I just got a puppy, when should I start training?
Immediately, every time you interact with your puppy (play with him or her, feed, cuddle, or just work around him or her) your puppy is learning. The more you understand about how your interactions create the adult dog you will have the happier your relationship with your dog will be. And imagine if you could go through adolescence with your puppy without all the drama other people seem to have, wouldn’t that be great. To help you our Puppy Primary Junior and Senior classes run all year round (with the exception of a few weeks around Christmas/New Years, and the Easter weekend), and you can start straight away, no need to wait for the new group to begin. With constant admissions your puppy doesn’t miss out on valuable learning time, but we have a constantly changing group of dogs and people for your puppy to meet and greet, allowing them more opportunity to socialise.
I want to train my dog and you offer group and private lessons but what's the best option?
Our puppy classes are the best option for all dogs 6 months and under, as this also gives them the opportunity to interact with other people and dogs. For adult dogs 7 months and older they must complete either our lifestyle training, or a personal lesson before they can enter our group training. During this time we will help you and your dog understand the terminology and commands we will use, ensure neither you nor your dog will be overwhelmed in a group class and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may not feel comfortable asking with other people around. We will also ensure you and your dog understand rewards, figure out what is the best way to reward your dog’s good behaviour and offer advice on any training that needs some improvement. From here you will work with the same trainers, and others in our team, to maintain focus, calm behaviour and have fun with other dogs and owners close by.
I want to do lifestyle training with my dog but can I pick him up each day and return him each morning?
All dogs undertaking lifestyle training remain with us for the duration of their course, this allows our trainers and behaviourist to teach your dog new habits and skills without giving them the opportunity to continue to practice the habits you wish to change or rectify. We also find that taking the dog out of its normal environment can show us some underlying courses of their behaviour, like anxiety or lack of self-control, that they don’t show when at home, but can have a huge influence on their ability to cope with visitors, going on walks, distractions, etc.
How do I stop my dog pulling?
A common problem among dog owners, and one that is easily fixed IF you are able to be consistent, if consistency is a problem for you then seeking help from a trainer may be your best bet as they will help keep you and your dog on track. The most important thing to remember is every time you allow your dog to pull you anywhere you are teaching them pulling is not only allowed, but it is a great way to get where you want to go quickly, this is why consistency is the key.
My dog won't listen to me, why?
A common problem and generally comes down to consistency, how often does your dog HAVE to listen to you? Let us set out a scenario for you: You’re a stickler for cleanliness and hate to see any mess in the kitchen. Every day your family come in grab a drink, make some food, dump whatever they are carrying on the kitchen bench. This drives come in and clean up their mess and put their gear away. Not once do you leave their dirty dishes lying around, not once do you refuse to replenish what they have used, not once do you leave their gear lying around to get covered in mess. So my question is .. why should they clean up, after all if they ignore the yelling you will sort everything out with very little stress and no effort on their part. There is no benefit to them in cleaning up, no reason for them to expend energy or time, the kitchen is always clean at the end of the day (or earlier), there is always food and drink available, life is wonderful.All living creatures will only do something if there is a benefit to them. In the above scenario we do dishes so that we can continue to use them for our food and drinks. Your dogs are the same, what do they get for listening? What do they lose for not listening? If your dogs do not get anything for listening, or lose anything for ignoring you why should they listen? So how do we teach our dogs to listen to us? Work out what your dog loves, and what your dog doesn’t like. These are the keys to success, what your dog loves can be dinner, praise, play, walks, cuddles, time to the sofa, what your dog doesn’t like can be going hungry, being ignored, losing play, cuddle or sofa privileges. Now we have a way to reward the behaviour we want (ie when our dog listens) and to punish what we don’t like (ie when our dog ignores us). When your dog does as asked reward him or her, the reward show reflect the complexity of what was asked, for instance if you ask your dog to sit when there are no distractions praise is enough with most dogs, however if they recalled away from another dog that wanted to play with having you tell them they did well would probably not be enough, yet the opportunity to have a game with your along with that praise would be great. If your dog doesn’t listen then they lose something they want, again the complexity must be taken into consideration, if your dog refuses to sit when he/she wants a cuddle then all your attention is taken away, however if your dog refuses to take his/her attention away from another dog when on a walk and is very social or afraid of other dogs telling them off or punishing them is just going to ruin the bond you have.If you find that you are struggling to find what your dog loves and doesn’t love you can organise a personal lesson with our trainers and they can help you with ideas as well as look at your interactions with your dog and give important advice and tips specific to you both. From there you can also attend our group classes to practice getting your dog to listen around distractions under the help and guidance of our trainers.
My dog won’t come back. How can I fix this?
