We haven’t written on our blog for a while as leading up to Christmas everything got so busy, so I thought I would write this post as an update on life with Jessie!
Next week will be a year since we started training Jessie with Viv from Walkies in Norfolk. I honestly can’t believe where the time has gone but so incredibly proud of all Jessie has achieved.
I’m really good at always talking about what’s not going well or what we need to work on still so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on all the things Jessie has achieved over the last year…
Firstly our awards! 🏅 We started training towards our Level 2 Pet Dog Ambassador award and we passed that in July, then went onto pass the Level 3 in October.
Through these award schemes Jessie has learnt so many beneficial life skills including door manners, car manners, waiting to be fed, calm handling, emergency stop and leave.
Loose lead walking was one of our priorities as Jessie used to pull us down the road! She started learning to walk with a loose lead, initially by working on position and focus. This has developed lots since then including opportunities for sniffing, walking in different environments, working with distractions and lots more! She now understands how to walk with a loose lead and can reposition herself as well as giving lots of focus in tricky environments.
Jessie’s recall has always been one of her strengths and we’ve trained a vocal recall as well as using a whistle. We have worked hard on focus and check ins using tasty treats that Jessie finds rewarding so she is keen to stay close by.
Over the year she has also learnt a lot of tricks some of which are very cute! She can do paw, roll over, meerkat, chin, touch, spin, in the middle, down and the one she perfected when she was a tiny puppy – the sit! 😂
Right at the start of training Jessie would never retrieve a ball. She would chase after it quite happily but would then get distracted and run off the other way! 🙈 But over the year we have worked with different toys, (her favourite is her Kong Dummy) as well as improving focus in distracting environments and now she will retrieve happily!
Jessie is a cockapoo but displays predominantly spaniel behaviours which means impulse control was vital for her to learn early on. We started to train a calm settle right at the start which means Jessie is now able to regulate her own behaviour, particularly well in the house, and will choose to lay down and relax of her own accord.
One of the most important things Jessie has learnt is how to socialise with other dogs politely! She attends regular training days with Viv which means she spends time playing and training with other dogs. This, along with other carefully organised puppy play dates, have made her well accustomed to the social etiquette of the dog world.
So, what’s next?
Well, there’s no time to stop now so we continue to train into 2020! Both myself and Jessie adore our weekly training sessions and all the practise we do in between (which is so important for progress)!
We are working towards achieving our Level 4 Pet Dog Ambassador award as well as working on refining position and focus when loose lead walking, continuing to reinforce check ins off lead in different environments and developing calmness when people visit our house. Of course we’re having lots of fun a long the way and including all our daily enrichment tasks and games which Jessie has got much better at over the last year. Oh and there’s always time to relax and have a snuggle too. ☺️