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Today I had the amazing opportunity of being able to attend the Helen Zulch seminar on ‘Life Skills for Puppies’ which was hosted by Action 4 Dogs at Ravelston House in Musselburgh. I only wish I had known the information Helen gave us before getting Mossy, it would have made puppy training a lot easier!

As a new puppy owner I was totally bewildered by the amount of contradicting advice and training tips given to me by other dog walkers or found on internet sites and forums. Helen’s life skills provides simple steps on how to not only have an obedient puppy, but a well behaved puppy that is a good canine citizen. The 10 life skills are;

  1. I have confidence
  2. I like surprises
  3. I like to be touched
  4. I can’t do everything & I can’t have everything
  5. I can be calm
  6. I know (and can obey) the rules
  7. I can listen
  8. I have good manners
  9. I need help to make the right choices
  10. I have the right to be a dog

Her seminar provided an interesting look at previous literature and research surrounding our current state of knowledge as well as current and future research. She also clearly conveyed the 10 key life skills and the teaching concepts behind them.

The most useful part of the seminar for me was the information about using the ‘enough’ command to control any play that looks like it’s getting out of control. This can easily happen when arousal levels increase during the play and if one dog has had enough it can quickly lead to conflict. Because of this, it is important to know when your dog has had enough and stop the play.

Other things that I’m going to start doing with Mossy is to teach her ‘say hello’ which will let her go up to see people or other dogs. This should hopefully help me to stop her chasing other dog’s balls and going too far away from me.

For more information about the life skills for puppies Helen has a book which I would highly recommend for anyone thinking about getting a puppy or if they already have one!