Max loves going to see Brian!

We started working with Brian K9 Mentor in May 2021 following months of lockdown & shielding.  Poor Max (6 months old) didn’t get pup on pup socialisation. Brilliant Brian and his dogs have massively helped Max (super friendly, idiot, loveable doggo) & us with learning how to better greet other dogs and build his confidence. Brian’s knowledge of dog behaviour has been invaluable to understand from Max’s view point so we can adjust to better support him.   All ACE and super logical tips and training advice in simple steps. Max has made great paw strides and we will continue to work with Brian to fine tune Max and ourselves as much as we can to make Max de bestest Doggo we can. Max loves going to see Brian and his dogs. Instantly Super engaged, great stimulation working with his dogs.

Growth plates and bones: Development and injury.

Growth plates and bones: Development and injury.

Growth plates are soft areas that sit at the ends of the long bones in puppies and young dogs. They contain rapidly dividing cells that allow bones to grow longer until the end of puberty. Growth plates gradually thin as the hormonal changes approaching puberty signal the growth plates to close. In puppies, this closure normally completes between 18 to 24 months old.

Until the growth plates close, they’re soft and vulnerable to injury. After sexual maturity, the growth plates calcify and the rapid cell division ends. The growth plates become a stable, inactive part of the bone, now known as an epiphyseal line.
Dogs bones are held together with muscles, tendons and ligaments (soft tissue). In an adult dog, if a joint experiences a stress such as bending the wrong way or rotating too much, the bones will hold firm and soft tissue will be pulled, resulting in a sprain or tear. In a puppy, however, his soft tissues are stronger than his growth plates, so instead of a simple sprain, his growth plate is liable to be injured – the puppy’s own soft tissue can pull apart his growth plate.

Why this matters so much, is that unlike a sprain, injuries to the growth plate may not heal properly or not heal in time for the puppy to grow up straight and strong. Injury to a growth plate can result in a misshapen or shortened limb, which creates an incorrect angle to a joint resulting in yet more future injuries when he/she grows up, including dysplasia

Better than a chimp … continued

This video clip shows Brian working with two of his own dogs.  Apart from verbal praise at the end of the exercise, Brian gives no verbal cues to his dogs. Instead all their instruction is in the form of eye contact and pointing. This demonstrates exactly how much dogs are able to ‘read’ our gestures, facial reactions and of course directional pointing. Follow this link to the video clip. Better than a Chimp – demonstration – YouTube

Not all treats are created equal.

When using treats training your dog, they are not all created equal.  All dogs will have treats that are more valuable to them and those that are less so. The most valued treats will usually be something like cheese or cooked chicken, then frankfurters or similar and finally kibble.  While having a pocket full of kibble is great to reward your dog and reinforce already learned behaviour, it’s just not up to the job when learning a new behaviour, especially if that new behaviour is recall or impulse control.  When you’re teaching your dog new behaviours, it’s important to keep them motivated and interested. One of the easiest ways to do that is with a high rate of reinforcement (how often you give rewards) and to reward with something your dog finds valuable. In order to give your dog lots of treats in a short period of time, keep them small. You can always give a handful of treats if the behaviour warrants it. In order to maintain your dog at a healthy weight remember to take into consideration how many treats they have consumed during the day. Remember, your voice, your praise and your touch i.e. stroking them are also rewarding for your dog and are something you always have with you. The environment is also rewarding to your dog. So vary your treats depending on the activity and get practising your “Oh good boy!” voice. Continue reading Not all treats are created equal.

Better than a chimp!

A dog’s brain is more complex than you might think. Although we are genetically closer to chimps, dogs can understand finger pointing better, as chimpanzees have difficulty identifying objects of interest based on gesture. Pet dogs are highly receptive to both verbal and non-verbal communication from the humans in their family. However, recent research from Froniters in Psychology found 80% of untrained, stray dogs successfully followed pointing directions from people to a specific location or object of interest. This result indicates that dogs can understand complex gestures by simply watching humans as a result of 10,000-15,000 years of domestication. Bear that in mind next time you think your dog doesn’t understand you. They are constantly reading and interpreting micro-gestures we may be unaware we are even making in a bid to communicate with and understand us. That’s why we start with visual cues when we are shaping a behaviour.

Dogs understand pointing better than chimps!

Brian is a brilliant trainer

Brian’s knowledge and insight is invaluable and after just a few months is already making such a difference to the training and relationship we have with our dog. He’s helped us understand more about dog behaviour, how we’ve impacted on our pups development and offered us lots of practical skills and techniques to try at home. It’s been hugely refreshing and so useful for building confidence and making sure we’re doing the best by our dog and encouraging positive development. We’ve still got a little way to go, but have already noticed great results which is hugely rewarding. Brian is a brilliant trainer, who offers clear explanations and shares his wealth of experience generously.

Where do we work?

Paddock for dog training
Paddock for dog training

We are very fortunate to have three enclosed paddock areas to work in. This is important to really embed a behaviour, such as recall. As part of the learning process, dogs and their handlers can practise an exercise in a different paddock. This means we can keep some factors the same i.e. the people and the dog and change one element at a time i.e. the location. When the behaviour is more embedded or proofed we can then move to another location. We use a woodland area, am area of moorland  and a town setting locally depending on the needs of the client.

New to the team

Bronson, our new team member
Bronson, our new team member

We are delighted to have a new member of the team. Bronson is a 2 year old Malinois gifted to us by Shaun Ellis.  Bronson and Brian formed a  strong connection while Brian was working at the Wolf and Dog Development centre. Bronson is very useful due to his fabulous ears. He helps  teach communication and his ears make is very clear for both the dogs we are working with and their handlers. The spaniels and Dobermann of course will also be using ear posture to communicate, but their floppy ears make it much harder to read. Bronson frequently meets clients and can be seen wearing his K9 Mentor harness when he’s at work.