Sprocket Update – Going off lead

Happy Sprocket

Meet Sprocket – the newest member of our family. He’s an 10 month old Terrier cross (We’re not sure what’s in the mix!) adopted puppy from Melbourne’s The Lost Dogs’ Home. Follow along as I share his and my story as a new dog owner learning how to raise a healthy and happy little dog. I’ll also be doing regular updates on JOY 94.9′s Pets-A-Loud about my experiences and what I learn along the way.

It’s Sprocket’s birthday! Well, we’re guessing it is – being a stray we’re not exactly sure when his birthday is so we’ve made a guesstimate for his first birthday. Sprocket is still very much a puppy – full of energy and curiosity and his infamous cheeky streak. At the moment obedience training is all about getting him to the point where we can take him off lead. Because he’s still quite young he doesn’t always pay attention or stay focused so the challenge is to keep him engaged and happy during training. Eventually we want to get to the point that he will listen to commands by voice, stay focused at a distance and trust him off lead – particularly with other dogs around!

The lesson I’ve taken out of our recent training is that it can be way too easy to get frustrated and the forget the most important part – have fun. He’s learned some basic commands and tricks, but as we get more complex it can be quite mentally taxing for both of us. Our obedience club makes a particular effort to teach us about enjoying training with our dogs and making sure your dog considers training to be a fun and positive experience.

With quite a hectic schedule in other parts of our lives (work, social life) it’s been hard to find regular training times so our upcoming priority is to get back into a routine of daily training so Sprocket can continue learning and maturing and so we can strengthen our connection together. He’s in the early stages of learning more flashy tricks like jumping through hoops and the like so I can’t wait to show off what he’s learned.

-JB

Sprocket update: Smart little boy!

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Meet Sprocket – the newest member of our family. He’s an 10 month old Terrier cross (We’re not sure what’s in the mix!) adopted puppy from Melbourne’s The Lost Dogs’ Home. Follow along as I share his and my story as a new dog owner learning how to raise a healthy and happy little dog. I’ll also be doing regular updates on JOY 94.9′s Pets-A-Loud about my experiences and what I learn along the way.

Our smart little man is growing up already!

Since our last update, our terrier cross Sprocket has progressed to class 2 at obedience training and doing great! He’s starting to learn more complex commands such as staying, recalls and stands.

What I find really important in training is that I understand the logic behind each command and technique so I can place it in the bigger picture of his training. Learning isolated commands and tricks might be fun, but I’m learning to ask our trainers to explain the context of each lesson more.

I now feel I’m beginning to understand the psychology behind our little man much better. One of my proudest moments has been teaching him to go to bed. Initially you could tell he disliked bed time and would do anything to avoid it (cower away, refuse to move) but with lots of positive encouragement and support we now only need to call out “bed!” (OK, sometimes he needs a little push to get moving!) to get him and Cynder to their respective beds. It was a moment that showed me just how powerful consistent positive reinforcement is with our training and our daily routines.

Soon I’m looking forward to taking him new places and eventually…the beach! I can’t wait!

-JB