Dog Training Tips
Dog owners face a series of common challenges when it comes to training a dog. Your dog may find some aspects of training particularly difficult. Everyone who owns a dog understands some of the main hurdles you have to overcome and common behavioural problems that can arise.
There are you with some of the challenges you are facing. Helpful training aids can speed up the learning process and enable you to train your dog effectively. Not all equipment works for every dog, so it’s important to keep an open mind and try new products. Here are some common dog training challenges and some equipment that could enhance your training.
Toilet Training Your Puppy
Toilet training your dog doesn’t have to be that difficult. It’s all about getting into a routine. If you follow a routine and stick to the rules then you should start to see results. Try and be patient, your dog isn’t going to be 100% toilet trained overnight.
Recall is a very important skill for your pup to master. Some breeds such as huskies and sighthounds are not particularly receptive to recall training, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. If you get a rescue dog then you might have to start recall training from scratch. Be patient, the bond with your new pooch is just as important as the training. One of the best training aids for recall is a long lead or Training Lead. This is simply a longer lead than standard leads, normally around 10 metres long. Training leads allow your dog to have a bit more freedom. You just need to train your dog to come back to you on the long lead using treats or Toys. Once you are confident they will come back to you then you can consider letting them off in an enclosed area. If you don’t want to shout all the time then consider using a whistle as your dogs signal to return to you. Whistles are commonly used in gun dog training and they are particularly good for distance, consistency and emergency recall.
Some dog owners struggle with putting their dog to bed. This is part of puppy training and a lot of rescue dogs need to settle into a nighttime routine in their new home. Crate training can help with this challenge. Your dog can sleep wherever you want it to, but it’s good to have a defined space for them to go to and that’s where crates come in. Crates should be a safe haven for your dog where they can rest and have their own space. Make sure you get some cosy bedding for your dog so that they are comfortable. Place the crate in an appropriate area and allow your dog to go there when they wish. This gets them used to their own company and it encourages them to keep their bedding area clean. Then you can send them into their crate or bed at nighttime and enjoy a quiet night's sleep. If you don’t want your dog to sleep in your room then don’t allow it, doing it once can undo all the good training you have done.
Pulling on the lead
This is a frustrating problem that requires a lot of practice and patience. One piece of equipment that can help with loose lead training is a head harness or head collar. These collars go around the dog's muzzle and they help you to control the movement of your dog. It restricts their strength as they are controlled by their head rather than their body. This makes it much easier to control your dog. Head harnesses should be used as a training aid rather than a long term solution. Once they are walking well on the head harness, try them on a body harness. Common training techniques that can help to reduce pulling on the lead include luring your dog close to your side with Treats or simply stopping every time your dog starts to pull.
Dogs can often become destructive or distressed when left alone. They dislike being apart from their owners and develop behavioural problems such as chewing, excessive barking or whining and going to the toilet. There are some pieces of equipment that can help with separation anxiety. When you go out, leave your dog some toys to play with to keep them occupied. Kongs with treats inside them work very well as they encourage mental stimulation. Make sure you take your dog on a long walk before you leave them. It also helps to spend time each day playing mind games and interacting with your dog to give them the mental stimulation they need. Then they are more likely to be relaxed when you have to leave them alone.
Raising and training a puppy
It’s very difficult to put together a complete guide to raising a puppy. It’s a bit like saying there is a complete guide to raising children. It’s often not that simple, you encounter problems along the way and the questions you really need answers to aren’t always in the ‘how to’ guides. However, there are some basic things you need to know if you are thinking of getting a puppy. We have put together a guide that includes all the main things to be aware of when raising a puppy.
It’s important to be aware that getting a puppy is a huge commitment. Bringing up a puppy certainly isn’t easy. You will be tested and challenged and will need to put a lot of time into their training. Only get a puppy if you can give them the time and attention they need and you are ready for a ten to 15-year commitment (depending on what breed you get).
Preparation for bringing a puppy home
Before you even think about bringing a puppy home you need to make sure your house is ready. It’s important to puppy proof your home so that you know your puppy (and your belongings) will be safe. You need to get rid of any potentially dangerous objects that your new puppy might be able to get to. You also need to have a fully enclosed garden so that you know your puppy will not be able to escape.
Getting your new puppy into a routine is very important. It helps them to settle more quickly and makes them feel reassured. Wake them up at the same time, try and feed them at similar times and take them for their walk at roughly the same time every day. Puppies thrive on consistent routines and feel much more at ease if they know what to expect.
Whether you crate train your puppy is a personal choice. Crate training can be handy when your puppy is young and can be destructive and have a few accidents. Their crate is also a place where they can feel safe and have some quiet time.
Puppies can develop quite a few bad habits and it’s important to nip them in the bud. If they are allowed to carry on these behaviours they will most likely carry them into adulthood which makes them even harder to change. For example, most pups go through a teething stage where they may nip you. It may not hurt that much when they are young but it can cause big problems if they are still nipping when they grow up.
Socialisation for young puppies is a crucial part of their development. In order to grow into happy, confident, well-balanced adult dogs they need to be exposed to lots of people, dogs, and different situations. Make sure they have positive experiences with humans and meet lots of different people.
Take your pup out and about so that they can get used to a wide variety of environments, sights, and noises. It’s also important to ensure they are socialised with other dogs. Take them to your local dog park, out on walks where they will meet other dogs and introduce them to calm, well-behaved dogs that you know they will have a positive experience with.
Essential puppy products
Here is a list of just some of the essential products you will need for your new puppy.
