We’re sailing this morning on the frequently ailing Queen of New Westminster, heading home from Vancouver Island. I usually spend the ride in my car, but today we’re parked too near the engines to make it pleasant and there’s no wireless service down there so I’ve headed upstairs to blogland.
The title of this post might have mislead you to think I’m going to discuss photography, but fear not, we’re still on topic; dog training.
Parked on the lowest deck at the front, where the larger trucks are, so there are few people around, I briefly considered bringing Zeke out to work in the space in the bow. That reminded me of how differently I approach training now, compared to when I first got Zeke.
People with new puppies are often advised to take the puppy everywhere to get him used to everything. I took Zeke out to every high stimulus environment I could, whenever I could. He was frightened with a few bad experiences and overwhelmed by everything. Why did I do that? At the time, that’s what I understood to be “socializing the puppy”. Just get him out and shovel the cookies in him, so he learns to love everyone and everything.
Susan Garrett’s Puppy Peaks videos of her puppy “Swagger” show that it’s not enough to simply “expose’ the puppy to everything. Instead, from the earliest age possible, you play games that teach him focus for you and the work, build his self control, build his confidence through shaping games, build the value for yourself and the work/play to the point where you can take him anywhere and he doesn’t even NOTICE the environment.
That’s the training method that has given her dogs who will work no matter where they are. And that’s the training method for me. So, unless I am absolutely confident he’s able to successfully tug on the front of a ferry car deck, I’m not going to set him up for a failure.