APPROACHES TO TRAINING AND EDUCATION OF DOGS IN THE BOLHA ACADEMY
CROATIA TEACHING PROJECT PART 3
A PUBLICATION of Buyhavanese.com
The training and education of dogs involves complex, lengthy and continuous work. In the Bolha Academy, we invest exceptional effort into the education our dogs receive. We start by educating the dogs in our program on the first day they arrive by introducing the basic rules of communication to them that they should adhere to throughout their lives. This education will affect their quality of life in their relationships between themselves and with any person they come into contact with.
We educate all breeds and conduct various training in our programs depending upon the needs and desires of the owners. Some of our programs include, but are not limited to:
a school for puppies,
the basics of obedience,
training dogs for the visually impaired,
training guard dogs, and
preparation for exams.
Below I describe the correct procedures in dealing with young dogs (puppies) that are important for furthering their education and training. When puppies/dogs are six months old, we started by training them on the basics of obedience, the key base for everything else.
PREREQUISITES AND ASSUMPTIONS OF A SUCCESSFUL AND QUALITY
CO-EXISTENCE WITH DOGS
The following points are key prerequisites for the program and assumptions that we believe in:
The education should start at an early age.
There must be a place for rest and hygiene is mandatory.
Socialization of puppies is basic.
Dealing with domination must be a part of the program.
We start first with exercises and games.
A critical relationship is required between the child and the dog when training therapy dogs.
When should we separate a puppy from parents
The best period for separation is when puppies are two months old. That period (which runs until the fourth month) has the most potential for creating a very strong bond between humans and animals. When a puppy arrives in a new home, he tries to figure out where he is and this is the moment when we start with education. We teach him, among the many lessons, cleanliness, where and how to relieve himself, preventing domination which is beginning to show under new owners, etc.
2. Place for resting, hygiene… first days in new home
When choosing a bed for the puppy, we need to settle on a peaceful place where he will not be disturbed during the resting and sleeping. As soon as the puppy wakes up, we bring out him out (by the hands) to the closest grassed area. When he relieves, we praise him gently stroking him by using slow movements along the entire body.
3. Socialization of puppies
This point is of great importance. We take our puppies to many different places – meadows, busy places, etc. Puppies must learn different sounds, for example: cars, sirens, light signals, persons moving around.
Thanks to these actions, our dogs will be relaxed and will be able to avoid the possible occurrence of different fears, during the subsequent period.
There are four main indicators of domination: jumping on owners, nibbling, dragging (during the walk) and escape with a toy. A dog is an animal of herd and with this behavior, he seeks to impose and to take over leadership. We should especially watch for signs of domination. If they are not corrected, a dog will probably bite at a later age.
5. First exercises and games
Some equipment that is needed includes: collar, long leash, ball, grassy or indoor area for the game. During each exercise, we always start and ending with a game! And always in the same way!
A collar must be the appropriate size and ratio of the neck plus 10 cm. We attach the collar to a long lash and start with exercises of guidance.
All exercise must be short, and they must have a clear beginning and end.
We mustn’t let a dog pull or bite a leash.
During exercise, it is extremely important to look at the dog, pay attention to the body language, and commend or correct him.
Exercise require consistency and concentration.
At the time of training, we must be 100 percent on the field and no thinking of anything else.
From the beginning, the dog must know what is correct and what is wrong. In that sense, very important are praise. Hand is the one that caresses, that conveys warmth and love.
6. Child and dog (Therapy dogs)
Everything that I said before is especially important for therapy dogs. In 2012 I joined the program where I instructing Bichon Havanese for therapy dogs. This breed proved to be extremely successful for the job for which they became trainees.
Havanese learn quickly,
Havanese are very intelligent,
Havanese concentrate on their work,
Havanese are sweet-tempered, and
Havanese provide a lot of love.
Therapy dogs must also pass a program in obedience which is adapted for this main purpose. Obedience yields the best results if we adhere to the following:
First, contact with children is very important.
From the first days, we hold in our hands a puppy/dog which is intended for the work with children with special needs. We cuddle him by voice and hand. However, we must always be careful not to overdo it because we might cause the opposite effect.
By using a lot of full body stroking, and by playing games, we come to the real results.
If on the meadow/grass or in the nursery there are many children, we ask them that one by one to approach the puppy (which we hold in our arms). We give the puppy gently strokes and we provide him with a delicacy. The delicacy is always food which the dog normally eats. This way the puppy learns that the arrival of a child means something good and will provide him with pleasure.
Later, we hold the puppy high in his bed so that the child can freely lay hands on him. By gently watching and cajoling, we teach him proper communication in his relationship with children.
Working with dogs and training them is a very complex job. It requires patience and a lot of love towards children, people and dogs. In my career, I have trained more than 13,000 dogs of all breeds. Also, I have achieved top world results in working koniology.
Today, even after forty-two year of active work, I can honestly say that I work with the same ardor as in the beginning. Dogs are really my true love!
International Cynology Judge
Instructor for Working Dogs
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