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The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES - BY ZOE TRUP

AS AN ex­pe­ri­enced dog trainer, when I work with own­ers in the com­fort of their own homes I see things oth­ers may not no­tice. For ex­am­ple, how the dog watches the owner’s ev­ery move, tracks them across the room and ad­justs to their hu­man’s move­ments. Chances are, with­out that per­son’s pres­ence, the dog’s be­hav­iour would be dras­ti­cally al­tered.

Do you won­der what hap­pens when you are not around? Of­ten, the dog’s anx­i­ety be­gins be­fore you have even left the house. Pick­ing up your keys and fol­low­ing an un­in­ten­tional rou­tine is the first trig­ger and the front door clos­ing is the fi­nal blow, leav­ing them feel­ing aban­doned and vul­ner­a­ble. Pos­si­bly howl­ing for hours, mak­ing you the neighbours from hell.

Ide­ally your dog is set­tled or just sleep­ing soundly. Sadly, this is not al­ways the case. Teach­ing our dogs to do noth­ing in our ab­sence, or the ab­sence of our en­ter­tain­ment and at­ten­tion, is of­ten ne­glected — es­pe­cially when puppies are so of­ten cod­dled. They grow up think­ing they can­not re­lax un­less their hu­mans are there.

Dur­ing one-to-one train­ing ses­sions, the first thing I nor­mally no­tice is the dog is con­stantly seek­ing at­ten­tion — neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive. Own­ers of­ten point out that their dog be­haves dif­fer­ently with me and ask why. It is be­cause I am pay­ing the dog no heed; the hound­ing gets no pay-off so they give up quickly.

We want our dogs to amuse them­selves, there­fore we need to en­cour­age self-suf­fi­ciency and ig­nore them more fre­quently. It is not easy, of course, es­pe­cially if it’s a fully grown husky — but it must be done.

The fact is, we can­not al­ways be there, so al­though leav­ing for half an hour while you grab some gro­ceries may not be con­sid­ered train­ing, it re­ally is. If we re­ally want sep­a­ra­tion to be a pos­i­tive, we should use some­thing that evokes an al­ter­na­tive re­sponse, so they never even no­tice your ab­sence.

As a dog trainer, I am fully aware that train­ing takes time which not ev­ery­one has. Con­sis­tency is es­pe­cially key to erad­i­cat­ing cer­tain be­hav­iours and this can be hard work for the owner. A train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion such as Bushey Tails can do the hard work for you.

We work with a lo­cal dog ho­tel to pro­vide a board-and-train pro­gramme, where each doggy guest will have daily train­ing ses­sions along­side plenty of ex­er­cise and af­fec­tion, in lux­u­ri­ous sur­round­ings. In your ab­sence, your four-legged fam­ily mem­ber will learn many new skills and upon your re­turn, you will be greeted with a wag­ging tail and a train­ing ses­sion to teach you how to main­tain it.

Along­side our new pro­gramme we con­tinue to of­fer one-to-one ses­sions and group classes. At all times, we aim to en­sure train­ing is a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for hu­man and ca­nine alike.

A half-hour gro­cery trip is re­ally sep­a­ra­tion train­ing’

Bushey Tails: 07710 198594 zoe@bushey­tails.co.uk

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