Real World Learning
At That Dog School we are passionate about dog health and behaviour. Our greatest aim is to help pet owners integrate their dogs into their everyday lives as seamlessly as possible. The tagline for our school is:
“That Dog School,
with an emphasis on REAL WORLD LEARNING”
But what does real world learning even look like?
At its core, the concept is about approaching training as a lifestyle. Every human we deal with has their own unique lifestyle; things they do for work and leisure that will potentially influence the way they live with their dog. To create a truly versatile dog-handler relationship, we look not only at teaching reliable behaviours, but also at creating a mindset in which the dog feels empowered to investigate and participate in their world. This works wonders for the dogs general confidence, and also makes getting them out and involving them in extracurricular activities that much easier.
Over the weekend That Dog School team got our dogs out for some camping (a first for the humans as well as all the dogs). This put their real world learning to the test.
Some of the things we learnt from this excursion were:
- Reliable boundaries are INVALUABLE!
All the dogs were required at some stage to settle on their beds or attached to tethers while things were busy around the camp.
- Clear windows of opportunity can SAVE lives!
At That Dog School we are huge advocates for the use of play in training. Several of our personal dogs will play tug with anything. The crack of sticks being prepared for the fire was enough to have most of them frothing. Without clear structure around play opportunities, we could have easily had some crazy canines willing to follow those sticks right into the flames.
- Adaptability to conditions is CRITICAL!
We humans were somewhat unprepared for how cold it was actually going to be, which resulted in us ditching the tents in favour of our cars on our last night out.
The dogs seamlessly transitioned to the change in sleeping arrangements without a fuss.
- Confidence is KEY!
All the obedience in the world won’t save you if your dog can’t cope with mild stress. Out in the real world we can’t be in complete control of our surroundings all the time.
When camping, your dog may encounter:
- Unanticipated weather changes
- Raucous campsite neighbours
- Unfamiliar wildlife
- Unfamiliar equipment
None of our dogs had slept inside of tents before. We happened to arrive on a particularly gusty day which meant the tents were moving and creating a bit of extra noise. These may seem like small things, but you’d be surprised how many dogs would not cope well in these circumstances. This is where our training for mindsetshowed it’s real value.
There are few things we find more fulfilling than seeing our dogs truly satisfied, recharging body and mind at the end of a long day of shared adventures. If your dog’s behaviour inhibits their freedom and prevents them from living life to the fullest alongside you, you can do something about it. No matter their breed or their age, it is never too late to start training towards a more fulfilling life.