~ Training Tips ~


We don't believe that 'training' is something that you do TO your dog, rather something you do together. A two way system that relies on good communication, trust and understanding. If your dog cannot understand your communication how can he truly trust your judgment and when it comes to the crunch will he decide for himself or listen to you? When I first meet a dog I am asking myself is this dog more emotional brained (reactive, relying on innate instincts) or is he logical brained (a thinking being, having been taught to use his brain and take his owner's actions into the equation.) You are training your dog whether you mean to or not by every interaction. Try to be mindful of what effect your own behaviour has on your dog.

''Give your dog a job''

This is our foundation principle. If you don't give your dog something to focus on, he will find his own ideas to expend his energies on. Dogs are really not good at being left to make the household decisions! Their idea of a 'job' is to revert to natural or innate behaviours; guarding, hunting or herding.... 
By being the one that makes the rules and sticking to them, you will earn your dog's respect and loyalty and have a 'good' and well mannered friend.

Reward & Punishment

These two words have very simple meanings, but mostly ignored or not largely understood within the dog-owning community. 
By it's definition a Reward is a something that when applied at the correct time will increase a behaviour. A punishment will act the exact opposite way; decrease a behaviour - cause and effect. 
However just because you think of something as a reward (humans mostly think of food as rewarding for their dogs, the media's fault I think!) doesn't mean your dog considers it a reward/good/interesting. Again the opposite is true; we see owners shouting 'no,no,no,leave,leave,leave,Bob,Bob,Bob' and the dog doesn't even bother to move an ear in their direction. Human thinks shouting is a punishment - dog does not = no change in behaviour, and one frustrated owner.

''Training is just Structured Play" 

Dogs grow up with or without their owners involvement. If you don't know or are not sure what you want to achieve, then your dog will rely on instinct, i.e. innate/primitive/emotional type behaviours.
It is your responsibility to show him how to best reach his potential and not just leave it to luck - Dogs don't outgrow behaviours, the reverse is true, if your dog doesn't recall or turns it into a game as a pup, then this will become engrained and will be harder to undo as an adult.

''Good Dogs'': Nature v. Nurture (Emotional v. Logical)

2 out of 3 emails we receive will start with; "he's a good dog but... " This is likely to be connected to our own emotional feelings about the animals we own. They are 'good' because we love them, or we have a history with them.
In our opinion a Good Dog is made, not born. We have a responsibility through their environment & experiences; the way we bring them up. We can change their environment and they change their own behaviour to fit with the new rules and boundaries.

Differences in Breeds

Every breed has a genetic makeup that comes from thousands of years of selective breeding (even the new breeds!) Dogs are not just a different colour or coat type or size. They THINK differently too; some are more excited by movement, some by smell, some are naturally vocal, inclined to be extroverted, some like to be warm, some like cuddles some really don't! 
Also be aware that reading books by people who have owned/bred/shown a certain breed for 50 years doesn't necessarily make them an expert in behaviour science. The same applies for other owners who wish to give you advice. What works for their dog may well not work for yours, especially if it is a different breed. 

Interrupt, Refocus, Reward

Studies have shown that if we continue to tell off children over and over without positive stimulation, the child will grow worse in it's behaviour, doing 'bad' things to get attention. I find that an interesting concept to apply to dogs too. 

Let's bring our thought process round in the opposite direction now -  I know it is more work, but it is much more rewarding too. If an undesirable behaviour happens, let's Interrupt it, and Refocus all that energy onto something allowed (like a special tug toy) and Reward that new behaviour.
Let's try to catch good, calm behaviours, then we can make good, calm dogs.

You are what you Eat

This old saying has never been so true when applied to dog food. Read the ingredients label on your dog food. Try to avoid buying products that have 'cereals' and look out for wording like 'meat meal' or 'derivatives' because the questionable meat will have been labelled ''not fit for human consumption''.
Also be aware that treats designed for cleaning teeth are processed and can contain sugar.
I have been feeding a natural, unprocessed diet for over 15 years. If you are interested in diet matters and want to know more, please get in touch.

We all want; a happy companion who is healthy in mind and body