Thursday, 20 June 2019

Thursday Morning Focus

“Why don’t we use the time for a training session for our own dogs?”

Last week’s disgusting weather forecasts had led to a client’s planned training session being postponed and we were throwing ideas around about what to do with the booked venue (because when you’ve got a session booked at the Paw Park already, it seems a real shame to waste it!).

What started as a throwaway suggestion turned out to be the best idea I (Laura) had all week.

 As trainers’ dogs, our canine families spend a lot of time waiting while we help other people train with their dogs. At home while we teach classes, in vehicles while we run training sessions or settled on mats waiting to be demo dogs for a particular skill or technique.

Their own training time tends to get slotted into the gaps in our days – two minutes while the kettle is on, five minutes during a walk – but location and convenience limit what we can work on and, on particularly busy days, it might get neglected entirely.


Setting aside that dedicated time – just us and our dogs in a field, with no other distractions – gave us the space to work on the things we really wanted to work on.

There were no other dogs to make friends with (Seamus), no deer to chase (Laird), no floor snacks to steal (Brian) and no squirrels to stare at (Freya).

We could work multiple dogs at once, set up the session in the ways that work best for us and, most importantly, we could just have fun spending quality time with our dogs.

Honestly, it went so well we’ve made it a weekly thing.

Whether it’s a structured class, a trainer-led individual session, or time that you put aside to spend with your dog, these longer training sessions are a great opportunity to introduce new skills, or remind yourselves of long since forgotten skills (think of something you learnt at school that you haven’t practised since – I bet you can’t remember how to do it!

Our dogs aren’t really any different so it’s always worth going back to some of those old habits to make sure we’ve still got them).

If we take that time to lay the groundwork, we can reinforce those new skills during those two minute tea-break sessions.

This week, I challenge you to think of something you’d really like your dog to be able to do that they can’t already.

This might be one of those essential life skills (like walking nicely on the lead) or one of those cool tricks (like playing dead).

Then (and this is the harder bit), find yourself a timeslot in the week to start working on it.

Try it for three weeks and let us know how you get on with learning your new skills!

Happy training time!

Laura, Brian and Seamus (#teamsmallbutmighty) 

PS If you think you need something more concrete to help focus your training time, why not book a practical coaching session or take a look at our summer class schedule?

We know holidays can make for disrupted summers, so we’ve reworked things to offer shorter classes which will hopefully fit with your summer breaks! All classes run on a Monday (except the special Reactive Dogs Life Skills sessions)

Just click on the class you're interested in for more information!


Monday classes
18:30 - 19:15
(with Clare)
19:00 - 19:45
(with Morag)
20:00
(with Morag)
20:30
(with Morag)
20:30
(with Laura)
15 July
22 July
Husbandry & Cooperative Care
Advanced Bodywork
Mind Your Manners
Baby Come Back II
Canicross 3 week Intensive: This way, that way
29 July
Husbandry & Cooperative Care
Advanced Bodywork
Mind Your Manners
Baby Come Back II
Canicross 3 week Intensive: This way, that way
5 August
Husbandry & Cooperative Care
12 August
Husbandry & Cooperative Care
Sniffing School Level II: Get Tracking
Baby Come Back
Stay by my Side II
Canicross 3 week Intensive: Get on by
19 August
Sniffing School Level II: Get Tracking
Baby Come Back
Stay by my Side II
Canicross 3 week Intensive: Get on by
26 August
Bank Holiday
Bank Holiday
Bank Holiday
Bank Holiday
Bank Holiday
2 September
APDT Good Companion Award
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9 September
APDT Good Companion Award
16 September
APDT Good Companion Award
Bodywork Introduction
Stay by my Side
Mind Your Manners II
Canicross 3 week Intensive: Descending without death
23 September
APDT Good Companion Award
Bodywork Introduction
Stay by my Side
Mind Your Manners II
Canicross 3 week Intensive: Descending without death