We are running the current refreshers course as a rolling course, so we
are generally able to start older dogs within a couple of weeks. Please ring us on 023 8046 5429 for more info and available
Our classes are open to any type of dog over four months old (for puppies under four months please see 'Puppy Classes').
Dogs attending classes need to be reasonably friendly towards people and other dogs. For dogs that have problems such as aggression
or excessive barking, please see the page on 'Behaviour Problems'. No dog is too old to start training, although the
younger the dog is the better.
of our classes are designed to produce well-behaved family pets. We do not worry about precision heelwork or perfectly straight
sits as some other classes geared towards competitive obedience do.
Our refresher classes cover basic training such
as walking on a loose lead, coming to call, sit and down stays, standing still for grooming and handling, not jumping-up at
people, not snatching or stealing food and going into a down at a distance.
Our Intermediate classes continue to improve
on these basics whilst building-up the dog's ability to cope with distractions. We also include a few tricks such as 'playing
dead' and 'waving'. In our Advanced classes we also teach exercises such as retrieve, sending the dog away to
an object and scent work, however these are taught in a relaxed and fun way.
A. All of our training methods are reward based. The only punishment that is ever used
is withholding of a food reward. Dogs learn
to respond to their handlers in order to receive praise and rewards - not
due to any fear of verbal or physical punishment.
We do not allow the use of choke chains or slip collars as they
work by causing pain, and it is possible to cause considerable physical
and psychological damage to the dog using one.
Generally small food treats are used as reinforcement for the right behaviours; toys can be used as rewards if the handler
prefers, although to do this does require good timing skills.
example, when first teaching a dog to walk on lead, the dog is only by your side on a loose lead for very short periods of
time. Very often, by the time you have said "good dog", or tried to give them a piece of food, the dog is back pulling
on the end of the lead. Therefore you have lost your chance to reward the right moment, i.e. the dog walking by your side.
Using a clicker you have the ability to let the dog know exactly what you want; i.e. you click when the lead is loose.
All of our customers are encouraged to try clicker training (but it is not insisted upon). Clicker training enables handlers
to have far more precision in the timing of their reinforcements than praise and food alone can offer. Using clicker training
can greatly speed the learning process for the dog.
To get an idea of how clicker training works, try a small experiment without your dog. Try throwing a ball into the air,
and saying "good ball" at the exact moment the ball is at its highest point. You probably found that your "good
ball" covered the moment the ball was at the highest point, but by the time you had finished, it was well on the way
back down again. Now try throwing the ball up in the air, and clapping your hands at the highest point. After a few attempts
you can probably get the clap fairly close to the right moment. Now if you assume the ball is a dog, that needs to know that
the highest point of the flight is the behaviour that you want, clapping your hands together would have far more chance of
giving that information than saying the drawn out "good dog". Clapping your hands is not always practical when training
a dog, so this is where the clicker comes in; it's quicker, and a lot more accurate, than verbal praise as a method of
providing information to the dog. A more detailed explanation of clicker training is given during lessons.
For those customers who cannot commit to reasonably frequent attendance at classes, or those that prefer a one-to-one approach
we can arrange sessions at your home or your local park. For problems that would not be dealt with in a normal class
or dogs not suitable for classes please see the page on Behaviour.