- Dogs bowls
- Collars and leads
- Dog beds
- Dog training products
- Dog Coats
- Dog Crates
- Dog food
- Dog health products
- Dog grooming products
- Poo bags
- Dog travel products
Health and vaccinations
Take your puppy to your vet within a few days of bringing them home so that they can get a health check. You can also get them booked in for their vaccinations and get any medication they might require.
When you get a new puppy the breeder should give you some information about diet. Whatever puppy food brand you choose, make sure you read the manufacturer’s guidelines and give them the correct amount of food for their age and weight. Try not to change your their diet and keep it consistent unless they are having problems with their food. If you do need to change brands then do it very gradually.
To begin with, feed your puppy little and often. Four small meals a day usually work best until they are about four months when you can reduce to three. At around six months of age, you can consider changing to two meals a day. There are lots of different types of dog food to choose from, including wet dog food, dry dog food and a huge range of different flavours. There are advantages and disadvantages to both wet and dry dog food. Choose a dog food that suits you and your dog best.
Puppies just love toys, playing with toys is important for developing certain behaviours and burning off some energy. Try out different toys to see which ones your puppy enjoys the most. Make sure they give you their toy back when asked and they always play under supervision.
Puppy Collar and Leash Training
Many people believe that puppies are difficult to train, especially when it comes to collar and leash training. However, if done correctly and from a young age they respond to training very quickly. The most important part is getting the correct pet supplies. For a puppy choose a collar that is fairly soft with padding if possible, although hardwearing enough to ensure they do not damage it or get out of it. A buckle collar is the best for a growing puppy as it can be adjusted as they grow. Ancol do a good range of dog collars which can fit most dogs from puppy up to fully grown dog. The combination of materials ensures they are comfortable for your dog whilst being long lasting and durable. They are also available in a variety of colours.
When first putting a collar on your puppy, ensure it is not too tight. Allow your puppy to get used to having the collar on. Their initial reaction may be lively and they may not appear to like the collar, however they will soon become accustomed to it, so just be patient.
When introducing a lead, ensure you get one which is long enough to allow your puppy to roam; a larger puppy will need a longer lead as they will need more exercise. Spend a few hours on the first day with the lead inside the house, to ensure your puppy gets used to it whilst being in familiar surroundings. Once the puppy is used to the lead, venture out into the back garden until you feel he or she is comfortable. The next step is to take your puppy on walks. Dogs of all ages love walks so this should be a happy experience for them. Try to stop them running away with the lead by simply stopping and firmly telling them 'no'. Never drag or pull a dog by its lead. When your dog is well behaved and walks at a good pace reward him or her with treats and tell the dog it has been good.
Puppy Training Classes
I attended a puppy training class for the first time last night. This wasn’t an obvious choice for an evening out as I don’t have a dog! However, my friend invited me along as I often walk her little darling. I thought that I should attend to pick up a few tips as I had already discovered that puppies need to learn a thing or two if they are to make good pets.
I have walked and looked after many dogs in my time but until young Darcey came along, they were all adults. The dogs that I has spent time with were well-behaved pets who responded to commands and so I hadn’t given much thought to what they would have been like as puppies. Then I found myself having to deal with the mini tsunami that is Darcey and I began to realise just how important training is.
A small puppy throwing itself at you and jumping around like a loon is one thing, a fully gown Labrador or German shepherd doing the same things would hospitalise you. Darcey is a cocker spaniel and so is never going to be a big dog but she will still be capable of shredding the furniture and knocking over a small child.
I had been finding it quite difficult to get Darcey to listen to any commands let alone react correctly to them and so I was interested to see what techniques the experts would employ to improve her behaviour.
Mad Spaniels and Dainty Pugs
When I arrived at the puppy class I was greeted by another Spaniel who was so hyper that he made Darcey look positively laid back. He clearly hadn’t learnt much yet! There was a mongrel called Milo who seemed terrified of other dogs and a tiny pug who went by the name of Winnie and looked incredibly dainty in comparison to the other dogs.
When the class began, it was fascinating to watch the experts at work and I quickly realised where I had been going wrong. They encouraged the owners to reward good behaviour continually with treats. My friend was armed with enough training treats to feed a small country. I thought she had taken leave of her senses but it soon became obvious that a mountain of treats was essential. The dog trainers also made it clear that bad behaviour must not be rewarded at any time. It was the timing of the treats which made all the difference.
Darcey had always dragged me down the road to the point that I was usually forced to run. At the puppy class my friend was told to reward her every time she stopped pulling on the lead. This tactic soon started to pay off and Darcey did very well when she took part in a canine version of musical chairs. I resolved to try the same approach the next time I walked her. The next time turned out to be this morning and I actually managed to make it to the park without Darcey trying to pull me off of my feet. Progress!
The class also demonstrated how important it is to socialise young dogs. They aren’t born ready to integrate into human family life or canine society. If puppies are not taught right from wrong at a very early age they can turn into problem dogs. A short training course could save any dog owner from a world of trouble. Even my little tsunami of a friend is becoming more controllable by the day.
I am looking forward to getting my own puppy and when I do, I will definitely be going to puppy classes. I will need a new bag for all those treats though!
Puppy Training: Handy Products for Training Your Pup
Whether you’re new to owning a dog, or just find yourself with a new pup on your hands, there are a host of tools which can be useful in encouraging your pup to be well-behaved. However, there are so many, it can be overwhelming (as well as expensive!) knowing which to choose.
The essentials you’ll need:
There are plenty of useful resources and they come in different shapes and sizes. Some are pretty crucial on your journey to becoming a good trainer and having a well-behaved dog.
