The sky is the limit with training. Time, consistency and patience are all that's needed. I recently read an awesome quote that is so true: "it takes just as much time to train a dog to behave badly as it does to train a dog to be well behaved". It sticks with me and keeps me thinking in everyday interactions with my dogs.
This blog post is about teaching you, the human, to stop. We have all seen dopey, docile hounds turn into furry cannon balls with whip tails that will bowl into anything and anyone at the sound of their leash or the sight of you with their dinner bowl. Mine start these hijinks when I take the pooh bags out of the cupboard! As a human the first instinct is to yell, mutter and generally tell them off. But what does this actually achieve? In my experience it actually increases the excitement levels and makes the situation worse!
So how do we easily (and safely) communicate to our hounds what we want from them? By simply stopping and not engaging (no voice, eye contact or movement) in any way with this rough and unwanted behaviour.
It may take a while for them to grasp but they will. As soon as they settle you can move. Whether it's forward with the food bowl or out the door, take one step at a time. As soon as any ruckus behaviour starts up, just physically stop.
Yes it will take longer in the beginning, I guarantee it, and some hounds will catch on quicker than others. But from a timing perspective think about it like this:
You allow 30mins in the mornings for walks, with training it takes 15 minutes to get out the door on the first morning so you only have a 15 minute walk with your hound. Is this a bad thing? Maybe for your waistline but your hound has spent 15 minutes learning a desired behaviour and using her brain to work out what you want.
Hounds (and normal dogs too) get tired from mental stimulation as well as exercise. The next morning it takes 10 minutes to get out the door and 20 minutes for a walk. Before long you're back to a 30 minute walk but this time with beautifully behaved hounds.
Times will vary and your hound will be a bit up and down in the beginning but if you are consistent and calm your hound will learn consistency and calmness.
I'm not a complete killjoy and love seeing some exuberance from our hounds so they must be calm to get collars on and let me out the door first without barging into me. Then they run to the gate and back to me and jump around like crazy, but when I get near the gate they are calm and standing by my side to get their leads on.
I'll finish this month's blog by sharing this wonderful video that was put together by the Titahi Bay Canine Obedience Club from their recent Championship Show. Blondie makes an appearance just over two minutes into the clip with less than perfect finish to her recall. She is oblivious and just having fun which made me smile then and still makes me smile. She also features in her jammies later on and her mates Syd and Sam from Upper Hutt can also be seen briefly near the end.