George the Collie Vs Training Pt.10

Another week of improvement.


George is coming along very well and his training is moving on well. This weeks homework brought up some points I found quite interesting.

We had been tasked with getting George to lie down and wait for at least a minute. This has highlighted a) his poor attention span and b) how much of a puppy he still is 😊

We have almost got him used to waiting for the minute but the training showed me that the use of language is more complicated than I imagined.

I had been using George's name at the start of every string of commands in order to get his attention but it turns out this overuse of his name can be detrimental to his training and actually make him 'switch off'.

We now use his name at the start of a training session and end each session with the word 'Enough' re-enforced with a treat. It actually worked.

I was aware that tone, pitch and volume have a direct effect on the dog but I wouldn't have thought that you could overuse a word. Every day a school day.

He is now half way through his Bronze level training and doing well. His gate work is brilliant as well as his recall and you do wonder how far he can go.

George the Collie on Dog Friendships.

Dogs and dog friends….

The life of a hermit is more likely one chosen than enforced. People need to be with others, even if it’s for short periods. People need people.

It’s the same with dogs.

If your dog doesn’t go out, doesn’t get walked, has no contact with other dogs, how is it supposed to react when it sees another dog? That’s probably the second question your dog will ask itself on seeing another dog. Right after ‘WTF?’ 

So, to have the most balanced dog, it needs experiences, good and bad, of other dogs so that it learns how it feels when other dogs are about. If they don’t get this, how can you expect you dog to improve its social skills?

You can’t keep your dog locked away and then shout at it for losing its self control on seeing other dogs – it’s a natural reaction for the dog.

George has been socialised as much as we can from an early age, with people too, not just dogs and cats.

As such, he is a joy to take out. He is genuinely interested and excited to meet others and I can be confident he poses no threat to any of them. 

This confidence only comes from testing and knowing your dog. If you don’t help your dog – you’ll reap what you sow.

You dog loves being social so, please, give it every chance you can. 🐾

Caring less and the Cup.

Why ‘My cup runneth over’ may be a bad thing…

A friend of mine has suffered from a number of mental health issues for a long time.

The problems would vary over time and their severity would alter too, often resulting in him having several months off work and intensive therapy.

I would often speak with him and try to help as best I could, most of us in our team tried to help him.

It’s the nature of our job that it can get very stressful and this takes its toll over time, grinding you down, but it’s how you manage this stress that is important.

We would deal with jobs in which there had been terrible neglect or abuse. It’s always hard dealing with incidents like this but it was certainly harder when I involved children.

One thing I noticed was how children just got on with life, often living in terrible conditions. It was as if they didn’t know any better so just got on with it.

Sometimes, you walk through life, through town maybe, and you are witness to people breaking down. An elderly person accidentally gets knocked over in a busy shop, someone loses their bag with everything in it, something quite mild and they appear to go into shock, unable to handle the circumstances. Before doing this job, I would look at them and wonder why something so seemingly tame could have such an impact on someone.

It was only over time, through experience, that I thought about why this could be. How could kids take so much abuse and fight on yet other be floored by something so innocuous. Speaking with my mate, I had my idea and floated it to him.

It’s cumulative. Each person has a lifetime capacity for bad experience and the older you get the more likely this capacity is being reduced.

I likened it to everyone having a cup, a container of some kind. Over the course of your life, your negative experiences add to this and positive ones reduce it. You may, at some point experience serious trauma which not only add greatly to the level but permanently affects the capacity of this container as if it was damaged or broken. 

Ultimately, at any one point, your cup has a maximum capacity and once you reach that level you are in the danger zone. You are at the limit.

This is the only thing I could think of  when explaining it to my friend. To explain why I thought it could be that sometimes the smallest thing would tip him over the edge – the straw that broke the camels back.

None of this is new thinking, I am not a doctor or shrink.

I tried to think how I deal with my stress and how I stop things affecting me so deeply it could make me ill.

Managing stress is vital and it seems, these days, needs to be taken more seriously. 

You can drink or overeat but, long term, these will start to impact on you negatively too. I do drink but rarely to excess and I probably eat too much but I also run, a lot, outside. It’s good exercise and helps manage stress though the release of endorphins (apparently) but it also gives me time to think through things in my head, to work things out. Being outside is usually a positive thing. 

The other thing I would push my friend to do was to care less. About as much as possible. So people worry about everything and this can be a massive impact factor too so care less about t things. I am not advocating not caring – that goes against what I believe but there has to be limit.