Clickers are great to help you train your pup. They are useful because they can be used to reward any positive behaviour you are training for. The purpose is that they make a distinct sound your pup can understand. The clicker should be used at the exact moment that your dog performs a desired behaviour. The sound of a click should always be followed by a reward. Handheld, on a wrist strap, on a leash, or even as an app on your smartphone, finding the right clicker is personal - but having a clicker is definitely on our ‘essential training’ list.
A Dog Lead is a crucial tool in your dog training arsenal – and will continue to be useful throughout your dog’s life! A training leash is usually four to six feet long and helps your pup learn to stay close and ‘heel’ during walks, allowing a little slack but not for them to gallop off. As your pup learns to ‘heel’, you can move towards the sorts of leads which suit you both better, whether short leashes or extendable leashes.
When it comes to the question, “carrot or stick?”, we call ‘carrot’ every time! Rewarding good behaviour is always more productive than punishing bad behaviour, so having a pocketful of snacks is a great way to encourage Fido to behave. Rewards keep your pup’s interest and motivation levels high. Treats the size of a blueberry are perfect; not too big, you don’t want Fido to get too tubby! Don’t forget that high praise can work just as well! You can view our range of treats
Collar & Harness
A Dog Collar and Harnesses are the final ‘essential items’ on our dog training equipment list. A collar is crucial for clipping your dog’s ID tag onto (in case he ever wanders off alone). A collar is also important for attaching your lead. A harness is a good option for most pups, as it is easier for you to guide your little furry friend’s movement without yanking on their neck.
Anxiety and sorrow when trying to settle is common in pups who are new to your family. Routine is important, but you can’t always stick to it. A portable mat, bed or cushion which you can take with you means they can always feel comfortable and safe. Make sure it’s a washable, foldable bed that can come with you wherever you go - in the car, on a train, or at a friend’s house.
Sometimes your pup needs to be contained, whether in one room (with a pet gate), for sleep (in a cage),or in a playpen. They can assist in behavioural management (limiting pup’s access to chewing the furniture, for example), can help in toilet training (by keeping them in certain rooms and spaces) and keeping them away from difficult or out-of-bounds areas of the house, such as going upstairs or getting excited by visitors in the hallway.
Puppy Training Schedule: How To Plan
Getting a new puppy is so exciting! All you will want to do is cuddle and play with him, every minute of the day. However, it’s important that you establish a routine with your pup and introduce obedience training as soon as you can. Training takes time and patience, so it’s beneficial to have an idea of what type of schedule you’ll be able to work to before you bring them home.
Prepare your home
You’ll be carrying out the majority of your puppy training in your home or garden, so make sure there is plenty of space for you both. Ensure that small parts or valuable items aren’t left in accessible places as your puppy will want to chew anything and everything. But do ensure puppy-specific items, like food and water bowls and their bed, are kept in places that they can easily find.
Do your research
As there are many ways to train dogs, it’s advisable to research the different options before your puppy comes home. Purchase a clicker and a plethora of treats and incorporate them into your training routine to see which one your pup responds to the best. It’s also a good idea to get them plenty of toys, not only to keep them stimulated but because these will also come in handy when teaching the ‘drop it’ command.
Prepare your schedule
Puppy training is a constant process so be sure you are able to adapt it into your lifestyle. Command training takes practice and persistence, as some puppies don’t take to it right away. Before your dog comes home, it might be helpful to create a list of core commands that you want your puppy to learn. This will help you structure a schedule and it will be fun for you to tick off each command as they learn them. Set aside some time each day that you can dedicate to training. This should be a time where distractions are minimal - ideally, a little while after your pup has eaten or when the house is quiet. Be sure to establish mealtimes and bedtimes, too. Bedtimes are especially important if you are crate training.
Walks and play time
Training takes a lot of concentration and can be frustrating at times for both you and your puppy, so it’s important to factor regular breaks into your routine. Make time for playing and cuddles as well as regular walks to keep them fit and healthy. This is also a great opportunity to introduce your pup to other dogs and (when your training routine is firmly in place) try out some of the commands he or she has learned!
If you feel like you need some extra support with your training, you can check out your area’s local obedience classes. Qualified trainers offer a variety of classes and courses that can help you with the training process. They’ll be able to answer any of your questions and give you expert hints, tips and advice.
A Guide To Toilet Training Your Puppy
This is the task that lots of people fear when they bring a new puppy home. In most cases, toilet training is a straightforward process that your puppy will adapt to. The first thing you need to do is get your puppy into a routine and always let them out at the same times. When they wake up after they have eaten or had a drink before they go to bed and whenever you arrive home are the most important times. These are the times when your puppy will most likely need to go. Young puppies will also struggle to make it through the night (eight or nine hours is a long time for them) so bear this in mind.
Get into a habit of letting them out on a regular basis, taking them to a specific spot and praising them when they go. Pick a word that means they should go to the toilet such as ‘go busy’ or ‘toilet’. When you take them out to the toilet keep saying this word so that they associate it with relieving themselves. Make sure you reward them with verbal praise or a treat when they eventually go to the toilet.
Remember puppy training does take time, and there will be a few setbacks on the way. If your dog does go inside (unless you actually catch them in the act) do not reprimand them. They might not know what they have done wrong and shouting at them might only make them anxious about going to the toilet. Instead, when you see they have had an accident take them outside and give them the opportunity to relieve themselves in the correct place. The key is to praise them when they do go in the right place and eventually they will get the message.
Here are some tips to help you toilet train your new puppy or even an older dog:
- Dogs are naturally clean animals and do not like to soil in their nesting area. What you need to do is teach them that your whole house is their nest and they should not go to the toilet there.
- Take your dog where you want them to go the toilet on a regular basis. Bring them to the same spot every time if there is a specific place you need them to go. While your dog is toilet training you can use training pads to help if needed.
