For those of you who know Oscar, you’ll know that when he first came to us he was well behaved around our home but he was very unsure how to behave with unfamiliar dogs. On occasions we felt this became somewhat risky. As cute and as friendly as Oscar may be, any dog hurtling towards you and your furry friend whilst barking loudly is not a welcome experience! In fact for anxious, nervous, young, old or infirm dogs this can be especially frightening. That’s when we decided Oscar would benefit from socialisation.
First off, we felt it was important for Oscar to settle down with us (his new owners) in his new home. This took Oscar about 5 months to really settle and show us his personality. Looking back, we are pleased we gave him this time as it was amazing how much Oscar changed in the first few months. We really saw him develop his own personality as the only dog in the house – he’d previously lived with a much more dominant dog.
SOME PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE
Initially, we decided to seek out some professional advice for Oscar’s uncontrollably noisy greetings. Lorraine at Happy Dog Training was amazing, providing us with a 1-to-1 session so she could meet Oscar properly and give us a range of techniques to go home with. This was most definitely time well spent as it set a sound foundation for us to build upon. For Oscar…actually, what I should say is for US, this meant working on distraction tactics and making us the most exciting thing to be around when another dog came into sight.
MEETING OTHER DOGS
Once we had seen some solid progress with our training (this took about 3 months), I decided to start up Bedfordshire Dog Social Club to get Oscar out and about with groups of other dogs of all shapes and sizes. What a success it has been… Oscar has become much more sociable and now understands far better how to behave when he sees and meets another dog.
Once we’d mastered basic obedience, we moved onto recall. Using our foundation training, within just a few weeks Oscar’s recall came on leaps and bounds. It’s fair to say we started with NOTHING! Oscar would only come back to us when he felt like it and nothing could stop him chasing anything he thought was exciting. It took lots of patience, consistency, dedication (and salmon) but we got there… Oscar will now turn on a 6-pence 99% of the time when we whistle or call. Of course, it’s always good to re-enforce good training to keep our friends interested, stimulated and on their toes. We do still have the occasional over-excitement, but everyone’s entitled to an off-day, right?!
BEYOND OUR EXPECTATIONS
We’re also very proud Oscar has come so far to enjoy activities like agility – he’s a little speed demon! He’s also passed his Pets as Therapy assessment, so can visit care homes, hospitals and schools to help provide valuable therapeutic time to those in need.
MORAL OF OSCAR’S STORY
- There will always be hard days.
- There will always be new lessons to learn.
- Best of all, there will always be tonnes of fun to have!
So keep on it, keep it fun and train regularly and your friend will give you so much back.
LET’S HEAR YOUR STORIES!
Oscar and I would love to hear your success stories since joining the club, be it just getting more steps in or braving the off-lead experience! Let’s hear it – leave your comments below or on our Facebook page.
What is more, although Oscar has never been into playing all that much he has met the odd dog with whom he loves to tear around the park with! Ruby the staffie and Harry the cavapoo are two of his playmates in the Dog Club, aren’t they cute?! (as well as Oscar’s frequent entourage of fellow furry friends!).