Wednesday, 11 April 2012

SPCA Training

Today has been my second day going in to specifically train the dogs at the shelter. This has been working great for both me and the shelter, it gives me a chance to work on my training skills and helps me apply them to Kobi, but it also allows me to go in when I can and for the most part is physically easier where I am still very weak on my right side.

 The training we are attempting to do with the dogs is basic, for most dogs it helps if they already know how to sit and lie down for them to get adopted. Some dogs just need regular companionship, others need work on learning how to settle down in their kennels, then there are those who need some serious behaviour modification. Most of those dogs are listed as staff only, though some experienced volunteers do get to work with them, they require consistent training from those who regularly work with them. I've been helping all the dogs with getting their basics, such as charging clickers, working on gaining some focus, staying calm when going in and out of the kennel, starting to learn how to walk politely on leash.

Marley is still available for adoption at the HRM SPCA
Today I spent my time with two dogs. Marley, is a notorious escape artist so has suffered from extended periods in her kennel because she needs constant supervision if outside. So I worked with her to get her out and get her mind working. Turns out there was little she needed work on! She walks I would say 75% politely on leash unless really distracted, knows he sit and down both hand and verbal cues reliably. Her major area of work is she has little to no attention span. Everything is distracting and exciting and she has a habit of staring, one that could cause her some trouble down the road. All that being said, the average dog owner simply looking for a companion probably isn't too concerned about wandering gazes, so it's something to work on in the mean time while she is at the shelter, but nothing of real concern.

The other dog I did some work with today was a sweet little guy named Luke. Luke has a vibrant personality and is cute as anything, but has a nasty habit left over from puppy hood. He is one mouthy dog. He is not a bitter, but he puts his mouth around your arms and when taking treats is all teeth and entire mouth closing down on your hand. So I spent some time working on rewarding him for not mouthing. It was simple and he got the concept quickly. I clicked him starting off by attempting to take treats gently, using his tongue to get at them, the increased the criteria to not trying to get them at all. By the end I was able to hold a treat on my flat palm and he would wait for the click before taking the treat.

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