- Reward them when they go to the toilet in the correct place. This can be with verbal praise or a treat, and sometimes even both. When your dog goes to the toilet outside don’t hold back your excitement and give them plenty of verbal praise.
- If your dog does have an accident (they will definitely have a few accidents, so be patient and give them a chance) clean it up as soon as possible and do your best to get rid of the smell. Avoid using ammonia based cleaning products that smell similar to urine as this will only encourage them to go more.
- Don’t expect a puppy to tell you when then need to go to the toilet. This is something that can be developed over time as they get older.
- Don’t tell them off if they go in the wrong place. Simply take them outside right away and give them the opportunity to go to the toilet. Shouting at them will only stress them out more, it won’t stop them from going again in future. It will make them scared to go to the toilet in front of you, which is the opposite of what you want. Sometimes we wrongly blame our dogs when it may have been our fault. Think, could I have taken them out more, did I walk them for long enough?
- Remember not to let your dog out on their own while you are house training. Many owners make the mistake of letting their dog out to go to the toilet unsupervised and assuming they went. Owners then don’t realise that their dog didn’t go for a wee, they were just sniffing around in the garden. Go out with them so you know whether they went or not.
- Don’t give your dog too long to go to the toilet. If you spend 15 minutes walking around trying to get them to go, they will assume they have this long every time. Take them out for a few minutes at a time so that they learn this is the amount of time they have to do their business.
- Don’t let your dog out too often as this will only reduce their ability to wait to go to the toilet. Letting them out ten times a day will teach them that this is the amount of chances they have to go to the toilet. However, very young puppies have extremely weak bladders to begin with so when they are very little you will need to let them out more often. They might feel the need to urinate every few hours or so. It’s unrealistic to expect your puppy to make it through the night without needing the toilet when they are very young.
- Confine them to a specific area to begin with. Crate training can work quite well when you are trying to house train your dog. It’s their safe place where they will be reluctant to go to the toilet. Do not use it as a form of punishment. Once they start to learn that they need to go to the toilet outside you can gradually give them more freedom to roam around your house.
- Some dogs take longer than others to master toilet training. Many will take just a few months, some might even learn in a few weeks and other can take closer to six months to be reliable.
- Make sure they get enough exercise and plenty of walks where they have the opportunity to go to the toilet. Don’t leave them on their own for so long that they are forced to urinate or defecate inside. Avoid going out for too long when you are toilet training your dog.
- Take them to go to the toilet regularly but especially after meals, when you get home and after sleeping. Eating stimulates their digestive system, so make sure you give them the opportunity to relieve themselves after eating and drinking.
- Choose a word to mark going to the toilet such as ‘toilet’ or ‘go busy’. When you take them out to go to the toilet start repeating this word, especially when they start sniffing around. As soon as they go give them plenty of praise. Eventually they will begin to association that word with going to the toilet and will ideally go on command.
- Keep a strict routine so your puppy or dog can settle in and start to recognise the times they will be let out to relieve themselves.
- Don’t take away your dog’s water to prevent them from going to the toilet. It’s important they stay hydrated at all times. Puppies especially can dehydrate extremely quickly.
Some dogs that have been completely house trained and reliable for years can suddenly have issues with messing in the home. This can happen for a number of reasons:
- Old age
- Bladder/health problems
- Changes in diet
- Extreme weather changes
- Change of environment
- Behavioural issues
If you are having ongoing housetraining issues speak to a dog trainer or your local veterinarian.
Dog Agility Training: A Beginner’s Guide
Looking for a fun way for you and your dog to be more active together? Well then, agility training might just be the answer! Agility is a great sport that has a huge following for a reason, and can be a wonderful bonding experience as well as way for your furry friend to keep fit.
What is Agility Training?
Agility is when dogs complete a course of 12-18 obstacles in a specific order as fast as possible. This includes dashing through tunnels, jumping hurdles, performing tricks, and more. Courses are complex enough that dogs cannot complete them with guidance from their handler, meaning the owner’s handling techniques are just as important as the dog’s obedience skills - it really is a team effort!
Based on horse jumping competitions, training is designed to show off a dogs’ natural speed. The sport grew in popularity after it became a half-time show at Crufts in the late 70s, and the idea was meant to be simple enough that any dog or owner with an interest could take part.
Still, some breeds of dog are better built for agility training, such as Shetland Sheepdogs, Jack Russells, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis. This is because dogs with a medium build tend to perform especially well, as do animals from a working background or who are naturally full of energy.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean other dogs can’t join the fun. Personality is a very important factor when it comes to triumphing at agility training. If your pet wants to please you, then they’ll do their best to succeed!
Agility requires quite a lot of equipment. You can buy agility equipment to use at home if you have space. However, a lot of people go to an agility club where there is a big course laid out. An agility course is normally made up of between 17 and 20 pieces of equipment. Including, jumps, tunnels, weaves, a frame, dog walk, see-saw, tire, wall, long jump and spread jump. Contact equipment (a frame, dog walk, and see-saw) have a section at the bottom of the equipment that the dog must touch before they jump off. If a dog fails to touch the contact they are given 5 faults. Weaves are a set or six or twelve poles that the dogs must weave in and out of. They must always enter on the right-hand side of the first pole.
Agility competitions and scoring
At competitions, handlers are often given a course map in advance so they know exactly how the course should be completed. Each course can be very different, so handlers are allowed to walk through the course beforehand. The course has to be completed both quickly and accurately. At the start, the dog waits at a starting line until the handler instructs them to begin the course. Handlers run with the dog, directing them where to go. This is usually done using hand signals, body language and also verbal commands. The scoring for agility is based on the speed in which the course is completed (whether the dog manages it within the standard course time) and also how many faults the dog receives. The aim is to complete the course without faults. Faults can be given for knocking a pole, missing a contact, coming out of the weaves, or going past a jump. If they do not complete the course in the correct order they get eliminated. That includes going over an obstacle in the wrong direction.
