I’ve had Bria my Border Collie in my life for over a year now and I have to admit I haven’t done much training with her. She doesn’t have a great down unless I use my hand signal. She doesn’t walk perfectly on lead and she doesn’t have many tricks yet. What? Why? As a dog trainer, surely, I must think these things are very important? The answer is yes and no. When Bria first came to live with me, she struggled with the simplest of things such as going through a door way, dealing with stairs or having her collar taken hold of. She certain didn’t understand what a recall was. In her past life I know she lived on a farm, so her version of normal life is very different to what I now needed her to cope with. Living indoors, having different noises around, and living with other dogs are just a few to name. She was 9 months old and had spent 1 month in a rescue centre so in her short life, she had already experienced a lot of changes.
I therefore wanted to take my time to get her settled into my world. I started a plan of what I wanted her to experience and what she needed to learn. I had no expectations of her – other than she is a dog! I think this is a lesson we humans can easily forget; if you haven’t spent time showing your dog how to behave then you cannot be upset if they don’t know and do something ‘wrong’.
It’s amazing that a lot of people rescue dogs and some of those now come from abroad, however I do feel that people don’t give them sufficient time to settle into a new life and throw them straight into the deep end. They have all their family round that weekend to meet the new addition of the family. They go out to a busy dog area and expect them to enjoy it. Walk them through town where the sights and sounds for some must be so daunting etc etc.
If you have a new member of your family, please give them time to adjust. If you know their background then that can help, but please slow it down. Let them develop a relationship with you first. Play games, learn what they enjoy doing and join in. Then slowly introduce them to their new life whether that’s new places, people or other fury housemates.
Bria is now a very settled dog, loves all our visitors, really loves chasing Cuba, has confidence in the home and we have lots of fun together, therefore we are now ready to jump into our ‘training’ journey. This doesn’t mean we haven’t learnt some fab stuff along the way, Scentwork was a great confidence builder for example, but I mean the ‘training’ that I think most expect of a dog trainer’s dog. I will keep you updated with our progress. And for those with new additions to your family, take your time, there is no rush. Give us a call if you would like help on how to build a fantastic relationship.