The Mindful Puppy Blog
By PAPIA ROWE
Puppy Preschool Graduates.
Yes, it’s true. We take our puppies through exactly the same training as we offer to others through our puppy preschool course. Of course, our puppies tend to start way ahead of most of these puppies as our puppies get the benefit of our experience from the day they arrive while most of our puppies who join the preschool learn the techniques at anytime between 8 and 18 weeks and of course, learning in class is one thing – being able to apply those techniques accurately and consistently is something entirely different.
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We are so proud of our little puppies – it was wonderful to be able to demonstrate that all of the skills that we teach can be learnt quickly and easily by puppies. So many times, clients have said to us that it’s just not possible – but our puppies have been living proof that our techniques work and that the puppies benefit greatly from regular and consistent application of these techniques.
Twinkie and Star also benefited by being able to meet lots of different breeds and mixed breeds of puppies. Some of you might be wondering why we felt this was so important when they already have each other and several older dogs to socialize with. We always say that mixing with family is not really socializing in the same way that just messing around with your sister or brother or cousin at home is not the same as mixing with someone at school/ outside of the family – that’s where you learn boundaries and hopefully have to use good manners to gain respect.
Why the photo? Well, it’s pretty much the same graduation photo that we take of all our puppy preschool graduates. As with any form of education, it should be celebrated and valued. Some of you might think it’s cute, some of you might think it’s a silly. I urge you however never to underestimate the investment that you make in educating your dog and educating your family on how to interact with your dog.
We set up these graduation photos and we send our graduates home with a rosette and a certificate that they could put on a wall and we email the photo too. I would love to see that all of our graduates have done this as that way, each time they look at the wall and see the rosette and certificate, I hope that they remember the lessons that they learnt and also then remember that these techniques need to be practised regularly for the whole first year of the puppy’s life to ensure that the learning is embedded.
Humans are after all impatient and can be lazy – if your puppy has stopped recalling/ started toileting in the house/ biting, then it’s probably because you assumed that your puppy had “learnt” this a few weeks ago and you stopped using the techniques to keep positively educating your puppy on how to do things right. Remember, for the first year, your puppy is either growing physically or mentally and during these changes, their perception of the world around them and of you will change. You need to keep being consistent and positive and allow your puppy to keep learning positively.
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