Agility clubs and organisations in the UK
The two main organisations in the UK are the Kennel Club and UK Agility. The Kennel Club starts at Grade 1 and goes up to Grade 7. UK Agility goes from Beginners to Novice to Senior then up to Champ level. There are lots of different agility clubs across the country you can join.
Dogs that struggle with agility
Agility is not ideal for all dogs. Some dogs simply aren’t interested, and others can’t take part due to their physical build or health issues. For example, Great Danes are very large and struggle with the athleticism needed for agility. Brachycephalic (dogs with flat faces) breeds also struggle because they often have difficulty breathing, and agility can prove too strenuous. Dogs that are seriously overweight, very elderly and have severe health issues also shouldn’t take part in agility unless a vet has given the all clear. The best thing to do if you are unsure whether your dog would be suitable for agility is to call up an agility club and speak to an expert. You can also go for a trial class to see how your dog gets along and to determine whether they like it.
Dog Agility Training - Beginner’s Guide
Looking for a fun way for you and your dog to be more active together? Well then, agility training might just be the answer! Agility is a great sport that has a huge following for a reason, and can be a wonderful bonding experience as well as way for your furry friend to keep fit.
What are the Benefits?
Agility is a brilliant activity to get your dog involved in. It’s great for high energy dogs that have a lot of energy to burn. Agility provides a fun activity for your dog, and it’s beneficial for owners too. It involves training your dog to navigate through various obstacles around a course. If you are thinking of trying agility then read on to discover the numerous benefits of taking your dog to agility classes. Agility training is an excellent way to bring you and your dog closer. You might already have a good relationship with your pet, but agility training can help make your connection even stronger. As the courses are too complicated for a dog to complete on their own, a common language needs to develop between a dog and its owner that relies solely on movement and vocal ques. Not to mention you’ll have to work together to develop strategies that play to your furry friend’s strengths and hide their weaknesses.
Does your dog have too much energy? Agility training will help to tire both their body and mind. It’s for this reason that agility training can also help with behavioural problems, as the main cause for said issues is usually boredom. If you give their brain as work out as well as their body, they’ll be a lot more chilled, and your furniture will be safer from doggy-related damage too. It’ll also test how reliable your pet is once they’re off the and teaches your dog to respect you. After all, if they enjoy doing what you tell them at the agility track, they’ll be more likely to listen to you at home too.
Besides firming up the relationship between you and Fido, there are other benefits to agility training. Does your dog have too much energy? Agility training will help to tire both their body and mind. It’s for this reason that agility training can also help with behavioural problems, as the main cause for said issues is usually boredom. If you give their brain as work out as well as their body, they’ll be a lot more chilled, and your furniture will be safer from doggy-related damage too. It’ll also test how reliable your pet is once they’re off the and teaches your dog to respect you. After all, if they enjoy doing what you tell them at the agility track, they’ll be more likely to listen to you at home too. And if you’re planning on bringing more furbabies into your home, you’ll already be a better dog trainer.
Finally, it’s just a really cool hobby you can rattle off at dinner parties or for when you need to make small talk. We bet most people would rather spend time watching videos of your dog mastering an agility track than talking about the weather.
Agility provides excellent exercise for your dog. They will get a good workout from an agility session. It will help to keep them fit, athletic and healthy. Agility is good for dogs who need to lose a few pounds or any dog that could benefit from a bit more exercise.
Dogs really have to use their minds when taking part in agility. They have to figure out how to get through certain obstacles such as running through a tunnel, leaping over a jump and weaving in and out of poles. Agility is particularly good for dogs that need a high amount of mental stimulation to keep them content and happy.
Agility is great fun for you and your dog. You will love seeing your dog enjoying themselves so much and seeing the benefits they get from agility.
Your dog will get to socialise with lots of other dogs while they take part in agility. They will also get used to being around lots of people in a social situation.
Agility helps to work on your dog’s obedience. They need to be calm and under control and follow your lead if they are to successfully complete the course. It’s a beneficial training activity that will help with overall training.
Increase Your Bond
Agility is a wonderful way of increasing the bond between you and your dog. You have to work together as a team and this means you will feel closer to your dog and very proud of them when they perform well.
Mimic Natural Behaviour
Dogs in the wild naturally have to overcome certain obstacles, jump over things and find ways to get where they need to be. Agility encourages dogs to display natural behaviours that are similar to what they would need to do in the wild.
The Complete Guide To Recall Training Your Dog
For some dogs and their owners, recall can be a big challenge. It’s probably one of the hardest commands to teach, especially with dogs that like to chase or get easily distracted. Recall training doesn’t work overnight, it takes a lot of patience and it’s something you have to work on consistently.
Many dogs will pick up good recall straight away and be completely reliable whereas others will ignore their owners, run after anything and take a very long time before they come back. From your dog’s point of view, there are far more interesting things going on when they are off the lead, so returning to their owner isn’t always in their best interests. However, in time you get can get them to see the benefits of coming back to you (love, attention, treats, toys).
