Yesterday Poppy had her first training session. I contacted Sheila from Teach My Dog and asked about attending classes, but after I explained the situation with Poppy, she recommended a 1:1 session first, get her into some good behaviour and then go to classes. It was fantastic and a real eye opener.

Sheila had asked us to make a list of things we wanted to ask her & boy were we ready! As we sat & chatted about how to get Poppy to walk better on the lead, not bark during the night, react calmly to other dogs, people & pigeons, Sheila gave Poppy a cow hoof to chew on. Yep. An actual cow hoof. I was not expecting that. Never seen a cow hoof that hasn’t been attached to a cow! Having said that, at least all the parts of the cow are getting used! And Poppy loved it. Wouldn’t put it down! We talked through our concerns, what we’ve done so far and how Poppy was reacting. The best thing was that we learnt we’re doing everything right and Poppy is still settling in. We need to be patient with Poppy – she’s been through a lot of changes in a short space of time. Plus it’s becoming clear that she hasn’t seen an awful lot in her life so every new experience is going to overwhelm her. Though, not the cow hoof. She loved that!

After talking things through, Sheila walked us through some basic training, which was awesome! Poppy can already sit, but if she doesn’t get what she wants quickly, she jumps up & barks in your face! We worked on sit, stay, watch, leave and walking nicely on the lead. Poppy was really good and worked really hard – well, she’ll do anything for treats. Wouldn’t we all?!

The sad thing we discovered though, is that Poppy doesn’t know how to play. She’s obviously never been taught and while she enjoys ripping Mr Chicken to pieces & can run up & down the garden with a toy in her mouth like a crazed pooch, she only plays for a few minutes at a time. So one of the things we need to do is help her learn to play and make it more exciting than anything else, that way we can use it as a distraction technique when we’re out walking. No pressure there then!

Even though it feels a bit like we’ve got a mountain to climb, we both know it’ll be worth it and Poppy will be a happier dog for it. Plus we’ll be happier owners, mainly because we’ll get to sleep through the night! Once we’ve got Poppy calmer around other dogs, we can attend classes and improve her socialising skills, which I know Poppy will love!

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