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Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Cuckoo in the nest - whose bowl is whose?

I’ve now been home one whole week and in some respects it’s like going back a stage in the training as I now have to settle Renton into another new place...this time his own home. 
In the history of dog training these are the  "early weeks" and it is all about me understanding what Renton can do and how I can interpret his moves. Whether they be positive moves like: guiding me around road works, groups of school pupils aimlessly milling around eating chips or finding a pelican crossing to help me cross the road. These are all tough things to do and Renton can and has done them all very well. Alternatively, he has also been  completely distracted, stopping to sniff doorways, getting lost, going up the wrong driveway, walking me into a hedge  and for all these things he needs to be corrected...However, all negatives, need to be looked upon positively and we encourage him to do better through lots of praise. We are trying to build his confidence so that the guiding does not become a negative chore.
What we are trying to establish is consistency. Even though Neil Young [not the singer,] who did the early training at the centre in Forfar did an excellent job,I’m a new handler for Renton, and I don’t know his little ways and character. Importantly, Renton knows this himself and will try to push the boundaries. 
This is exactly what he did today. He sniffed, sniffed and sniffed some more. This was a route from my home to the railway station we had travelled before with little difficulty, but today he was chancing his arm, or should I say paw. In this kind of situation it is so easy to get angry, but again, it is equally as important that I remain consistent, positive and firm. Oh yes and calm. Eventually I got him going with some assistance from Mary  my trainer, (who growled at him...really!) but I think it would be reasonable to say it wasn’t Renton’s finest hour. However, in three weeks this was truly his only bad walk and when you think of it like that...then he is doing really well.    

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