For some owners, recall can be a very frustrating issue. When a dog is out on a walk and engaged in their environment they can be easily distracted. The smells and other things going on are far more interesting than the owner. Dogs need to find you more interesting than what they are doing. One of the best ways to improve recall is to play games with your dog. You can play lots of simple games at home and while you are in a secure area to help reinforce recall. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
The do’s of recall training
Work on obedience training
There isn’t much point starting recall training until your dog has basic obedience. Work on their obedience training first and get them to master commands such as sit, lay down and stay. Once they are able to do basic obedience they should be ready to start their recall training. However, continuous obedience training is always helpful and will improve your bond, making them more likely to come back to you.
Use high-value rewards
Try and figure out what type of rewards your dog adores. Some dogs are very food orientated, whereas others will do absolutely anything to be able to play with their favourite toy. If your dog is motivated by food, try and find out which treats and foods they love the most and use them specifically for recall.
You need to make yourself appealing and encourage your dog to come back to you. They won’t come back to you if you are boring or unenthusiastic. Be enthusiastic when you give them the recall command but most importantly when they come back to you. Make a huge fuss and reward your dog as soon as they come back to you.
Move around so they can see you
Dogs can’t see static things very well at long distances. If your dog is quite far away and they are looking straight at you but not returning, they may not be able to see you. Wave your arms about or move and they will be more likely to see you and come back.
Practice on a long lead or in an enclosed area
When you are working on recall it’s best to do it in an enclosed area where you know your dog can’t escape, or on the long lead. Start on the long lead by letting your dog move short distances away from you, give them the ‘come’ command and then reward them when they come to you. If they ignore you, gently pull at the long lead and bring them back to you. Keep practicing this until they consistently come back to you on command. Then you can try letting go of the long lead and giving them a bit more freedom. The next step is letting them off the lead in an enclosed area and working on their recall until you feel they are reliable.
Seek help from a behaviorist or attend training classes
If you are having a lot of trouble with recall, and your dog doesn’t seem to be improving then you might want to talk to a behaviourist. Taking them to training classes where you will get the opportunity to work on recall can also help.
Work on recall at home
Try doing recall training inside your house as much as you can. Getting your dog to come back to you at home is far easier because there are less distractions. Whenever you get the chance, try and do some additional recall training at home to reinforce what you are doing in the park or on the long lead.
Play games that will help recall
There are a few different games you can play that help with recall such as hide and seek, follow me and come and get the toy.
Stock up on helpful recall products
There are a few different products you can get that will help your recall training such as long leads (tracking lines) and whistles. Whistles are useful because they can be heard from long distances which means you don’t have to keep shouting. They also provide a very clear sound that your dog will instantly recognise.
The don'ts of recall training
Punish your dog when they eventually come back
They will think that coming back to you wasn’t what you wanted them to do and you might make them afraid of coming back to you. Try not to punish your dog when they don’t come back, simply reward them and make a big fuss when they do.
Risk letting them off the lead too soon
Don’t let your dog off the lead before they are ready because you are getting impatient and hope they will eventually come back. As frustrating as it is when your dog consistently fails to come on command, don’t give up and go with the trial and error method. You are putting yourself and your dog at risk if you cannot control them in a public place. They could get run over, cause an accident, injure themselves or cause an incident with another dog.
Judge other owners that are working on recall
Some dogs naturally pick up recall training far quicker and other dogs find it extremely difficult. As they are training their dog in a safe, enclosed environment and their dog is not a threat then you don’t need to worry about what they are doing.
Shout at your dog
Never shout and yell at your dog when they don’t come back and repeatedly shout ‘come’. The more you say it and they don’t come back the more they will realise they don’t really have to. Some dogs will also be reluctant to return to their owner at all if they are shouting at them in an intimidating way. Of course, if they have gone out of sight then you will need to shout so that they can hear you but just don’t do it with anger in your voice (even if you are really mad at them!)
Chase after your dog
Chasing your dog around a field will probably not make them come back. They will think it’s a game or maybe startled and run further away. Give them their recall command and if they don’t come back, slowly follow them to keep an eye on where they are.
Always put your dog on the lead when they come to you
Get your dog to come back to you a few times and each time give them a treat or reward instead of putting them on the lead. Then when you need to go home put them back on the lead. Otherwise, if you call them back once when you want to leave on every dog walk they will associate coming back with going on the lead and ending the fun.
Dog Recall Training: 8 Handy Tips
If you’ve got a dog who would rather ignore you and wander off than stay nearby, then recall training can be quite frustrating. Some dogs never leave their owner’s side, and will follow them wherever they go, but some pooches have other ideas. Plus, certain breeds struggle with recall more than most, either because they have a high prey drive (i.e. huskies), or can’t help but follow their nose (i.e. hounds). If your dog is struggling with recall, or you are teaching it for the first time, here are some super handy tips that you might not know about.
1. Tug toys can help
Does your dog love a good tug of war? If they aren’t responding that well to Dog Treats when doing recall training, try using their favourite toy, like a tug of warinstead. This can be their reward, when they come back to you they get to enjoy a brief game of tug of war.
2. Make yourself more interesting
Part of the reason dogs wander off is because being around their owner gets a bit boring, and there are far more interesting things to discover elsewhere. If you want your dog to come back to you, or learn that being around you is fun, try and do things to entertain them. Don’t just stand around texting on your phone while they run about. Try throwing a ball for them and playing a game of fetch, or play a follow the leader or game of hide and seek.
3. Try renting an enclosed field
Did you know the UK has plenty of private fields which can be rented out by dog owners who need an enclosed area? You just need to find one near you. They aren’t that expensive, and tend to be around £10 an hour to hire. This provides a safe place for you to practice your recall with Fido, and enable them to burn off some energy. which lists dog walking fields in the UK.
4. Having other dogs around helps
If you are letting your dog off the lead for the first time, it’s better to do it with other dogs around. Why? Because your dog is more likely to stick around and have fun with the pack. They will see that other dogs are staying near and will hopefully decide to do the same.
