After bringing our beautiful puppy, Bruce, home it quickly became clear that we would need a little bit of extra help in managing some of his more ‘over the top’ behaviour/general spaniel madness. Following a recommendation from a friend and reading some of Joy’s blog posts, it was Joyful Dogs’ calm, rewards-based approach to training that encouraged us to sign up for both a 1-2-1 session and group puppy class. Joy was brilliant with Bruce and he was immediately calmer in her presence, we learned a lot about how we act around and communicate with him- less is definitely more! Bruce is a typical sprocker spaniel and we were struggling with focus and over excitement, especially as he’s not particularly foody. Joy supplied us with loads of great games to keep Bruce’s focus away from distractions (the flirt pole is a particular favourite!) and fantastic tips to ensure walks on a lead are stimulating for him. She also gave us some invaluable activities, such as ‘find it’, to keep Bruce occupied in the house that don’t focus entirely on food. Obviously, Bruce is still a little mad (we wouldn’t have got a spaniel if we didn’t love a bit of craziness), but now we are learning how to manage his more manic moments so that spending time with him doesn’t end in us tearing our hair out. Puppy classes were really well organised and great fun for both us and the pups, we thoroughly looked forward to Sunday mornings! It was great to work with Bruce around other dogs, but we were really pleased that there was plenty of separation to prevent Bruce from becoming overwhelmed. We use the ‘vet’ game and ‘find it’ scent game we learned in class all the time. Sadly, the classes were cut short due to the pandemic, but we were able to fit in another 1-2-1 instead. Joy kindly met us at a park we frequently walk through, and it was so useful to work on the techniques we’d learned in a real-world situation. We were so pleased with what we’ve achieved with Joy’s help, we managed to keep Bruce away from all manner of distractions and he was brilliant at his find it/retrieve. We would wholeheartedly recommend Joyful Dogs to anyone looking for a great rewards-based trainer, you and your dog will certainly be better for Joy’s input! Bruce is just entering his teenage phase, so I’m sure we will be in contact with Joy again for a refresher session if he develops any more wonderful quirks that we need help with.
Hannah & Josh