Puppy Training, Life Skills... and Tortoises!

 Barry with Olly the Tortoise

Barry with Olly the Tortoise

As a dog trainer and behaviourist it's essential to keep up to date with the newest techniques, to keep honing our skills and develop our knowledge. In this pursuit, I spent all of last week at the University of Lincoln, renowned as one of the leading institutions in expanding research in animal behaviour. Here they developed the Life Skills for Puppies concept and have worked over the past few years fine-tuning it. I was there to learn what they had developed and how it's implemented. You'll be pleased to hear that some great new techniques are now being integrated into the Mr Bones courses and training sessions.

Among all that intense learning there was still time for some fun. Did you know that, scientifically, all animals learn the same way? The techniques used for dog and puppy training at Mr Bones are also used around the world on wild animals. They are used to teach calm behaviours when blood samples are being taken, injections given or handling is required in conservation scenarios. With this in mind we spent an evening, after class, training tortoises! Within an hour we'd taught Olly the Tortoise to go to the green triangle. We used the word 'good' to tell him that he'd got it right, the same way that we use a clicker in our dog training. He learnt to ignore other shapes and colours as the reward was only delivered for going to the green triangle. Take a look at him go in this short video.

Olly the Tortoise learns that the green triangle brings rewards!