5. Don’t bark commands too many times
Don’t shout ‘come’ over and over again when your dog doesn’t come back, as the word will lose its meaning. You want your dog to learn that they should come back as soon as you say the word once, not after four or five times. If they don’t come back and are ignoring you, go and get them rather than yelling at them.
6. Enthusiasm is key
You need to teach your dog that coming back to you is the best thing ever, and that won't work if you don’t seem that bothered when they do. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself in front of fellow dog owners, if your dog comes back, give them loads of praise in a super enthusiastic tone.
7. Recall in and around the home
If you are really struggling with recall out and about where’s there’s loads of distractions, go back to basics. Try doing some recall in your house where your dog will be more responsive. Then once they master perfect recall at home, you can try them outside again (on a long lead to start with).
8. Fun recall games
If you want your dog to come back to you, it’s time to make recall more fun. Playing games can really help reinforce their recall, and strengthen your bond. Recall games include things like hide and seek, and throwing treats to either side of you and getting your dog to come back to you after they retrieve them.
Dog Recall Training: Games To Help Improve Recall
For some owners, recall can be a very frustrating issue. When a dog is out on a walk and engaged in their environment they can be easily distracted. The smells and other things going on are far more interesting than the owner. Dogs need to find you more interesting than what they are doing. One of the best ways to improve recall is to play games with your dog. You can play lots of simple games at home and while you are in a secure area to help reinforce recall. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Hide and seek game
You can play this game at home or out on walks once your dog gets better at it. Simply hide from your dog and then let them come and find you. When they find you reward them with verbal praise, or treats. You can start by hiding at home and then calling your dog and then when they get the idea try the game without calling them.
Come and get the toy game
If your dog loves to play with toys then you can use them as recall rewards. Ask your dog to come and when they do give them their toy and play with them. Tug of war can be great as your dog gets a thrilling game of tug of war as their reward for coming on demand.
Throw the game
Throw the treat is quite a good game to play if you don’t have much space. You can simply stand in your lounge and throw a treat, let your dog go and get it and then call them to come back to you. Then you throw another treat in the opposite direction. It gets your dog used to coming back to you on command. Once they get really good at it you can try it in a secure outdoor area where there are more distractions and see how they get on.
Responding to a whistle game
Some dogs respond really well to the sound of a whistle. If you are out on a walk and your dog wanders far away from you there’s a chance you might not be able to shout loud enough. Having a whistle means you don’t have to shout and your dog begins to understand that the whistle means they must return to you.
Run away game
This one involves a bit of exercise on your part. Run about 15 metres away from your dog, when you get to about 10 metres call them. They should then sprint towards you, when they get close to you throw a treat out and then run back in the other direction and do the same again. This reinforces your bond and helps to improve recall. It’s also lots of fun for your dog and will help them to burn some energy.
How to Find a Good Dog Training Class Near Me?
Choosing the right dog training class can be difficult. You want to make sure you find a high quality trainer who will treat your dog in the right way. There are lots of people out there who run dog classes that don’t always know what they are doing, and may not have enough experience or qualifications. It’s important to find a quality dog training school with classes that you feel comfortable attending. If you want your dog to get the most out of their training classes then here are some tips on how to find a good dog training class.
Find a dog training class or company that has positive reviews online or on social media. It doesn’t guarantee that they will be any good but it’s certainly a promising start.
Get personal recommendations from friends, people at your local dog park and your local vet. However, it’s important to still check a dog training class out properly even if someone you know has said it is good. You may have a completely different experience/opinion.
Qualifications and accreditations
Check to see whether the trainers taking the class are qualified to do the job. Ask what associations they belong to and whether they have any relevant qualifications. For example, (APDT) accredits dog trainers. There are numerous different accreditations for dog trainers but APDT is probably the most well known one.
Look for reward based training classes
Never take your dog to a class that focuses on punishment. Look for classes that use reward based training methods only.
Small class sizes
If a dog training class has too many students there can be chaos. It can also be very dangerous and your dog is unlikely to learn much. Look for classed with no more than eight dogs, but preferably less.
Ask to go and watch a class
Before you pay for a course make sure you have witnessed a class. You can learn a lot about the quality of a training class just by watching. Do the dogs seem relaxed, does the trainer have complete control and do they address each dog’s individual needs? Avoid any trainers who give advice on serious medical or behavioural issues in their classes.
Most high quality training classes will have a good reputation in your local area. You may have overheard people mentioning their classes or read some particularly positive reviews. Poor quality dog training classes will no doubt have a very bad reputation so you should know which ones to avoid.
Scent Training For Dogs
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, from birth they master how to identify smells and use their nose to guide them. You can teach your dog how you want them to use their sense of smell and a fun way of doing this is by playing games together. Dogs can detect scents in parts per trillion, their sense of smell is far more advanced than ours. 40% more of their brain is dedicated to smell than humans, that makes them pretty talented when it comes to sniffing things out.
Some dogs don’t use this sense of smell as much as they used to, but you can awaken it. Some types of dogs such as scent hounds have an ever better sense of smell than others, because they have been specifically bred for this purpose. It doesn’t matter what breed of dog you have you can still play fun scent games with them. Here are some scent games to try with your dog.
1. Find The Treat
Put your dog outside the room and hide some treats in different places in the room. Then let them in and watch as they sniff out each tasty treat.
2. Treats Under Cups
Get three plastic cups. Put a treat under one of them when your dog is not looking, then get them to find the one containing the treat by using their sense of smell. You can make this more complicated by adding more cups and using different treats.
