What Makes Great Training?

Training starts and ends with you from the day your new dog arrives. It doesn’t matter whether you have a puppy or an older dog, training lasts for the duration of their life time. I’m always training with Jake and Truly, it’s how I build up trust and maintain my relationship with them. I reward them for walking nicely on the lead, waiting patiently by the door to have their feet wiped with a towel when we get home, sitting before I put down their food bowls, or settling in their beds when I leave or arrive home.

Training classes

If you’re looking for training classes, as an IMDT Trainer myself I will always recommend looking for a qualified trainer in your area via the IMDT website.  Once we’re released from lockdown and training classes begin again, here are suggestions of things you might like to consider.

There are a variety of types of classes you can attend to support your dog’s training. Look for a trainer who can support you in motivating and rewarding your dog, at the right time, and for the right behaviours. This will help you to build a positive and strong relationship with your dog, ensuring that your dog wants to watch and listen to you, and most importantly sees you a person that adds value to their lives.

If you’re looking to attend a training class with other people and their dogs (a great opportunity for your dog to meet other dogs in a controlled way), I suggest you contact the trainer and arrange to go and watch the class first. A trainer will want to meet you and your dog before you start their class anyway, so this may be a good time to arrange this. Once, of course, you’re happy it’s a class that suits you and your dog.

Personal recommendation is a good way to find a trainer, as not all of us advertise. Look for a reward-based approach to the training. Avoid a class that uses any kind of punishment, such as water pistols, rattle cans with stones, or anything similarly punitive. Also steer clear of any kind of training based on ‘dominating’ dogs.

Suggested questions ask the trainer

  • How are you qualified to train?
  • Are you insured?
  • Is there a dog first aider present?
  • How are the classes formatted, and what will you learn with your dog?
  • How much do classes cost?
  • How long do classes last?
  • What is the maximum class size?

A class should be relaxed, with enough space for people and their dogs to work separately. You should be able to see and hear the trainer clearly, and (believe it or not) it should be ‘relatively’ quiet. If dogs are barking loudly it can mean they’re not happy, or they’re over stimulated. Neither is what we’re looking for in a class environment. Firstly, the dog will be distracted and won’t be learning. Secondly, it won’t be enjoyable and may put your dog (and you) off from attending the next class.

The people in the class should also look engaged and interested, with opportunity to practice what the trainer has asked them to do with their dog. A trainer should have time and space to walk around the class, to engage with each person and their dog giving them tips and corrections if necessary.

Equipment

Each dog should be vaccinated (or have proof of immunity), have a lead and a collar with ID, and the person should be carrying lots of treats (for their dog!). You should have poo bags too. The trainer may have equipment for exercises or to help demonstrate techniques, usually cones, mats, toys, long lines etc. They will let you know in advance if there’s anything else you need to bring.

If you have any questions or would like further information on the training schools near you, please feel free to send me a message.

Until next time

Jen

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