Classes are for you if you have a puppy that needs socializing, an adolescent that needs training, or an adult dog that needs a refresher course in manners. Join in if you love and learn better with a group vibe.
Love your dog, but not sure you can live with your dog's behaviour? Come learn with Clever Canine. I offer professional and knowledgeable dog training, puppy training & behaviour consultation services throughout the Greater Victoria BC area, including the Saanich Peninsula. Let me help you find a solution to all your dog and puppy challenges.
Puppy socialization is something I think about a lot because I’m a trainer and I run puppy socialization classes here in Victoria BC. But what socialization is, and how it can be accomplished is at the forefront of everything I do because I think it is misunderstood and mishandled by many new puppy owners.
What is Socialization Really?
Recently I had a friend over to do some nosework. She has two dogs. I have two dogs. Three out of four dogs failed the container search because they alerted on a distraction instead of the target odor. What was so irresistible? Pancakes!
In the sport of nosework (or scent detection) dogs search for a target odor that has been secretly placed in each of the four ‘elements’. Dogs must learn to search containers (like boxes or suitcases), interior spaces, exterior spaces and vehicles. In a nosework trial dogs can be asked to search any kind of vehicle. My dog Mabel has had to search horse trailers, SUVs, and tractors, besides just regular old sedans, and there can be 3-5 vehicles, with anywhere from one to three ‘hides’ placed for the dog to find.
My young dog Billie is just learning how to do a vehicle search. My older dog Mabel needs some confidence boosting, and to rediscover her love of vehicle searching. So with both dogs, I’ve been working a fun exercise called “Running Bunny”.
What exactly is a “Running Bunny”?
Running Bunny is a technique for moving the target odor around a car. When dogs realize that the ‘bunny’ is moving around the car, they become very focused on the vehicle and begin to search as if glued to it.
There are a number of ways to do Runny Bunny. The method you choose should be based on the experience of your dog. Each method has pros and cons.
Nose work, scent work, scent detection, sport detection…..
…..It doesn’t matter what you call it – it’s a sport for pet dogs, based on real life bomb, drug or contraband detection.
Dogs are not just soulful eyes, stomachs and fur....they've got brains too! Every dog needs a job and dog sports are a great way to employ your dog and his/her mind.
I love using food in training. Close up or at a distance, it’s dead easy to deliver as a reward and dogs generally love it and want to work for it. Some dogs will do cartwheels for cheerios (can anyone say “Labrador Retriever”)? Food can be used not only as the perfect reinforcement for good behaviour, but it can also be used as a lure. Luring with food, i.e. getting a dog to target a food treat with his nose, can be used to elicit an amazing array of behaviours.
Fifteen years ago I had to spend a lot of time defending the use of food in training: about half of my clients needed some convincing. Now, most people are on board with it - and the dogs are thankful!
So what’s the problem?
It’s holiday season and that means lots of visiting and visitors. Follow these tips so that your dog is welcome to say hi to anyone on the street or at home.
I asked my students in class last night: what’s your plan for your puppy on Halloween? I got 6 blank stares – no one had thought about what to do with the dog! And because most of the dogs were new to their homes, owners and dogs had no experience with the perils of Halloween.