellor of the Year in 2004 and has a certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour issued by The British Veterinary Nursing Association.

    Web: www.rachelbean.co.uk | Facebook: Canine First Aid Workshops

    Find Rachel’s Canine First Aid workshop at Enjoy Your Dog on our Events page!