There are several things I chat to clients about on a weekly basis which I think are well known, but are clearly not, so here are my top ten things I want dog owners to know:
1. The dog training industry has no regulations – you can wake up tomorrow and call yourself a dog trainer and no one can stop you. There are several accrediting bodies such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. These dog trainers have been through a rigorous assessment process and is as close as we have.
2. All trainers and training is not the same. Most trainers are striving to keep up with the latest scientific research on the most effective and kindest methods to train dogs. However, there are still trainers out there who use harsh, outdated methods.
3. You can start training before your dog has had all their vaccinations. Many people think their dog needs to be fully vaccinated or even six months-old before they start training. Training starts from the moment your dog comes home.
4. Human food is fine for your dog – well most of it. Always research it first and don’t feed from the table! Many human foods make great dog training rewards – chicken and cheese make some of the best treats!
5. Clickers aren’t forever. These are really used for the acquisition of a new behaviour. Once the dog has got it you can phase it out.
6. Rewards are forever – you wouldn’t go to work for long if they stopped paying you and dogs are the same. They won’t keep working if you stop paying them. Maybe not every time but regular treats are essential!
7. Your dog decides what is rewarding – if your dog doesn’t want it, it isn’t a reward. Be generous both in quality and quantity.
8. Preparation is key – especially on your dog walks. Every time you are out on a walk with your dog is learning, make sure they are learning what you want them to learn!
9. Well mannered dogs take hard work. There is no such thing as a perfect dog. It all takes time (some dogs take more than others)
10. Your dog doesn’t know when they have been naughty. They know there might be a punishment coming though so watch for your own body language and actions!
About Kimberley ...
Kimberley Grundy is a canine behaviourist and trainer, based in Yorkshire, who has practiced for over ten years, has two masters degrees - one in animal behaviour and welfare, another in psychology.