Free Dog Training Articles – read online, or download a PDF or Word Doc to print
Dogs and Children – tips for staying safe around dogs.
Fireworks And Animals – Suggestions for animals especially dogs with a fear of Fireworks.
Dogs & Holidays – What to do with your dog while you are on holiday?
Hunt, Point & Retrieve Breeds As Pets – article discussing what you can do with your HPR breed, from field work to agility, obedience and showing. Especially useful for owners of over-excited HPRs everywhere!
Dog Walking Information – article explaining what to do if an unruly dog approaches, or if your dog starts to become unresponsive on walks.
Dog Showing Information – article explaining the different sorts of dog shows, how to apply and what to expect.
New Arrival Checklist – outlines all the items you need to make your new arrival feel at home.
Published Articles – Suffolk Magazine
So you would like to own a dog? – People buy or re-home dogs and puppies for all sorts of reasons, companionship, exercise, for work or simply because they were brought up with dogs as a child and want to embark on the ‘dog ownership’ journey themselves.
Having fun with your dog – Owning a dog is all about having fun with a capital “F” in my humble opinion.
Do dogs really understand what we say to them? – Do they know what we’re saying?
Help and Advice for new dog owners
First & foremost:
Before you collect your new puppy or dog, go and look at different dog training clubs and schools to see which one suits you and your dog best and book your place. Leaving it until you have your new puppy or dog may lead to being placed on a waiting list, and missing the important early training.
It is advisable to avoid training in the following circumstances:
- If you or your dog is unwell.
- If you are in a bad mood.
- If the weather is too hot.
- After feeding the dog.
- If you are becoming frustrated with the results of your training session.
- If you are in a hurry because of another appointment.
Training activities to try with your dog
Once you have your puppy and it has at least basic obedience you may like to have a go at one of the activities listed below.
Not all the activities listed will be suitable for all owners nor all types or breeds of dog and some of the activities will need your dog to be at least a year old, whilst some dogs will need nurturing for the activity before this age at specific training establishments.
- Competition obedience.
- Beginners/fun dog agility.
- Working trials.
- Search and rescue.
- Field trials.
- Working tests.
- Heelwork to music.
- Breed dog shows.
- Companion dog shows.
- Fly- ball.
- P.A.T. dogs (Pets as Therapy).
– If your dog is not performing a particular exercise as well as usual then stop and ask the dog to do an exercise you know he can do so you end the training on a positive note.
– Remember, dogs are not robots. Please allow your dog to have rest days where the most you do with them is have a game with their special toy and lots of fun.
– Try ‘silent’ walk times, whereby you only talk to your dog if you need to.
– For example very often I will walk my dogs and when they are running free and they turn to look round at me, I use my body language to invite them to come to me or to sit at a distance.
– Remember that your dog needs to be taught to do or not to do a particular exercise. For example not to chase, to come back when called, to fetch, to walk nicely on it’s leash.
– When your dog appears not to be able to do a particular exercise, ask yourself whether or not you have been clear with your command or whether he had learnt the exercise fully to begin with.
– Try training at different locations with different distractions.
– Take your dog to town or to a agricultural show/country fair to get him used to crowds and noises. Remember to keep your dog on a lead at all times and pick up your dog’s poo and dispose of properly.
– When looking for a training club or school, be sure to ask if you may go and watch first before paying out any money. This way you can descide whether training, venue and instructor is for you.
– Invest in a good dog book which encourages positive reinforcement training. It is down to personal preference as to which book you buy.
– Always praise and reward good behaviour and verbally correct the behaviour you do not want.
– Timing and consistency are very important in training so if you do not wish your dog to climb up onto the furniture then teach it not to, but try not to change your mind two days later by letting the dog get away with it. The poor dog will be totally confused.
– It is important that all members of the family sing from the same song sheet. So if your command to ‘sit’ is ‘sit’, be sure you’re not changing it to ‘sit down’!
– Teach your puppy its name. This may sound simple , but you would be surprised how many people give a name to their puppy such as ‘pippa’ then just as the dog has learnt it(and sometimes before the dog has learnt it)they start calling the dog by ‘pip’. Is it any wonder dogs fail to return to their owners when they are not sure who they are !!!
– Regardless of breed or size of dog, all dogs should be socialised and trained. Even the smallest breed can turn into an aggressive dominant dog or simply be an ill mannered one, just as much as a large breed. Besides which, its good for all dogs to be mentally stimulated to a lesser or greater degree even if its just to teach tricks or do basic obedience . There are several books on the market on how to teach your dog tricks and there are also some on ‘games to play with your dog’.
– Teach the recall/come at meal times and try to use a whistle as well (three toots with the name of the dog and the command ‘come’ is a great way to begin), so should your dog range too far for you to call, the whistle will generally carry across the distance. However, do try not to let your dog range too far.
– Teach the command ‘stop’. It’s a great command for stopping dogs playing. Play between dogs(ruff and tumble)should be supervised and stopped after 15 seconds, before it gets out of hand. Its fair to say, there is a fine line between playful behaviour and aggressive behaviour and if you are unable to stop your dog from playing, you may find it hard to stop a possible fight taking place.
– Other commands which maybe taught are sit, down, come, stand, take it, leave it, look/watch me.
– Keep training sessions fun and short, no more than two 5 minute session for puppies every two to three days. Some need only one 5 minute session a day. If using the ‘play training’ method then 15 minutes at a time is not an issue for a six month old puppy. But remember all puppies develop at different rates.
– Always end a training session on a positive note.
– Traveling suggestions: When you take your dog out in the car please remember to take water and keep a dog first aid kit in your vehicle in case needed. I would also suggest that you invest in attending an animal aiders course (first aid course for cat and dog owners).
– Introducing your new arrival to existing pets; take your time if needed to make introductions. Remain calm, pulse rate low and remember to praise the good behaviour and verbally correct the unwanted behaviour . Be patient and try not to rush things as there is no rush. We took ten weeks to integrate our kittens into our household with our dogs and the patience paid off.
Please note: I do not profess to have all the answers nor all the knowledge with regards to training dogs. All dogs are different and all handlers are different, however, in my daily dealings with our canine friends, I do humbly try to learn more about them and it is so obvious that there is still so much to understand.
Unfortunately, I am unable to answer any questions regarding problems with your dog via email or telephone and would therefore suggest you get in touch with your local dog training instructor or canine behaviourist.
Always try to be a responsible dog owner and respect other peoples property, their dogs space when out on a walk, the countryside with its wildlife and of course farmers & gamekeepers and their land, livestock and game. The ‘right to roam act’ does not mean you can walk your dog anywhere and every where and allow it to free run all over the place.
Enjoy your dog, have fun training and remember your dog looks to you for everything – food, water, love and health care and much more. Owning a dog can be very expensive, so think long and hard before you go out and buy or rehome a dog. If you are after a particular breed of dog, then read up on the breed and talk to other people before you purchase it.
If you are thinking about starting a family, have a baby or young children, ask yourself if you will be able to cope with a puppy or a young dog. Many dogs are rehomed because the parents find they can no longer cope with the dog and the children as well. This is very distressing for the dog especially if they have to spend a length of time in a rehoming centre before finding a new home. So think long and hard before you put your new member of the family through this.