“We’ve been really fortunate over the last couple of weeks to have an unusual little dog in for training called Tuule. Tuule is a Shiba Inu, a native breed to Japan originally bred to hunt and flush small game. Tuule is a delightful little dog, full of energy and - like most six-month-old puppies - desperate for attention and interaction.
Mullenscote Head Trainer Annie Buckley is in charge of training the youngster, and immediately set to work to teach Tuule not to pull on the lead. She came to us in a body harness, but, while the harness has some plus points, it served only to assist this tenacious dog in pulling her owner along.
“As bright as a button,” is how Annie described her: “Perfect for the clicker”. We use clicker training a lot; more often than not the dogs we’re working with are not really focusing on their handlers, so we use the clicker to teach a ‘watch me’ behaviour. To state the obvious: until you get a pupil interested and focussing on you, then you are unlikely to teach them anything.
When working with novice handlers the clicker also serves as a brilliant resource for teaching handlers the enormous importance of timing when training.
Tuule loved the clicker work; she found training really easy and enjoyed all the positive interaction and attention from her new teacher. Within a very short time she was walking beautifully on the lead, so well done, Annie.
Working with lots of different breeds is great; while gundogs are our speciality, our need to be aware of so many different breed types, characteristics and traits keep us all on our toes. Dog training is such a great education - not just for the dogs, but also for you: the trainer. You need to be constantly assessing your own skills and knowledge. Go on - be brave; don’t be frightened of a weakness in your abilities - see it as an excellent learning opportunity to get out there and learn something new.”