Milo's Dog Training

Dog training in Hampshire, Surrey & Berkshire


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Training Mila. Weeks 4-5.

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This is what we were supposed to do according to the plan.

Week 4:

  • Lead skills: people or dogs at a close distance
  • Recall: off the lead, people or dogs at a close distance

Week 5: 

  • Lead skills: near people or dogs
  • Recall: on the lead, near people or dogs

What can I say? At least, we’re trying. We have been enjoying gorgeous summer weather for the last few weeks, however it has often been to hot for the dogs to be out during the day. So we had very few opportunities for training in presence of other dogs or people. We are still very much behind with lead skills, but doing a little bit better with recall.

Socialisation

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Due to the heat I haven’t been able to take Mila out with us as much as I’d like. We managed a few walks together and even went down the high street a couple times. I must say that Mila is doing better than expected in the crowd. She calms down quickly and isn’t trying to kiss every single person on the street – that’s progress. However, she barely responds to us, so we have a long way to go.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Puppy Schnauzer Dog Playing Training

I fear that Edenbrook Country Park regulars will soon be fleeing the scene as soon as they spot us. When I take Mila for a walk my goal is to meet as many people and dogs as possible, so I constantly follow people and change directions if I spot someone with a dog.

Lead Skills

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My husband reports that he is making progress with Mila: she began to walk by his side for a few moments. However, it seems that this only happens in the evenings. Whenever I take her out during the day, she still finds it incredibly hard to concentrate and control herself. Well, like I said, at least we’re trying.

Recall

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Puppy Schnauzer Dog Playing Training

I’ve been letting her off the lead in the park when I can’t see any dogs or people around. I am very pleased that Mila tends to hang around and doesn’t run off (unless she spots someone). She will come when called and so far I’ve managed to notice dogs and people before she did and to put her on the lead. So I now feel a lot more confident about letting her off the lead.

Overall, I am quite pleased with our progress so far. However, I wanted to say this to my readers who are also struggling with their puppies: I struggle too! I do sometimes question our decision to get another dog (especially when I catch her destroying the sandpit or when she does this very annoying jumping/air snapping/barking routine). I believe that, similar to new mothers, puppy owners sometimes need to hear that it is OK to be frustrated. Raising a puppy is hard work, it requires a lot of energy, a lot of time and a whole lot of patience. But I keep saying to myself that in a few difficult months I (and more importantly – my daughter) will have a loyal companion for years to come. It makes my heart melt when I see Sonya and Mila kissing or playing together (Mila puts up with a lot!). I think I can live with a wrecked sandpit and approximately zero personal time.


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Training Mila. Weeks 1 & 2.

I’ve got to confess: we’re a little behind with some things, but we have made good progress nevertheless. I had some health issues in the past couple of weeks, but I feel better now and should be able to get back on track with Mila’s training.

The Plan

Last time I shared Mila’s training plan, here is what was outlined for weeks 1 and 2.

Week 1:

Week 2: 

  • Lead skills: no people or dogs around
  • Recall: on lead, people or dogs at a distance

Progress

Socialisation

We have been putting in a lot of effort to tame her puppy madness. She used to run around the house barking, nipping and demanding attention in the evenings, for which I don’t blame her – she needs to burn off her energy. So we have been taking her with us everywhere we can. Now, just to make the situation clear, most of the time I’m on my own with Sonya (who is 2.5), so having a puppy with us is not that straight-forward. Anyway, I try my best. We go to our local woods (right next to our house), to the country park and to suitable playgrounds (where I can safely tie Mila’s long lead to the fence, so that she stays outside the playground, but I can keep an eye on her and she can see us). Whenever we’re out in front of our house (we live in a cul-de-sac), we take Mila with us and she can watch Sonya on her scooter or drawing with chalks, which Mila tries to eat all the time. We also took her to meet all our neighbours, when we had a street party last week. Mila was surprisingly calm (after the initial excitement wore off).

We are also working on getting Mila used to being in the car. She is still getting car sick sometimes and just generally hates being the car. So we try and take her for a drive whenever we can, bribing her with cheese in her cage. She seems to be coming to terms with it. She still tries to escape her fate every time I open the boot, but at lease she is calm during the journey. She will need to endure a 12 hour drive to France in a month, so she’d better get used to it.

Foundation Exercises

During weeks 1 and 2 we were working on the basics: getting Mila used to clicker training (also teaching Sonya how to use it properly), working on “touch”, “look at me” and “sit”. The latter is mainly for Sonya’s benefit – it is something she can easily teach Mila. We did a little bit of “eye contact” in the very beginning, but then somehow neglected this exercise.

Recall

We have spent a lot of time on recall using a long training lead. Mila is fairly reliable, when there aren’t any dogs or people in sight. Most of the time, I let her run freely dragging the lead behind her. If we meet a dog with which she can play, I take the lead off.

