As I mentioned, we haven’t really started training her until last week. I wasn’t feeling well, we were busy and, let’s be honest, we were lazy about it. Also having a toddler who finds clickers irresistible doesn’t particularly help. A couple of weeks ago we decided that we are going to take Mila on holiday with us in July, so training has suddenly became a matter of urgency. Also she is four months now, so I couldn’t justify any more delays.
To begin with, I came up with a weekly plan to guide and motivate us. I find it easier to follow a plan rather then needing to thing about what should I do next. It also helps me and my husband to stay on the same page. Mila’s training plan is for six weeks (time remaining until our holiday) and it is mainly targeting socialising, lead skills and recall. I find these skills the essentials, which enable owners to relax and enjoy having a dog. I personally don’t want to spend time (at least not at the moment) on teaching her any tricks, downs, waits etc. These are nice to have, but I can do it later.
So here is the plan.
- Lead skills: no people or dogs around
- Recall: on lead, people or dogs at a distance
- Relaxation mat
- Lead skills: people or dogs at a distance
- off the lead, no people or dogs around
- on the lead, people or dogs at a close distance
- Lead skills: people or dogs at a close distance
- Recall: off the lead, people or dogs at a close distance
- Lead skills: near people or dogs
- Recall: on the lead, near people or dogs
- Lead skills: in a crowded place
- Recall: off the lead, near people or dogs
A quick note on what I mean by various distances.
- “At a distance” – distractions are visible but far enough for the dog to be able to completely ignore them in the beginning of the training process.
- “At a close distance” – distractions are far enough for the dog to get a little excited, but still being able to keep focused.
- “Near” – you are able to talk the person without shouting
- “Crowded” – a busy street, pub, cafe, park, any other public space with people going around their business, cars, pushchairs, dogs etc.