Tag: dog walks

Poppy Goes to Training School

Poppydog

We’ve started training classes with Poppy. It’s a six week course, starting with the basics and hopefully ending with Poppy being able to do exactly as she’s told & performing a few tricks! So off Poppy & I went, with, what I thought was, plenty of treats and high hopes. It was exhausting!

Poppydog

There were quite a few big, boisterous dogs there, which set Poppy off barking almost immediately. When she’s like that it’s really hard to calm her down. I hadn’t taken anything for her to chew on, but fortunately Sheila, the teacher, had some cow hooves, which Poppy loves! That kept her quiet for a little bit but she really just wanted to go around & say hello to all the other dogs!

We started with the ‘watch’ command, where you waft the treat in front of your dogs nose & then hold it up by your eyes. The idea is that it trains your dog to make eye contact with you, which is really useful for getting their attention on walks etc. By this point, Poppy was barking a lot so Sheila brought out the clicker. Every time Poppy does something right in training, I click the clicker & give her a treat. That way, she knows she’s getting the treat because she’s done something right, rather than for barking.

Then we moved on to sit (which Poppy can already do at the drop of a hat), down (argh!) and stand (done!). So I got Poppy to sit, then to get her to lie down, I had to hold the treat in front of her nose, move it down to the ground slowly, then pull it out along the floor. Well. Poppy doesn’t like doing this. She only goes about halfway before giving up and licking the treat so much it turns to mush! It’s really difficult for her, not quite sure why, but we’re working on it.

Before long, everyone was using their clickers & calling their dogs. Poppy was really hyped up so wouldn’t pay attention to anyone! And I ran out of treats as I’d been using them to try and calm her down when she ignored the hoof. We might have to train her to bark on command so that we can train her to be quiet. Simple eh?!

By the end of the class, Poppy & I were exhausted! We’re going to try & wear her out a bit more before next weeks class, as well as taking twice as many treats. And cheese. Poppy will do almost anything for treats, except lie down!

The Poppy Diaries – Week 2

Poppy Dog

Poppy Dog

We’ve had Poppy for two weeks now & I’m pretty sure she’s happy to still be with us! We’ve had another interesting week and we’re all still trying to figure things out. For example, for the last few nights, Poppy has gone to bed without a fuss and slept well until getting up time. Then, last night, she refused to go to bed. Let me give you some background to this. Her previous owners said that she wasn’t great at going to bed, so they made her sleep in a crate. Looking online, this is one of the biggest pieces of advice dog owners are given, along with covering the crate & leaving the radio on. So, to help her settle in well, as she was used to the crate, we carried on using it, with the intention of getting rid of when the time felt right. We don’t want a crate in our small house, but if Poppy needed it, so be it. Last night, Poppy refused to get in it. No amount of treats would get her in that crate. We were at quite a loss of what to do. So we just left her to find her own place to sleep. She chose the day bed in the room next to our bedroom & slept as close to the wall as she could, meaning she was as close to us as she could be. (We don’t want her to sleep in our room, as we don’t want her on our bed.) I did a quick Google & refusal to sleep in a crate, which is out of character, can be a result of ‘over bonding’! I think it’s fair to say that we bonded yesterday, as we took her for a walk near the river, which is something she may never have done before and she loved it!

As we were going to try & train her out of using the crate, we’re going to let her sleep wherever she wants. She didn’t make a peep all night, even when it got light. As long as she’s happy & lets us sleep, I’m happy for her to make the day bed her own.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about Poppy this week:

  • She likes walking by the river. There were a lot of smells as we walked by the Thames & she enjoyed tracking them. We walked for just under 2 miles so she was pretty worn out by the end, but she really seemed happy!
  • She’ll do almost anything for a treat. In her first training session, we learned that while she might not understand playing, she will quite happily sit, stay, walk on the lead, wait to cross the road & stop barking at pigeons for a treat.
  • She wants to eat my knitting needles. I knit with wooden needles & she’s very interested in them. She’s tried to bite them a few times & has snuffled her way through the knitting to get to the needles!
  • She’s a seat-stealer! If you get up from your seat on the sofa, Poppy will jump into it in a millisecond! Not sure if it’s warm or because we’ve created some awesome bum grooves, but she will always get in your seat.
  • She’s a cake lover. There isn’t much human food that Poppy is overly interested in. She can take it or leave it. Unless it’s cake. My OH brought me a muffin on Saturday & as I sat to eat it, Poppy went crazy & tried it & the wrapper which I left on the plate.

Every day we learn something new & often hilarious about Poppy. When she’s in a playful mood, she gets this crazy look in her eyes. It’s the funniest thing! She’s getting better at not getting frustrated by dogs on the lead, but we’re attending some training on improving this further next weekend. In the meantime, you’ll still see me trying to encourage her not to get distracted by other dogs, by running & jumping around like a crazy person. Oh the shame!