Lead Skills

This is what we struggle with most. I need to create opportunities for this type of training, we don’t seem to actually walk a lot. Also this is something I can’t do with a toddler around, as it requires me to focus my attention on Mila. We are currently at the point of stopping when she pulls and recalling her attention with a kiss sound (“look at me”). This only works when there are no distractions present, and she still pulls the lead. I have a feeling, lead skills will be a struggle until Mila grows out of being very excited about everything.

Overall, we are making progress, although not as fast as planned and we aren’t following the plan to the dot. It is OK: the plan is there to guide us and to be adjusted as we go. I am not too concerned as I know it will get easier with age.


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Back in Business

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It has been a long time since I updated this blog – I took time off to focus on caring for my daughter Sonya, whom we welcomed to our family just over a year ago. This was a huge change for Milo too, and it was interesting to see how his attitude towards Sonya was changing from complete indifference to curiosity to annoyance. Just before Sonya was born Milo was diagnosed with canine dementia. It is under control with medication, but it certainly makes life more challenging for Milo and for us. So there has been a lot going on and I am looking forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with my readers.

I am now ready to get back to work and will be taking on new clients. It would be nice to hear updates from my former clients too!

 

 


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Home Alone: Separation Anxiety in Dogs and How to Deal With It

A few days ago we received a letter from the local council stating that someone has complained about dog barking. To say that we were shocked is not enough. Milo is never left alone for long periods of time except for the two days this year, when we had to leave him for the whole day. The only people who could have complained are our upstairs neighbours. When we asked them about it, they said that they were concerned for Milo’s well-being because he barked almost every day for 10-15 minutes at a time. I’m not going to elaborate on my annoyance with the fact that they failed to tell us first. After all, how on earth are we to know that he barks, if we’re not home? Moreover, I seriously doubt that Milo actually barks that often. Next day after receiving the letter we installed a web-cam. I was on holiday for a few days, and Milo was home alone while my husband was at work. We haven’t seen or heard him bark once. He was sleeping like a log on the sofa, which is pretty much his favourite pastime. Anyway, I’m just wanted to share a few tips on how to make your dog comfortable while you’re gone. From now on I will make sure that I use this tips myself, although being home alone had never been an issue for Milo before.

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Happy Birthday, Milo!

Milo is 7 today. Over the years he has lived in four countries, chewed numerous useful and expensive things, travelled in planes, learned to love cuddling up with us on a sofa, learned a number of tricks, taught us many things (including keeping our staff out of his reach), and inspired me to become a dog trainer. I wish Milo to live twice as many happy and healthy years!


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Common Signs Of Illness In Dogs

Last weekend Milo felt so bad that we had to take him to our local emergency hospital. He ended up having abdominal surgery, but he is on the road for recovery now. Hopefully, he will be discharged from the hospital today. I decided to write a post on how dogs let us know about the way they feel.

Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us, when they feel unwell or what exactly is bothering them. Or can they? If you know your dog well, you should be able to spot signs of illness. As our dogs learn to understand us, we learn to understand their body language and habits. I am sure that most owners can communicate with their dogs in much the same way as they communicate with people. Remember Gromit and his eyebrows? Gromit is a beagle and I can assure you that Milo talks using his eyebrows in exactly the same way as Gromit. Other dogs may use their tails or ears more than eyebrows. Does your dog talk to you?

So when the dog becomes sick or just doesn’t feel well, he will tell you. You just have to listen… or watch. Several typical signs of illness or pain exist. I am not talking about obvious medical signs, such as vomiting, fever or blood in stool. I will describe some behaviours that may indicate that your dog is not feeling well and that you should call you veterinarian.

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South Wales: A Dog-Friendly Holiday

Last weekend we went to South Wales for a short break.  We chose Gower Peninsula, because we came across a nice and dog-friendly self-catering cottage. I am sure that many of you know the challenge of finding a dog friendly holiday accommodation. To find a one bedroom cottage for a decent price is even more difficult. We were lucky to find Tankey Lake Farm Bluebell Cottage.

The cottage is on a working farm land, so we enjoyed a company of farm animals during our walks. The views are stunning, especially in foggy weather. All this land seen on pictures is available for dog walks, but don’t forget your rubber boots. Milo likes to bark at horses and sheep (he is a hound after all and expresses his emotions vocally), but, fortunately, the animals kept their distance.

The cottage itself is quite clean and pleasant. One of the problems we often encounter, while traveling with Milo, is that he steals things, when he is stressed. Luckily there wasn’t that much decorative clutter that a lot of holiday properties have. It was easy to put most things out of reach of the dog.

Just a couple of miles from the farm we discovered a beautiful Rhossili beach, which is open to dogs year. We spent around three hours walking, playing with Milo and taking pictures.

Milo even attempted some rock climbing.

I strongly recommend Gower Peninsula to those looking for a dog friendly holiday location. You will enjoy spectacular views and lots of quality time with your dog(s).