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Teenager Course

What I will learn?

  • Continue learning with my teenage dog
  • Working through problems
  • Building a strong relationship

Course Curriculum

Trouble Shooting
We incorporate the trouble shooting exercises for your, and your dog’s safety. They are super useful when you get into a precarious situation with your teenage dog and she loses her marbles. I always imagine having a “hormotional” canine on my lead and a dog-reactive Rottweiler comes charging at us (a tiny old lady flying behind on his lead). This is when you would use the “Walk Away” exercise – let’s get out of there. Or our testosterone ridden monster decides to charge the Pomeranian with the nice old gentleman, who trusts every dog he sees. The “Engage-Disengage” exercise is super handy in this situation because your dog has learned to look at the stimulus and then focus back on you. And the hand touch is great any time when you need that extra focus that a name calling is not going to give you. When your dog performs a hand touch, he is doing something that could potentially earn him a reward (if you have a high reinforcement history and you practiced an extended time of nose on hand). We need exit strategies and diversions to get us out of the situation, and/or to get Fido focused again so we avoid further conflict. The more you practice these exercises, the more natural they become, and you automatically use your tools when needed.

  • Engage – Disengage
  • Hand Touch

Here we talk about some expectation from our dogs that are often unrealistic. We give you some understanding into often controversial topics that will facilitate some of your decisions

Relax on Blanket
We have started with blanket work in puppy class, and hopefully you have continued practicing this exercise. We want the blanket to become your dog’s safe haven, that he associates with relaxation. With enough practice, your dog’s physical response will be to relax on cue – the cue being blanket - and his brain will automatically tell the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in and release relaxation chemicals. And doesn’t it look great when you visit the dog-friendly coffee shop and your pooch chills at your feet? It is also very useful to send your dog to his blanket when visitor come and you are having a fancy dinner – instead of Fido begging and slobbering on to your guests, he lies on his blanket with a chew toy. Ideally, you can now already start practicing in more distracting environments, such as with people around, or maybe on the side walk outside your property. Take is slow and make sure your dog associates his blanket with getting on it and lying down – otherwise it is back to the drawing board for you.

We recap on this most important exercise and take it to perfection

This is distinctly different from the formal heeling and should be your main way of walking with your dog. He should walk politely with you on the lead without dragging you around, but it is his walk after all and he should be allowed to enjoy it. So we do allow our dogs to to move freely and sniff the tree we pass, for pee-mails. Because this is how they experience the world – through their nose. The olfactory bulb can bypass the thalamus (sensory input center in the brain) and go straight to the limbic system – where the emotions are sitting. Sniffing makes them feel good, they are created to use their nose for communication and gathering information. So allow it.

Body Awareness Exercises
As we dive into the world of body awareness and exercise, we need to discuss the physical changes our teenager dogs are experiencing. As the dog hits puberty, similar changes that occur to us as humans, happen in our dogs body. The hormones start rushing through the body, they grow out of proportion and the brain just seems to cease to exist. As your pup starts growing now, it is still important to remember that those growth plates only close at the age of 18 to 24 months ( a little earlier in smaller breeds). Therefore, we should be careful not to allow our pups to jump on high objects, run on hard surfaces too far, and still be careful with sudden stopping and jerks while tugging. However, we can start strengthen some of the muscles and teach our pups some body awareness and proprioception. It is important to note that when we are teaching these body awareness exercises and tricks, we will physically help our dogs, so that they activate the correct muscles. We can teach these exercises on cue, but at first we have to physically guide them to make sure no injuries occur or that the wrong muscle take over the movement. As the correct muscles learn to be activated, we can teach the them to do the movement just on a cue. It is very important to note that these exercises are for slow progress and for dogs that have no know physical conditions. If your dog has a physical condition, please seek advice from your vet and consult a canine physiotherapist.

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