Wonderful Willow - teaching a puppy to settle

Willow is only 19 weeks old here. She started her puppy training at 13 weeks old and is ridiculously quick to learn; we had only begun training this exercise ten minutes before the video was taken.

Here we are teaching her to settle on a mat. Notice we’re not telling her to go to the mat, to lie down, to stay on there. As soon as we release her she races to the mat and lies down. This is because the mat itself is the cue, it’s what we call an “environmental cue” and here at Mr Bones we’re big fans of this. We don’t have to keep telling the dog what to do, they know what’s desired and what’s going to bring good things. Our aim is to work towards relaxation and building the length of time spent on the blanket before we need to reward Willow. Can you see that, in less than ten minutes, she’s worked out that if she lowers her head to the blanket, instead of concentrating on us, that this brings rewards? The idea is that we can take the blanket with us anywhere, pop it down, and we have a puppy that dives on there to chill out. I’d say she’ll be ready to hit the cafés of Balham in no time.

Loose Lead Walking with Otis

Otis loved to pull on the lead! He'd go like a truck, rushing everywhere, even choking himself if on his collar. Heck, he tugged so hard that he pulled a muscle in his mum's arm as she was walking him.

Mr Bones carried out a 'Loose Lead Walking' training session, this video was taken after just one and a half hours of putting some self control techniques in place, then building up to walking outside. Note how focused Otis is, better yet, see how happy he looks! The turns and stops are put in to keep him on his toes, wondering what is going to happen next and ensure he's taking direction from his mum. The next stage will be to reduce the frequency of the rewards, asking for more work in return for less pay.