Should my dog be allowed on the bed/furniture?

To be frank…that’s none of my business! It’s only my business when you bring your dog to me for antisocial and out of control behaviour. If your dog is a little darling of a cupcake and sleeps in your bed and cuddles with you on the sofa in their own blankie every night and you’re both perfectly happy with that – more power to you! As the old saying goes - If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! However, when you have a pushy, entitled, demanding, rude and bratty dog who won’t listen to a word you say, growls at you when you tell him to get off the sofa or out of the bed, snarls at your partner...
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Exercise // Building an Athlete

Let's talk about exercise, what's appropriate and what isn't. Is a tired dog a happy dog? Really? Everyone who bought a puppy from a good breeder should have had instructions on what the right amount of exercise is for that breed as the dog grows. I'm pretty sure they will all have warned against taking your 4 month old puppy on a 2 hour hike! Puppies need time for their bones to grow and develop. Their bones are soft when they're young and they also have have soft bits inside the ends of the bones called growth plates. Until these growth plates close (and the bigger the dog, the longer...
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Problem Behaviour Doesn’t Appear Overnight

So, let’s talk problem behaviour. We’ve seen a whole range of dog behaviour. Separation anxiety, jumping up, mouthing, barking, nipping and biting, chewing, running away, digging holes in the garden, whining and carrying on in the car, being dirty indoors the list goes on and on. The thing is, dogs with behaviour issues didn’t start out that way. These undesirable qualities have developed over time because they weren’t interrupted at the very outset. From small acorns, oak trees grow, right? Dogs who run to the door and bite people didn’t “just start” doing that. They have been permitted to ...
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What is Socialisation?

A lot of people have gone overboard with the concept of socialisation. And even more people have completely misunderstood what it really means! As dog trainers when we talk about socialisation we don't mean take your dog out and let him/her meet every dog you come across. Far from it, because that is a recipe for disaster. Socialisation quite simply means teaching them about the world and their place within it. This is true for a puppy, a young dog, or even an older or rescue dog without the requisite life skills. Socialisation means letting your dog see and become accustomed to t...
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Crate Training Puppies

Crate training your puppy is a GREAT thing to do ! It means they have a place of their own where they feel safe and secure (like a den). Let's look at some of the benefits of crate training: - You can keep your pup safe from getting into mischief or being exposed to something harmful in your absence - They will feel comfortable with their surroundings if they have to spend any time at the vets - They can travel calmly, safely and securely in the car - It REALLY speeds up toilet training - You can separate your pup and other dogs if you have a multi dog household So how do we go ab...
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What’s Leadership and why do we need it?

Leadership is recognising and honouring the fact that your dog is an animal with their own needs...not a human, not a baby, not a toy and not an outlet for your boundless love and attention. If you go down that road it's a fast track for uncomfortable, anxious, unhappy dogs and stressed owners who are scratching their heads wondering why their dog exhibits behaviour problems. You know the saying, "Man cannot live on love alone" ? Well neither can dogs! Just like we need to set boundaries and rules to raise polite, well-mannered and respectful children, we also need to share boundaries and ...
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Which Dog Food?

Which dog food.  You wouldn't think it but what to feed your dog is often one of the most emotive and contentious issues around, with people all over the place trying to tell you what to do. Rest easy, I'm not about to become one of them! It's hugely important to me that our clients don't feel judged, preached to or made to feel stupid for the choices they have made before arriving at our door, whether that's about food, training, lifestyle or anything else. It's also hugely important to me that we support people with any problems and provide information as freely as possible. ...
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Toilet Training

It is our experience that the fastest way to toilet train your puppy is to use a dog crate. Crate training works because dogs don’t like to soil their beds. The alternative for the puppy is therefore to hold itself even though it wants to go. The key here is to ensure that the crate you use has only enough space for the dog to turn around and lie down. NO BIGGER. If you have bought a bigger crate you will need to get a partition to reduce the accessible space for the puppy. If you give the dog more space it will sleep at one end and soil at the other, completely defeating the purpose. Do n...
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What To Do All Day With A Puppy

When people get a puppy they may have underestimated the amount of time and attention that they need to invest to ensure that their new family member grows into a well adjusted dog. A sample schedule for part of the day when you get your 8 week old puppy home may be: 7am Take puppy outside to toilet – immediately on waking, not after a shower or any other messing about. Wake – take the dog out. 7.10 Playtime for puppy in the kitchen 7.20 Breakfast 7.25 Return to crate - because you shouldn’t exercise a dog for at least an hour after it eats 7.40 Outside to toilet – 15 minutes after eat...
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Is a Rescue dog ever just YOUR dog?

