Much of the training you do at home will occur during every day contact with your puppy/dog. Much of the training you do at home will occur during every day contact with your puppy/dog. For example, when/if your puppy/dog jumps up, put your hands on opposite shoulders, lose eye contact, stop talking with your dog and reward him/her with attention only when all four of his/her feet are on the floor. Be conscious of all your interactions with your puppy/dog. Make an effort to reward behaviour you like and avoid rewarding behaviour you do not like.

Additionally, devoting a few minutes a day to a training session is invaluable. Many of the techniques taught in puppy and dog training classes require you to develop new skills, such as timing, reading your puppy/dog and simultaneously juggling treats and a lead. The ultimate target, besides a better-behaved puppy/dog, is for you and your puppy/dog to learn to communicate effectively. Training sessions allow you and your puppy/dog to focus exclusively on each other. Develop a routine of at least one short training session per day.

The treat is only the lure or the incentive, not the reward. The reward is you, the words you use, such as, “good boy/girl” and gentle contact stroking under the chin or on the chest, maintaining eye contact. Say your praise words quietly, but clearly, so that your puppy/dog listens to you, but mean it, convey to your puppy/dog that you really appreciate what it has done for you. This way your puppy/dog will react quickly because it wants to earn your praise.

Rules for training at home:

  • One trainer and one puppy/dog at a time. Children should be supervised to ensure that they fully understand what is required, what is being attempted and the techniques needed for success.
  • Be prepared. Have your treats, such as soft stinky treats ready and decide what you are going to work on before you begin.
  • Set your puppy/dog up to win. Progress comes from building on success.
  • If your puppy/dog appears not to understand what is expected or what you are trying to achieve,” change something you are doing.
  • Keep it short, keep it happy and always end on a successful and positive note. A session that ends with both of you happy is a successful session.

The Training session.

Find a place to train where you and your puppy/dog can be alone. Spectators, such as other members of the family are only allowed if they promise to sit down and be quiet. Other puppies/dogs or pets in your home should be kept outside the training area.

Get your treats ready. Positive reinforcement methods require positive reinforcements. Treats should be small, soft and something your dog is willing to work for. You can put treats in a bowl on a table; put them in your pocket or in a waist bag.

Pick a few obedience positions to work on before you begin.  Help your puppy/dog choose the position you want, by luring or by limiting his/her choices, and reward him/her when he/she gets it right. He/she cannot succeed if you are not clear in your own mind on what you want. For your next training session, pick different obedience exercises to work on, keep changing the routine. This keeps it interesting for both you and your puppy/dog. Avoid making training sessions into repetitive exercise drills.

Set your dog up to win.  In the early stages of training treat frequently to keep your puppy/dog interested in the game, the learning comes when he/she is getting it right. If you do not get an opportunity to reward and treat within 30 seconds or a minute, change the obedience exercise. Then assess what is wrong (see below) and try to fix it.  Repeated failures, such as when your puppy/dog is not responding to your first cue, may establish a pattern in the pup’/dog’s mind of behaviour you do not want.

Keep it short, keep it happy and always end on a high note. A good training session has a beginning, middle and an end.

Begin with a few exercises your puppy/dog already knows, so you can reward and give a treat straight away. Then spend a few minutes on a new exercise or improving an old one. End the session on a success; go back to an easy obedience position if you need to – then give a big reward and let your dog know the session is over. Following a training session with play, a meal or a walk is a positive way to end the session.

The whole session may only last less than 5 minutes – do not keep going so long that your puppy/dog looses interest in the training. A tiny amount of progress in any individual session is all you need. Add up all the tiny steps and you will soon see very big changes.

If you are getting frustrated, try again later continuing will do more harm than good. What is most important is that both you and your puppy/dog enjoy the process, so you are motivated to train again the next day.

Not going as well as you hoped?

Does your dog seem anxious, confused or disinterested?

  • If anxious, stop and try again another time or another day.
  • If you aren’t feeling motivated and positive, stop and come back to it another time.
  • The same applies to if you aren’t making progress.
  • If confused, make sure you reward immediately you have the success you are attempting to achieve and that you reward for the same behaviour each time.
  • If disinterested, try better/different treats or in a place with fewer distractions. Have you recently fed your dog and therefore he/she is not hungry?
  • Another possibility is that you need to improve your timing. Once your dog understands this is a game worth winning, he/she will be interested.
  • If the above doesn’t resolve it, contact me, via 07753 609999.  I am happy to help and advise   Alternatively, if you’d prefer, please do email me