Clickers and a Dog on a Rope

Molly is very cute, but a little pest. For example, the other day Mum couldn’t change channels on the TV, the remote had walked. We found it chewed and abandoned in the garden.

And when we take her for walks she can be a terror. She just loves people too much. She’s as good as gold until she spots another dogwalker and then she goes crazy and wants to lick and jump all over them. Most dog owners appreciate that she’s just a puppy and is still learning dog ettiquette but unfortunately some people don’t.

Mum took Mowgli for a walk one morning and when she went to investigate a man, before Mum could do anything this guy started belting her with his walking stick. I’m angry as hell at this man for hitting her but at the same time we need to make sure that Molly can be trusted off a lead so that she doesn’t get into that situation again.

As she’s rather wilful we definitely need help to keep her in hand. So, Saturday evening we took her for her first day at school.

Was quite exciting. Although when we got there we discovered that we hadn’t received some important information regarding the classes, like instructions to leave the dog in the car until called, and to bring a bag of dog food. Felt like a naughty school kid when the instructor thanked the other owners for leaving their beasts outside while Molly rolled around at our feet and barked at a tape recorder.

Still, I think we redeemed ourselves when Mowgli was used as the demonstration dog and caught on very quickly indeed. Soon she was obviously the star pupil. Such a smart dog.

We were given a little plastic box and it was explained that whenever she is being a good girl we have to click the clicker and then give her a piece of food. From now on she has to work for some of her daily food. Then we started on basic commands like sit and lie down. Now Molls was actually pretty good on these already but we started again really and the aim is to get her to act on our command even when we don’t vocalise what we want.

Had to practice walking around with Mowgs and then getting her to sit or lay down dependent on whether we pointed to the ceiling or to the floor. Food was involved so she caught on immediately and has been rather good about that since.

Since we’ve been continuing this at home though she’s also caught on to the fact that it’s only when we have the clicker that she is rewarded so she seems to appraise us everytime we give a command now. She looks for sign of the clicker and then decides whether to react. Far too smart for her own good that puppy.

There were 3 other dogs at the session. A golden lab puppy called Poppy, a 5 yr old German Shepherd called Ted (a rescue dog who also needs to be taught how to play and have fun) and a young Doberman/Springer cross whose markings reminded me of Quince. I was surprised, during the lesson they all kept pretty much to themselves and mainly only had eyes for their owners even though it was fairly chaotic. They were all allowed to say hello to each other and have a good sniff at the end though:

Another thing we have to do is practice recall with Molly. Had to buy a 20ft rope lead for this and now when she goes for walks she’s supposed to stay on it. We then have to call her back every so often, if necessary with a bit of a tug, and if she bounds back to us, click, and treat.

This led to much amusement when we tried this on the Moors for the first time. What a tangle! As Dad says the rope looks like it should have a horse attached to one end, not a little puppy! Poor thing isn’t too happy about it either. She’s used to romping through the bracken unabaited and now she’s on the end of an increasingly sodden and poopy tether. Hmm, not sure how long this tactic is going to last.

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