Dogs Trust recognise the need for affordable behavioural and training support in the community. We believe that Dog School will help raise awareness of dog behaviour, strengthen the bond between owners and their dogs and help to address and prevent the development of unwanted or problematic behaviours. We are hopeful that this service will improve the welfare of dogs in the UK, both by providing owners with support in the home environment and by reducing the number of dogs being relinquished for behavioural reasons.
With your dog sitting at your side, set off and give the command “heel” (so that your dog is aware you are about to move). If the dog gets ahead, stop and encourage it back to your side with a titbit. Repeat. To begin with, stop every three to four paces to praise your dog and give a titbit. Do not use your voice unless your dog is at your side. You can also practise this off-lead in a secure area – this makes you work really hard at keeping your dog with you, rather than relying on the lead.
Every dog needs to learn to walk on a leash. Besides the fact that most areas have leash laws, there will be times when keeping your dog on a leash is for his own safety. Learn how to introduce your dog or puppy to the leash, then teach him how to walk properly on the leash. A loose leash walk teaches your dog not to pull or lunge when on the leash, making the experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Effective dog training does not require many items, but there are a few basic supplies that will help make the process more convenient and effective. Choose a dog collar or harness that is suitable and comfortable for your dog. Then decide which dog leash is best for training. A retractable leash is not appropriate for dog training. You will also need dog training treats that your dog enjoys and are easy to eat quickly so the reward is more immediate. There are plenty of great treats available at pet stores or you can also use something you make at home, like small pieces of plain cooked chicken or turkey.
Head halters are an alternative to collars that works similarly to a horse halter. The halter fits over the dog's snout and behind its head (leading it to sometimes be mistaken for a muzzle). Halters reduce the dog's ability to successfully pull on the leash, but do not eliminate it. If the halter is used with a sharp jerk on the leash, neck injury to the dog may result, but used correctly head halters have not been shown to cause harm.
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Anybody who is involved in the care of your dog is encouraged to come along to class, including children. Please bear in mind that your coaches will be talking to the class on a group level to teach you valuable key messages about behaviour, so it is important that anybody attending is able to listen quietly (if young children are attending it could be a good idea to bring something to keep them occupied with at these times). Let your coach know if you have any special requirements or will have more than 3 people attending with your dog, so that they can prepare and make sure there is enough space. To make sure you can concentrate on training your puppy, we would ask that you leave any other pets (including other dogs) at home.
As part of your puppy’s training, then, you should do everything you can to ensure that your puppy can’t get into trouble in the first place. That way you can avoid giving your puppy lots of ‘negative’ attention which might inadvertently encourage his bad behaviour. For example, if you use a crate, or confine your puppy to one room of the house, he is far less likely to get into trouble chewing something he shouldn’t, or peeing somewhere he shouldn’t.
Dogs Trust Dog School’s experienced trainers aim to provide high quality, welfare friendly advice on dog training and behaviour during our fun, educational classes. We want to help dog owners to form a life-long bond with their dogs, have a good understanding of the behaviour of their dog and avoid the common pitfalls that can lead to problem behaviours.