Nelson’s Boost Training
I came to Devon Dogs almost a year after adopting Nelson, a Spanish dog who had been given up at 5 months for being “spooky.” As first time owners we had taken on a NBN dog! I had become aware through internet research about Absolute Dogs, but didn’t join the Training Academy until after the Facebook live sessions earlier in the year.
As we live near London I wanted to come to a NBN day but stay for a few days and so we booked a Boost package as well. I was apprehensive about some of the rules – no barking, crates with mats to catch crumbs….
Bowerland Cottages were full, and through Airbnb I found a cottage on the other side of Okehampton that welcomes dogs and has a one acre meadow attached for exclusive use – it was ideal and only 20 minutes from Devon Dogs. And there is a micro-brewery on site!
The first thing we encountered was Michelle asking us to move our car to a different spot so that Nelson could be more settled. In the workshop the topics that I hadn’t expected were the most additive to my understanding! For example planning transitions, planning where to park and how to protect Nelson from avoidable stresses. The practice sessions were carefully managed so that the dogs didn’t rehearse their NBN skills too much, but 10 participants was quite a lot.
We had already played some games, which in our introductory 121 session with Michelle the day before the workshop we reviewed and then built upon. We hardly used the impressive arena (we went in to meet Astro) but that didn’t matter. Actually outside, in the car park and the field there were distractions that make the training more relevant. Thank you to the woman who walked past us carrying a vacuum cleaner, the man operating a digger, and the pheasants as well as other dogs, all of whom offered live DMT opportunities!
As others have said, Michelle is an excellent trainer. She doesn’t criticise or judge but coaches and suggests. She gave Nelson lots of breaks (back in the car) to relax and assimilate the training which meant that we coped with 1.5 hour sessions.
About the Author: I gave up full time work (a senior job in an international bank) 18 months ago and when asked what I was planning to do next I told people “I’m going to get a dog.” I didn’t realise at the time that this really would be my almost full time occupation.