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.

Brilliant Bella

Meet Bella, she is an adorable, and VERY energetic, twenty-week old Cockapoo puppy who is currently completing our 'Chump to Champ' puppy training course.

Her mum had told us that she pulled so hard on the lead that she would choke herself. Here she is on week four of her training and her loose lead walking is now amazing. We've taught her that staying close and checking in is more rewarding than pulling like a train! 

I'd say that her recall in a busy park is also pretty spectacular! We were at Wandsworth Common on a sunny Saturday morning with lots of other dogs around. By teaching and building her recall in low-distraction environments we were able to gradually move it to where we need it.