Kind and Gentle Methods

My experience – so far!   By Mal Woolger

I never wanted a Yorkshire Terrier; I am more a big dog person. Something like a Siberian Husky or a big crossbreed is far more suited to my size. However, as my mum wanted a companion dog and as she was not in the best of health, we felt a smaller breed would be more manageable. I must say as a puppy he was very cute and could sit in the palm of my hand. We brought him home in April 2006, he was 8 weeks old. I took over the training and started straight away getting him house trained. He learnt extremely quickly. He had very few accidents in doors.

As soon as possible I enrolled him with Karma Dog Training School for the Puppy Foundation Course. At first he was quite a frightened little dog but it did not take him long to start to gain confidence around the other dogs. I was amazed at the methods Jane and Claudine use at the training school. Always gentle, commands always quietly spoken never harsh, no yanking or pulling of leads. This was different to my previous experiences of training a dog. I could not believe it, when he started to respond to training so young and was sitting and coming back to me when called. What was this secret that made my puppy look so bright and clever. It has to be said; it was and still is the expertise of the behaviourists who explained how our hand actions and all our body language were so important in training. I did not find it easy training a small dog, to teach him the hand follow caused my back to ache. I would go dizzy looking down to see where he was.

For six to seven months he did extremely well. He was a bit of star. In the mean time my mother’s health deteriorated and she was not able to care for Magic in any capacity. He was spending all of his time with me.

Jane and Claudine’s knowledge of the stages that dogs go through saw me through many weeks, when Magic at age 6/7 months old, started to exert his control over me and simply would not do a thing at the training school. He refused to come back to me, danced around when I needed to put his lead on. He would just look at me with a twinkle in his eye and I am sure he laughed all the way home as he got away with doing nothing. I found this period very challenging, trying to overcome my frustration and was really considering giving up training. But, guess what, Jane and Claudine were right; they encouraged me to work through it, to keep my patience and never give up. He started working well again and only missed getting his bronze award at 10 months because he broke his sit stay. Then his first birthday approached and he regressed again into a control freak over me. More weeks of going to the school and Magic refusing to respond to me. So it was back to basics, making sure the rules were back in play. No jumping onto the furniture, ignoring him, when appropriate ensuring he did not instigate any play. We worked through it, with the encouragement and enlightenment that Jane and Claudine gave me, assuring me it would change for the better. It did!

In April 2007, we went to Brampton Exemption Dog Show in Suffolk and I entered Magic in Beginners Obedience. He won fourth prize and Best Small Breed. In his very first show he beat Border Collies and Labradors. I accept it was only an exemption show but none the less the judging is still done professionally and as if it was an open show. He is a bright little dog, he does learn quickly and I am so proud to be part of the Karma Dog Display Team with him.  Magic does a wicked scent retrieve just as good as any dog. When he does his heelwork correctly, he is great. His heelwork to music routine wows the crowd. So thank you Karma Dog Training School for enriching my life. Magic may be small but he is a big dog at heart and he has won mine.

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