I would generally say to worry about that something that actually affects you or that you can have an actual affect on – I’m not talking about a protest tweet, actually doing something, getting involved.

You are going to take hits in your life, some bigger than others so unnecessarily worrying about things you have little to no control over will only impact you in a bad way. If someone is talking about you behind your back either tackle them about it or move on, don’t let it fester – things like that will eat you up.

So, care less.

You might just live a longer, happier life.

George the Collie Vs Training Pt.5

How size matters more than you may have thought….

Size matters. Apparently.

I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone else but one of the biggest training problems I experience is retaining the attention of the dog.

One of the contributors to this lack of attention could be the size of the treats and treat size vs dog size.

George would probably be classed as a medium sized dog when fully grown but, at 6 months old, he is some way off his maximum.

As a result, the size of the treats being used is quite important when it comes to getting and keeping him engaged.

When he does something right he is given a treat to re-inforce the good behaviour but if the treat has been too large, he takes time to eat it. As well as that, George likes to take his time over larger items and eat them away from others. This breaks up the flow of the training.

I have taken to using the smallest treat I can find for training. It’s easier as it’s a very quick treat and it reduces the break of attention.

The longer the training goes on, the more this seems to work.

It’s just something to consider – your dog will want the biggest treat they can snaffle off you but it may not be the best things for the learning.

George the Collie and the #DogBlog

Keep on posting, keep on writing and keeping the faith.

Over the years, I’ve had a dabble at writing a blog a couple of times but never really got it to stick. It might be motivation that was the issue but the whole ‘dog’ thing is a nice hobby, a good distraction from the downsides of general life.

Third time lucky maybe as I am managing to publish posts with some regularity. 

I know most of it is dog related and this probably helps with the posts as George is a fairly regular source of inspiration for content.

I do a lot of posting on social media and that does alright for contacts and it’s nice having that interaction with so many people. It would be nice to have that level of contact via this blog too.

I know that, for some people, this is their job, their life and they have made a business out of it – I certainly don’t have time for that – but that is not this blog. You see some people tailor their content to suit the current issues of the day and, again, that’s not this blog. 

There will be some ‘current’ stuff being posted but, mainly, its dog related and maybe that’s why blogging is so punishing to the writer. A post on social media can garner a lot of attention and validation for the poster but, on this platform, that’s not how it works.

I am still finding my feet. 

This is sometimes me just emptying my head in the guise of a pooch and now and again I’ll get some feedback which I really appreciate.

It’s just odd sometimes. 

A friend of mine joined Twitter some years back. They were on Facebook and, for some reason, presumed it worked the same. They started following a few friends and celebrities and made a few posts but then complained that he wasn’t getting any interactions with anyone.

His posts were like ‘Wow, big night. BIG head this morning’. Harmless enough but he had no #hashtags and , most importantly, no followers. I explained to him this was the equivalent of sitting at home alone talking to the TV 📺 but I don’t think he understood. 

But, writing these posts, I can help but think if I am doing something similar – almost. As I said, it’s nice getting comments and chatting with viewers but it can be disheartening. 

I will carry on though. If anything, it’s cathartic – almost confessional at times – and good to get things out of my head rather than have them fester.

So, to those that do view my posts, to those that take time to comment and give me feedback, I thank you. 👍🏻

George the Collie Vs Training Pt.4

The importance of meeting…..

It’s important for a dog to have new experiences but chief among them is meeting new people and animals.

George starts his puppy course in 3 weeks so I am trying to have him me as many other folks and pets as possible.

When we first had George, he was nervous of most things and would react defensively to dog, cats and people.

We have walked him a lot, meeting as many folk as we can and encouraging him that all was okay. Taking him into new situations has improved his acceptance of new things and he now actively seeks out new meets.

By having him do this he no longer has any problems with other dogs either, and cats (he is friends with a local Burmese, Bob).

This all bodes well for his course and hopefully he will be less distracted by other dogs and therefore able to focus better.

George the Collie Vs Food Construction 

Food needs a solid foundation….

I don’t eat much restaurant food, I’m more of a kibble kind of guy but I have observed a few odd things.

Food. Some of it ‘looks’ great but watching it being eaten shows it’s far from being great.

Watching a burger 🍔 in a brioche bun disintegrate as it is being eaten doesn’t look like much fun or value for money.

Building food 🥘 should be like building house. Solid foundations. A good soup needs a good base.

You would not build the Empire State Building out of wood and you would not accept a poorly constructed property collapsing around you.

Keep it simple Chef!