Skittles is a 7 month old Labradoodle and is full of energy. He lives in a very busy household consisting of two adults and three young children who all adore him. He arrived at Royvon in May and it was clear from the start that his main aim was to enjoy life and make the most of every opportunity to play even if the time and place was not appropriate. From my experience in training Labradoodles I have often found that you can use all this energy and transfer it in to something more constructive.
It really didn’t take much time for Skittles to settle in and by playing with him we formed a bond very quickly. The first thing I had to do was work on channeling his energy into focusing on me and to do this I started work on some loose lead heel work. As I said earlier all skittles really wanted to do was play, so I used this as his reward and motivation to get it right. It didn’t take Skittles too long to work out that he would be rewarded for walking nicely and so he stared to use his brain in other areas of the training to work out how he could gain his reward, this helped channel is high energy into focusing on me. It is important to remember that training must be fair and every correct effort from the dog must provide a positive response from the handler. When I started to move on to more stationary exercises thing proved a little more difficult. Skittles picked up the positions such as sit and down quite quickly, however it was a challenge to get him to remain in any position for any length of time, as he would spring back up in anticipation of his reward. Reward does not have to always be a tit-bit, toy etc. dogs just want a response from their handler and so eyes, hands and voice can also be used. Due to skittles overexcitement touch was too much for him at this stage and he would get silly every time I went to stroke him so I chose to reward him with my voice only. Once he understood that he was to break the exercise on my terms only he started to remain a lot calmer and I started use touch as my reward. Skittles was a young dog that was easily distracted and once playing, he often switched off to the recall and so I started to introduce the whistle. The pitch is high enough to hear through the excitement and his reward for coming back was a game with me. He soon learned that I could be just as fun as the other dogs and returning did not always mean the end of his fun. I was really pleased with how skittles progressed throughout his training course and due to his age it is important that we are consistent with our methods and this will help to continue skittles training development and reach his full potential. It is for this reason that his owners are coming to Royvon for one to one tuition to ensure that they continue to get it right and get to enjoy the benefits of having a well-balanced, happy, obedient dog.
Comment from Skittles’ Mam & Dad:
‘He is much better and Paula spent a lot of time making sure me and my children all know how to work well with him.’