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Pup2Perfection

A Guide to Raising Your Puppy 2 Perfection

By Lauren Langman & the Devon Dog Team
Reviewed by M.C. Scott

Description: This is a step by step guide to training that will allow you to take your time at each and every stage, helping you to work it through with confidence, innovation, and creativity all in the safety of your own home.

Contents:

  • Building Play
    Provides invaluable tips for building and maintaining a pup's desire to play with and stay actively engaged with the handler through toys and tug. Weight shift, toy-switch games, and building anticipation for tug are discussed and demonstrated. There are lots of great tips on building good tug behaviour and decreasing "re-bites." The importance of being able to use multiple re-inforcers in a single training session is emphasized. Because play with toys through tug is such an integral part to Lauren's training, nearly 60 minutes is devoted to this topic.

  • Recall
    Covers the essential parts of creating a good whiplash turn on a recall verbal.

  • Life Skills
    Covers 'learning to earn,' follow-me games, meeting and greeting other dogs and humans, collar grab games, games for self-control, working around other dogs, reinforcement for being handled, conditioning novel sounds, conditioning a head collar, training a release word, and more.

  • Confidence and Creativity
    Discusses how to introduce playing on different surfaces, surfaces with different textures and heights, dealing with strange noises, shaping, working balance, and so on.

What was your experience with this product?
When I'm not writing or dreaming, I'm dog training, which is one of those fields where there is an infinite amount to learn – the peeling of an onion that keeps growing from the inside.  I've spent a lot of time over the past 20 years trying to find someone who stands at the leading edge of the science of dog behaviour (constantly growing, changing, evolving) and who also understands how people and dogs work and can translate that science into an art that doesn't leave ordinary dog owners behind.

Lauren Langman is that person and her DVD Pup2Perfection is the one I wish I'd had for each of the pups – now grown dogs – with whom I have shared my life.

What did you like about this product?
Lauren is an agility trainer who competes at international level, but the first thing to say about this DVD is that it is aimed at all dog owners, whether you've got a new pup, a rescue dog or simply want better to prepare an existing dog for the vagaries of modern human civilisation. Let's face it, our current lifestyles are not entirely dog-friendly, but Lauren teaches a humane, sane, linear set of games and exercises that will equip any pup or dog for a rounded, balanced, cheerful life.

She starts with Cocoa, a home-bred pup, at about seven weeks and we follow through to around four months when she's ready to go to her new (non-agility) home. 

This isn't a studio-managed affair. Everything is shot as it happens - in the home, in the sand school, at the station, at the supermarket, in Curry's. Wherever she goes, the video is there and they catch in the moment the things she's doing, often at the first attempt. 

This is one of the things that makes this such an accessible video: there's no sense that this is set up. This isn't a pre-coached, super-start pup who has already polished its behaviours. This is a cheerful, confident pup, but she's constantly being asked for things she hasn't seen before and we see the 'no thank you' moments – and see how Lauren works through them until the end result of a 14 week old pup who is entirely focused on Lauren and will happily work for food or toy re-inforcers.

In the first disc, we see Cocoa at 7  – 8 weeks, working on tugging, on baby-puppy recalls, on socialisation and becoming relaxed in various different locations – watching a young pup tugging furiously while there's an agility competition happening in the background is awe-inspiring, but very encouraging – it's not impossible, and you only have to imagine what that pup will be like as an adult to want to follow this path to the letter.

The second DVD sees Cocoa a little older, and we see where the early exercises were leading: the recalls are now ‘whiplash turns' and it's possible to add the final cue (her name) where before there was a default cue of 'pup-pup-pup.' We see her learn 'down' from the 'mouse game' and learning to play in the presence of other dogs.  We see her learning confidence on a variety of surfaces, see her in a lift, at the station, back at Curries, playing on cardboard packing boxes: everything you'd need to do with a pup to produce a happy, easy, sociable – and entirely driven puppy.

And that's the thing: this isn't only aimed at competitive owners, but if you wanted a competitive pup, this would be the ultimate ground work on which to built your later ‘foundation skills' from the other agility DVDs. Cocoa isn't going to an agility home, but there's no question that she'd be a little superstar if she did.

What could be improved?
I would have liked more of is a breakdown of exactly what Lauren is doing. There's a lot of subtlety and things she does automatically that the novice might miss. A talk-through of each scene and 'explanation of why she has done some of the things would make it more accessible to people at all levels. There's some very advanced behaviour training in here which makes it all look so straightforward and easy. 

What did you think of the design and quality of production?
There are two DVDs in this set. Both are structured in chapters (tugging, recall, confidence in play and the like) with short bursts of video and then a brief text page showing the highlights of what we've just seen.

Specifications: Running Time: 3 hours, 26 minutes NTSC format

Price: £34.99 + £4.45 UK p&p, or £8.99 international p&p.

Rating: 8/10

Value for Money:
I am - and have been - recommending this DVD to everyone I know who is getting a new pup, has a young dog or is in any way interested in training. This is not sycophancy, I genuinely think that there's a wealth of experience in here and, if someone is prepared to watch and watch again, they'll keep on learning. 

Would you recommend this product to your friends and family?
This is a well planned, professional DVD, but the content is so human, so humane and so well-structured it should be handed out by every breeder to every potential puppy owner.

Pup2Perfection is available from Devon Dogs or Agility Warehouse

About the reviewer...
Manda Scott
was a veterinary surgeon before she became a writer. She grew up in the James Herriot era and naively thought it was possible to do both well. It took her ten years of veterinary work before she began to write properly and another five before she gave up the day job for good.

She writes historical novels under the name M.C. Scott but is also known as a columnist and broadcaster.

Manda now lives and works in Shropshire.

First published 29 September 2013