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Oatie, Chuahua (7 months old)

Katy approached me with regards to participating in a 1-2-1 training case study. Katy had trained dogs previously, but as Oatie belonged to her son, Will, she thought it would be good for Will to learn how to train Oatie himself. They had done a little training with Oatie at puppy classes but Oatie had appeared to be overwhelmed by the bigger dogs and therefore found it difficult to learn during the classes.

I started the first session finding out what commands Oatie already understood. He was able to sit, a short stay, but they were struggling to get him into the “down” position. I tried the traditional method of putting Oatie into a sit, then luring him into a down with a treat. After several attempts, I decided to try a different approach, and lured him under a bent knee (sitting on the floor) so that he needed to go into a down position to get under the knee (no pressure was applied to his back to get him into a down). Will then continued with the training, rewarding Oatie when he was in the down position. By the second session, Oatie was going into a down position without having to go underneath the knee.

We then moved on to the stay command, building up distance and length of time. Oatie did very well, so we moved onto the “leave it” command. We started using a treat in one hand, when Oatie stopped sniffing/pawing the hand, he got a treat from the other hand. Again, Oatie picked this up very quickly, and by the following week Will was also working on “leave it” using different toys instead of treats.

As training was progressing well, we then went on to training Oatie to go around objects, with the intent of building up the distance from the object. This was done as a fun trick for Will to do, rather than the basic commands.

Katy mentioned that Oatie spent a lot of the time whilst they were eating begging for food around the table. We then started to train Oatie to go to a blanket and build up a stay so that eventually the blanket could be moved to the kitchen whilst the family were eating in the hope that Oatie would stay on the blanket with the family, rather than begging for food.

To do this, we started by throwing treats onto the blanket, then added the word blanket. Eventually, Oatie would go to the blanket on command and would be rewarded either with a treat or a toy for doing so. The next step is to build up the time spent on the blanket, which Will and family were working on after the sessions.

Testimonial from Katy:

Sue adapted a positive training approach and quickly assessed our dogs ability to understand and learn quickly, she therefore adapted her training techniques to suit his needs. Sue was well educated about dogs, their behaviour and learning and she utilised this knowledge with her training and explained clearly how to teach certain commands and tricks.