3. Which Hand
Put a treat in one of your hands and get your dog to identify which hand has the treat inside it.
4. Find The Toy
Put your dog outside of the room and hide their favourite toy somewhere. Then let them back in and try and find it. Once they get the hang of this you can hide several toys and put them in places that are more difficult to find.
5. Find The Owner
Get someone to wait with your dog in a different room so they can’t see you. Then go and hide somewhere in the house and get them to come and find you. You can also play this game outdoors too if your dog has good recall and won’t run off.
6. Lights Out
This is similar to the hide the treat game but with a small difference, you turn all the lights out to make things even more difficult. Get your dog to try and search out treats in the dark.
7. Find Food In Boxes
Get some cardboard boxes and place them around your garden, you will need at least two or three. Put a treat in one of them and let your dog loose in the garden so that they can try and find the box with the treat.
Training Tips For Blind Dogs
Dogs can become blind for a number of reasons. They can injure their eye, develop severe cataracts, glaucoma, get an infection in their eye or simply have a hereditary condition. Some dogs are born blind, others go blind as they get older. It’s quite sad to witness if your own dog loses their sight, but most dogs cope remarkably well without their sight.
Their other senses such as hearing and smell become heightened and they find ways to get around in a world without sight. Eyesight is actually their third most important sense after sound and smell. They don’t really understand what is happening like we do and tend to simply live in the moment. If you are taking on a blind dog, or your dog is losing their sight then there are some things you can do to help them. You may have to make a few adjustments for them and take a different approach to their training. Here are some helpful tips for training blind dogs.
- Treat your dog the same after they go blind. Dogs pick up on your emotions and will sense if you are upset and stressed about the situation. Be strong for their sake, it will help them adjust better. Where possible, try and keep their daily routine the same. Some dogs can get a little depressed when they first go blind, but they soon adjust so try and act like nothing is wrong.
- Use your voice to let your dog know you are approaching, so they aren’t startled when you come up and touch them.
- You can attach little bells to the people in your home so your dog always knows where they are. You can also put bells on other pets that live in the home.
- Get them some toys with squeakers or that make a noise. You can also add a distinctive smell to their favourite toys so they can find them easily.
- Place plants near hard objects so your dog feels them first and learns to avoid them.
- Try not to pick your dog up and carry them to where they need to be. This will not help them learn to navigate around the house and it will also confuse them as to where they are.
- Place a mat under their food and water bowls so your dog can figure out where they are using touch. Drinking fountains are also brilliant for blind dogs because they can easily find them using the sound of the water.
- Socialisation is very important, keep taking your dog out and about and let them meet other well balanced dogs regularly (as long as they aren’t aggressive themselves).
- When you go out, leave a radio on as this can be soothing for blind dogs.
- If your dog is very anxious when they start to go blind try some to help reduce their stress.
- Talk to your dog regularly, the sound of your voice is calming and it helps them know where you are.
- Baby gates can be handy because they prevent your dog going into hazardous areas of the house that they will find difficult to navigate.
- Put padding on the corners of sharp furniture to protect your dog.
- Check your home for any potential hazards that could harm your blind dog. Move any hazardous objects that they could walk into and injure themselves on.
- Walk them around your home often so that they can get used to the layout and work out where things are. Try not to change this around too much as it could confuse them. If you must move things then make sure you show them where they are.
- You will need to teach your dog some commands to help them stay safe. Have some kind of stop command so that you can stop them before they bump into things or move when it is not safe. Other useful commands to teach them include ‘step up’ and ‘step down’. You can also teach your dog to go left and right, which will be extremely useful as you can help direct them.
- Take care around other dogs. Blind dogs are not able to read a dog’s body language to figure out whether or not they are safe to approach.
- Having another dog that your blind dog gets on with live with them can really help. Some dogs will act as guides for blind dogs and help steer them and nudge them away from obstacles. It’s an amazing thing to witness. Having another dog around that they are comfortable with will help them through the process of turning blind and make them feel more at ease. It also means they won’t ever be completely on their own.
- Put a wind chime near your front door so your dog can locate it easily.
- You might want to purchase a collar or bandana that states your dog is blind. That way people you meet while out and about will be aware of their condition.
- Let your dog smell people before they stroke them.
- Clickers can work particularly well as blind dogs respond to the sound.
- If your dog enjoyed playing fetch before they went blind then use scented tennis balls and toys to enable them to continue to play their favourite game.
When out on walks use a harness with a short so you can control where your dog goes more easily and they don’t trip over the lead.
How Should A Perfect Dog Behave?
How should a perfect dog behave? This is a very difficult question, because dogs can be so different and they are used for lots of different purposes. For example, the definition of the perfect lap dog might be very different to the definition of a perfect guard dog. However, there are some things that all dogs should learn in order to be able to behave in an acceptable manner.
All dogs should learn the basic commands such as sit, down, stay and come. These are things that are not just useful, but important for safety reasons. It’s nearly impossible to find a ‘perfect dog’. Even the best behaved dogs have their flaws. If you could imagine a perfect dog, what sort of things would they do? In a perfect world, we think all (pet) dogs would do the following things:
- Sit and stay.
- Come when called, not when they want to.
- Walk nicely on the lead.
- Be sociable and friendly with people, other dogs and animals.
- Know all the basic commands, and a few impressive tricks.
- Be perfectly fine and at ease when left alone.
- Only bark when necessary.
- Only chew toys and dog chews, not carpets and sofas.
- Be toilet trained and have no accidents.
- Alert their owners to danger.
- Wait patiently for dinner.
- Not steal food, even when owner is out of the room.
- Know how to approach other dogs nicely.
- Provide owner with unconditional love.