A complicated problem, and one that needs to be worked through in stages to ensure success each time. To start with let me list the must do’s and don’ts of recall training, then we will go through training of a recall. Many of this is common sense and you probably already know it, unfortunately we tend to get a little emotional when it comes to our pets and throw common sense out the window. Again this is easiest with a young puppy, but any dog, regardless of age and previous experience/training can learn to do lightning fast recalls in all environments. Do’s: Set you and your dog up for success. Make sure you have your dogs’ attention before asking them to come. Always reward your dog for coming to you. Make the reward proportionate to the distractions your dog left to come to you
Practice often and in as many environments as you can. Make being with you more fun than elsewhere. Don’ts: Never ask for your dog to come when you know they are too distracted to come. Never punish your dog when it comes to you (if you need to tell your dog off go to them, don’t tell them to come and then yell at them). Lean forward when your dog approaches. Grab your dog by the collar as if you are afraid you will never get near them again (this only frightens them and makes them less likely to come right up to you). As with all training, start by practicing in an area free of major distractions, make sure you have your dog’s favourite rewards available and are relaxed, and ready for some fun, recalls should be fun or else what’s the point. It is best to start with a lead on your dog, either a 6’ lead or a longline to enable you to guide your dog in if needed, we want to ensure they understand that coming towards you is what we want. Make sure that you have your dog’s attention, hold your hands out wide (ensure you don’t tug on the lead if it is in your hand) and ask your dog to come in a happy, upbeat tone. As your dog moves toward you praise them, good dog, that’s it, keep coming, that sort of thing, and when they get all the way to you ensure they come in really close, and give them a big reward, lots of praise, a cuddle, treat, etc. make sure as your dog approaches you have your back straight, this ensures your dog comes all the way in and doesn’t learn to stop an arm-length away and play catch me if you can, a fun game for all dogs and one that many people fall for. As your dog gets better at coming to you add more distance between you both. You can also start to ask for their attention (usually with the use of their name) before asking for the come, and you can stat to add in more distractions. Here is where things get complicated … you need to work on each element of the recall (distance, attention, distraction) separately, then when you have good control individually then start to add them together. For instance, a 20m recall without distractions is a lot easier than with another dog running with your dog. So add distance without other people or dogs around, then add distance when your dog has low level distractions (eg smell, looking ahead instead of at you) and when you start to add major distractions reduce the distance between you, start close and on lead, then build up the distance again ensuring your dog has to come each time (ie don’t remove the lead/longline until your dog is ready to recall away from distractions at a distance without any help from you. When you feel ready to try off lead recalls I recommend beginning with dropping the lead, rather than removing it, that way if things go wrong you have the entire length of the lead to grab, instead of making a dive for your dog.
Why does my dog not like other dogs?
Some dogs are more social than others, this doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your dog, it just means he or she is more particular about who they spend their time with. If your dog is perfectly relaxed around other dogs, but prefers your company consider yourself lucky, many people have to work very hard to get their dog to focus on them and want to be around them when other dogs are around.If your dog is worried when around other dogs, then they need some help from you, and possibly from a trainer or behaviourist, to help them relax around other dogs. This can be because your dog has low self-confidence, after a scary event or because someone has inadvertently trained the dog this way by rewarding the scared behaviour. This is where working with a trainer or behaviourist can help, the complicated the problem the more highly trained you want the person you are seeking help from. As the causes here can vary, as can the treatment I am not going to go into detail, however if you think your dog falls into this category and you want some help send us a message or call us and we can help and give advice suitable to your dog and situation.
I have a rescue dog, can you help?
We are happy to help you with your rescue dog. Many dogs that come from a rescue situation have specific needs that require the guidance and advice from an experienced and qualified trainer or behaviourist to help them settle into their new family quickly, easily and without too many problems occurring. By working with a qualified professional you can ensure you are getting suitable advice for you and your new family member right from the start to help prevent avoidable issues arising, and to understand your newest friend so that you can build a strong bond quickly.
Can I visit my dog when he or she is enjoying lifestyle training?
We find that visits from owners, or owner’s friends, can upset some dogs while they are with us, they see their owner (or someone they are close to) and think they are heading home, then you leave and they are still with us. Some dogs don’t cope well with this and it sets their training back preventing us from getting the most out of your dog in the short time we have with them. However we understand that you like to know how your dog is going, therefore we post weekly photos of all dogs in the first and second week of training and a weekly video of all dogs in their third or more week on our facebook page for you to enjoy. Plus you can leave a message for a trainer to call you back when they are in the office, email us or leave a message on our facebook page and we can give you a quick update. Just remember, the trainers will reply to all messages (or a staff member will ask for the update to reply for them) between training the dogs, therefore you may not get a response straight away.
Do you deal with aggressive dogs?
When it comes to aggression, there are varying degrees that can be displayed, from a small snarl when forced into an uncomfortable situation, through to physically attacking another animal or human. For dogs that show very high amounts of aggression, we can recommend trainers that specialise in helping deal with this. If your dog is just beginning to show signs of agression or you’re worried that certain situations may cause a negative reaction from your dog, please contact us and we can work with you to address and fix these issues. Click here for more information on dog aggression and what you can do to prevent a small problem from becoming a large one.