Luna was my first dog, of this year, to help train. When I met her and her owner, Luna would jump up, go between my legs, panting and wagging her tail. She was very excited to meet someone new, wanting to play and wanting attention!
Once she had calmed down a little, her owner explained he was having trouble with her listening to him as well as her energy was hard to control when out on walks, especially with other dogs around. Besides those two small issues, she is a lovely and friendly dog but just a bit overzealous at times.
To start Luna’s training, my first decision was to lower her energy levels down. Though she was getting a good and healthy amount of exercise everyday, due to her breed she needed a little bit extra. So I began some intense play with her at the start of each session, to lower her energy along with her excitement. Once she had calmed down enough, I would practice a command.
Her first command was ‘Stay’, this is a simple command which will help teach her listen and help her impulse of running up to me. With the help of a clicker, Luna picked up one command each week. The first week was ‘Stay’, the next week was ‘Come’, third week was ‘Watch’, finally with ‘Close’.
After her first week, her energy was more manageable for her owners and she was better at listening when outside with other dogs nearby. We had to start at a good distance away from other dogs and people, as she would often want to go towards them in the hopes of playing with them. Having more distance helped her stay focused on me and training.
Luna picked up these commands very quickly, using play as breaks in between short training sessions and treats as rewards; she is now more eager to listen and motivated to train. Every week, we were able to decrease the distance between several dogs, as Luna became more focused on me and less interested in the other dogs. Though some dogs would be harder to ignore, as some were high energy or reactive but Luna would quickly respond whenever I called her name.
Her owners were noticing positive changes too! They said she was much better around other dogs as well as her recall was better without getting distracted by other dogs. Her energy was also lower, which helped Luna listen better and helped prevent her from getting overly excited at the sight of other dogs.
Now, she is able to relax at the park for several minutes with a toy or stick to chew on. Before, she would not settle, as there was too much going on around her and she was too excited to ignore all of it. However now, after her first play session, she soon grabs her chew toy and lies down, calmly looking around and sniffing the air for several minutes.
The changes from when I first met her, to how she is now is a wonderful product of patience and devotion – especially from her owners! Luna’s owners understood from the start that they needed to devote their time and energy to her training as they knew no big changes would happen overnight.
I gave them guidance and advice on how to train her and they continued her training at home, it’s clear to see that they have worked very hard to help Luna, she is now not just a lovely dog but she is now eager to listen, motivated to work and is much calmer when on walks.
It’s always lovely to see owners devote some of their time to their dog and be rewarded with a strong bond between happy owner and happy dog!