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.
Remember that training is an ongoing process. You will never be completely finished. It is important to keep working on obedience training throughout the life of your dog. People who learn a language at a young age but stop speaking that language may forget much of it as they grow older. The same goes for your dog: use it or lose it. Running through even the most basic tricks and commands will help them stay fresh in your dog's mind. Plus, it's a great way to spend time with your dog.
Positive reinforcement is the key to success. A common mistake is to punish your dog during training or become angry. This will only cause confusion. You can try to hold your dog's attention with treats and enthusiasm, but know that it is time to end a session when your dog becomes bored or tired. Try to end sessions on a positive note. Eventually, successful training will be achieved with patience and consistency.
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.
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When it comes to house training, you don’t have to be a scientist to work out what goes in must come out. If you feed your puppy a quality, balanced dog food and stick to regular meal times (3 times a day for young puppies, dropping down to twice a day for older dogs), then your puppy is more likely to have regular toileting habits – which means you’ll have more of an idea of what time to take him out. If, on the other hand, you offer your puppy constant treats and tidbits and feed him at different times of the day, you can expect your puppy to need to toilet at any time of day too.
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.
When you arrive to class we ask that you keep your distance from other owners and dogs, we will guide you over to your personal ‘pod’ which will be a small area reserved for you and your dog. This will give your dogs the best chance to feel comfortable and calm at the start of class. Once everyone has settled in their own areas your coach will start the class, there will be some time set aside for practical training and discussing key messages. In puppy classes there will also be some time scheduled for socialising with other class members.