Training your dog
Beginners classes are for all dogs over 6 months old, rescued or rehomed dogs, and those who may have previously undertaken a Puppy Socialisation Course — no dog is ever too young or too old to learn!
We develop basic training but in greater depth, as you and your dog will be more confident as that wonderful bond between you grows.
“Attention” and “Close Heelwork” improves whilst continuing to socialise correctly. Sit-Stays and Down-Stays are developed, both on and off lead and Recall Off-Lead is improved. In addition to on-lead work and using various ways to overcome lead walking problems, we cover “Close” Heel Free (walking off lead); and show you how to negotiate hazards like crossing roads, passing through doorways and negotiating other obstacles.
We strongly recommend you consider using the tasty training treats we suggest at this stage as we cannot emphasis enough the importance and subsequent ease with which you will be able to retain your dog’s attention when using these!
Below is a list of training questions that are more commonly asked that we have answered. Perhaps some of them could help you? If your question isn't answered please email questions to: email@example.com.
Dog Training – some common Myths?
With the varying skills and educational levels in dog training these days we all risk confusing and diverse opinions when talking to trainers or visiting their websites. This also applies when listening to the opinions of family, friends and others and whilst the internet is a useful education tool it has helped develop many myths about dog training.
This is why Labrador Lifeline Trust recommends consulting APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) Members who have been fully trained and personally assessed for membership. They are only permitted to use proven kind, fair and force-free training methods for your dog.
It has been proven that much damage has been caused by the use of yesteryear's old fashioned harsh methods which have no place in today's world of dog training. It is for this reason that all our volunteer helpers carry copies of our personally prepared APDT Trainers contact lists.
Below are just some of the common myths you may have heard about:
Myth: My dog knows he did something wrong because he looks guilty.
Fact: Guilt is a human emotion so whether animals feel emotions in the same way is a subject to great debate among scientists!
A recent study of the 'guilty look', in America found that the look people claim to see in their animals is entirely attributable to whether or not that person expected to see that look, regardless of whether or not their dog was 'guilty'. When a dog looks 'guilty' it is because they are reacting to a change in our human body language that tells the dog that 'something is wrong' which leads to their body language imparting that worried/nervous look apparent to the human eye. Dogs actually learn to exhibit these behaviours simply to appease us when we are displaying angry or displeased human body language.
Myth: Dogs mount other dogs or people to show that they are dominant.
Fact: Mounting occurs for several reasons which may include stress alleviation, natural instincts and urges, attention seeking and play.
When dogs play they will sometimes take turns mounting each other for fun - the position is then one of playfulness. They could be trying to signify emotional frustration or dominance over another dog/bitch. What is natural to dogs, we humans see as embarrassing whether it is with other dogs, cushions or human legs!
If the dog is doing this to you, often to gain massive attention reward it is seeking from you, panicking only rewards the dog more by providing the attention being sought but simply give the dog an alternative distraction behaviour instead and reward for doing it, such as sit, down, a trick, chase ball or anything else.
Myth: If you adopt an older dog, it wont bond with you or learn new exercise/behaviours and how to live with a new family because 'an old dog can't learn new tricks'.
Fact: Remember, the older an animal is the longer they may have experience of previous learned behaviour the longer it may take to correct. In many ways training an older dog can be easier than training a puppy. Older dogs are generally calmer and have usually enjoyed some previous training. They often have better focusing and attention skills when working with you.
Myth: My dog is urinating in the house because he's angry that I left him alone.
Fact: If your dog is urinating in the house, it can only be for one of a few possible reasons.
a) He has a medical condition such as a urinary tract infection.
b) He is suffering from extreme separation anxiety and is in distress.
c) You left him longer than can be reasonably expected for him to hold his bladder.
d) He is not fully house trained.
Dogs are not capable of thought processes that would make them think that an action like urinating in the house will get back at you for any reason, no matter how much we like to believe that!
If your dog is not fully house trained, it is often easier to go back and start again at the beginning, as if still a puppy. Make absolutely sure you are totally consistent about supervising him in the house and rewarding him for going outside. Change like moving to a new home can be very confusing for a dog but as a precaution, take him to your vet to rule out any possible medical causes first.
Myth: If a dog can't learn an exercise he is stubborn, dominant, stupid or a combination of these.
Fact: The truth is, in many ways, dogs are just like people.
Some will pick up things very quickly and others will take more time and need more guidance. When Trainers see a dog having difficulty learning an exercise it's more often due to the dog not being communicated with correctly by the handler and in a way that the dog can understand. Often, dogs are not correctly rewarded when they have completed a task correctly, so they don't know if it is right?
Always reward your dog for doing something right and use patience when demonstrating any desired exercise. If your dog appears to have trouble learning something new think about you own teaching style from the 'dog's point of view'. You have become animal trainer so think carefully about how you train as you may not have been teaching as clearly as you first thought!
Training involves your hand signals, body language and voice intonation all of which are read by your dog. Therefore, inconsistencies by not being consistent and repetitive will confuse your dog.
Is the dog being distracted by other activities or other dogs? Is the exercise too complicated for either of you to follow at first grasp so perhaps needs to be broken down into smaller steps? Just like learning to drive!
Is your dog capable of physically learning a certain exercise? Dogs with elbow/hip problems for example might find positions like 'sit' very uncomfortable so choose to lie instead.
Be patient, tolerant and understanding and think dog.