Monday, 21 August 2017

Are you a belt, braces or both kinda person? Project Squirrel Begins!

When someone asks you if you’re a belt and braces kind of person, how do you answer?

Do you pick belt or braces for security in the trouser department, or are you happy to trust the failing button on it’s own?

I don’t need to know how you wear your trousers, but it is worth thinking about for your dog training.

Right now your dog is almost certainly doing something you don’t like, disapprove of, or wish they would stop. That’s the same as having a pair of trousers without a button – they keep slipping down!

While you buy a button, and learn how to sew it back on, you need a safe management plan to avoid flashing your lovely pants to the rest of the world.

And your dog needs a management plan that means they don’t keep practicing the stuff you don’t want (e.g. running off and ignoring your voice or whistle, in Freya’s case that means chasing squirrels and rabbits hence Project Squirrel).

Every big project of behaviour change needs to start with management.

This is the not-sexy bit of training that you might want to skip, but I promise it’s the essential ingredient you can’t afford to miss out.

How are you going to stop your dog practicing the stuff you don’t want – because practice really does make perfect…

Here’s just a few of the things I’ve been using in Project Squirrel – because I’m a belt, braces, grab my trousers and have leggings on underneath kind of woman.

  • Choosing my walks carefully – rabbit central and squirrel filled woods are out to begin with, I want quiet, fairly boring options
  •  Choose when I walk – avoid dawn and dusk when wildlife is more active
  •  Taking precautions – long line or flexi-lead + harness at ALL times even if the line is just trailing
  • Walking without other dog friends who encourage chasing games

And all of these things need to stay in place for the duration of the project. I only take away each layer when I’m 99% certain we’re ready for the next step.

Do you need help with choosing the best belt and braces combination? You can Borrow My Brain and get access to all those good ideas, and end up with a plan you can put into action right now:

Have a good week, and may your trousers always stay up!

Morag and the Collie Girls

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