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Thoughts on Dog Training…

By Sue Williams Bsc. Chairwoman GODT (MT). MCFBA, Canine Behaviourist & Trainer, CEO Guild of Dog Trainers 1 years ago 3177 Views

I am sure everyone will agree that dogs are simply ace!

When you think about it the relationship they share with us is unique, we welcome them into our lives and integrate them as a member of our family. Their skill to adapt is amazing when you consider that they are a completely different species. They are loving , loyal, affectionate and brilliant companions who respond appropriately to  our emotions.

In order for them to live life to the full training is vital as society dictates that owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their dogs are under control at all times. In my opinion there are several essential obedience skills which all owners need to teach their dogs, these are:

  • To walk on a slack lead.
  • To come back immediately when called.
  • To greet people politely without jumping up.
  • To understand the sit and down positions and a basic stay in them.

Historically, training used to be regimental and dogs were bullied into obeying instructions, yes the desired result was often achieved but at a huge cost to the relationship between dog and owner. Luckily now days there are kinder, better and more effective methods which are becoming increasingly the norm.

I strongly believe that how we train should reflect our love and respect for our four legged best friends. Wagging tails and dogs enthusiastically doing what we request can easily be achieved if you train your dog using methods which promote understanding through effective communication.

Treats and food rewards are an important resource as they really help to reinforce desired responses by our dog. I recommend and use Natural Instinct treats. The range is superb and I find that all dogs simply love them.

I find small pieces of Natural Instinct Beef Jerky or Dried Liver Treats are great to use during the training sessions to reward progress. At the end of a session I like to give my dogs a jackpot mega reward for all their effort with one of the larger Natural Instinct treats such as a Beef Pipe or Turkey Neck. These are ideal and really shows them just how delighted I am.

I use a similar method with my display dogs, which I am convinced is why Kali, my Malinois and Taggie, my lab puppy do so well.

Agility Training

A fun activity which you and your dog can enjoy together is dog agility. This dog sport offers an enjoyable challenge to you and your dog, whether you have aspirations to compete or would rather participate in the many pet agility classes offered throughout the UK.

Jumping, running through tunnels and negotiating contact equipment such as the ‘A frame’, ‘dog walk’ and ‘see-saw’ all offer fantastic physical and mental stimulation for your four legged friend.

Agility is a demanding exercise so to join in the fun your dog needs to be physically fit and healthy.  If your dog is under 12months of age they will be limited to what they can do, jumping is out as well as a full height ‘A frame’. Don't worry you can still join in as many clubs offer classes specifically for pups and young dogs, which are designed to build confidence and have fun without the physical demands.

Teaching your dog agility is both fun and rewarding. In the initial stages treats are ideal to lure and encourage your dog. I like to use small pieces of Natural Instinct's Beef Jerky as I find not only do the dogs love them but they really help them to focus and concentrate on what they are doing.

Agility is a great way to:

  • Improve a dog’s fitness (and handlers too!!)
  • Challenge your dog’s brain
  • Improve your dog’s confidence
  • Build a stronger relationship between you both
  • Build your dog’s focus and concentration on you
  • Improve your dog’s obedience

At DogFest North and South you will have the opportunity to try it out in the Natural Instinct ‘Have A Go Agility Ring’, with expert help by instructors from the Guild of Dog Trainers.

Come along and join in the fun!

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