This week it was our boy's "Adoption Day" Anniversary which got us thinking about the number of people we see who introduce their dogs as "This is Fido, my Rescue Dog". When I look at their dog Fido, I see his breed or cross breed, his gender and behaviour. I see nothing about where he came from or what events in his life brought him here. Why do people feel the need to tell me he came from Rescue? I don't have clients who tell me "This is Fido, My Expensive Pedigree dog from a Responsible Breeder". Here's the thing. None of it is relevant. It doesn't matter to your dog or your dog t...
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Robot Dogs

“I should probably take him for some training but I don’t want one of those robot dogs”. I’ve heard this a few times recently from people whose dogs are completely out of control. What is a robot dog? I’m not sure I even know!! I do know that I don’t want my dog to be an asshole in public and I don’t want my dogs to be near any dog that is!! So, what could a Robot Dog be? Are they dogs without personality? Dogs who are reluctant to exhibit natural behaviours? Dogs who are completely under control? Well, I know you can have control without compromising on the other two. In my opinion, a ...
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Teach, Teach, Teach!

Yeah, you’re a dog trainer. You teach dogs. We get it. But do YOU get it? Really? I’m feeling incredibly frustrated today with people I see walking down the street shouting HEEL! HEEL! HEEL! at their dog. It’s clear to me that in most cases the dog has absolutely zero clue where, what or who HEEL is but he’s feeling a bit anxious about you being cross and just wants this to stop. This is why I say Teach, Teach, Teach. I know you will all have heard this before but I really can’t say it enough. You need to help them to understand. Shape the behaviour, lure your dog with food or toys if ...
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Reactive Dogs, Their Owners and the Part we have to play

When you’re out and about and you encounter someone who is distressed and barely keeping their shit together because they’re in charge of a dog that has clearly lost the place – dragging their owner around screaming, barking, straining at the leash, up on their hind legs, foaming at the mouth with all their teeth out, looking for all the world like the rabid beasts from old Hollywood movies? How does that make you feel? Do you feel irritated or angry? Are you afraid? Do you empathise? Try to understand? Want to help make it better? As dog owners or even just people in the street, when we...
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Without Focus You Have Nothing

Could you teach someone a new dance when they’re sitting on the floor facing the opposite directions with their headphones in? Ever tried to have a rational discussion with a three year old in a tantrum? Do you think you could? Do you think a Greyhound sees anything other than the rabbit when it’s on the track? No. No. No. When we say without focus you have nothing. This is why. The reality is that if you have a reactive dog (and a lot of you do!) it’s like trying to say “hey sweetie, please don’t do that” to a child having a total meltdown in the middle of Tesco. You’ve all se...
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Motivation & Value

You’ll hear me talking a lot of about motivation and value. What is it? What does my dog perceive to have value? We use a lot of food and toys in our training progams. Is this motivation? For some dogs, yes. For others, not so much. So what do we do about that? If a dog must have a measure of motivation and obligation to perform reliably but it doesn’t care for food or a toy…now what? Many dogs come to us with no real appreciation of the need to work for anything in their world. It’s all on free vend to them. Available on tap anytime they want it. Don’t fancy what’s for breakfast? Oh we...
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Consequences and Choices

When do we add a consequence for non-compliance or bad behaviour? My dog is just being stubborn/naughty/disobedient! We believe really strongly in building a solid foundation of clearly understood obedience in all dogs. This is why our residential training programs all focus on the fundamentals of obedience on leash before we do anything else. All of this foundation work must be in place and the dog must KNOW the commands before you consider insisting on compliance or adding any consequences. Too many people add a consequence for an undesirable behaviour or non-compliance before the dog unde...
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