What should I bring with me to class?
Apart from your dog of course….
- Proof of immunization or titre test (for your first class).
- A selection of treats..small and easy to eat but a big favourite.
- A non squeaky comfort toy or two.
- A dog bed if your dog is likely to be anxious.
- Poo bags just in case.
- Something for your dog to chew if they are unlikely to play with the toys.
- An ordinary collar and lead, not an extending lead. Please note choke chain collars are not allowed.
- If you are joining the A1 Basic Manners course, please come WITHOUT your dog on the first session.
I don’t know the first thing about training. Will I feel stupid?
Don’t worry. Our puppy, novice and A1 classes do not assume any experience of training. There will be others in your position. We aim to teach you the basic principles of training to get you started on a sound footing. We encourage you to attend a class without a dog first so that you can see how we operate. All our trainers want both you and your dog to succeed and will do our best to help you whatever your starting position.
What sort of treats do you recommend?
Whatever your dog really likes! For most dogs this involves food but it could be a favourite toy. The important thing is to make sure you have treats of high value for training. Your dog may love his normal food at home but he is less likely to care about it when there are lots of other dogs and distractions to think about! Cooked chicken, liver or sausage are usually popular as is cheese. Commercial treats should be soft so that they can be broken into tiny pieces.
My dog is a hooligan! I wouldn’t dare bring him to a class – can you help?
We have a number of options that you could try. Our A1 classes are designed for adult dogs and older puppies that are “challenging”! These are small classes (average 4 dogs) which focus on basic manners. If your dog really can’t cope with a class situation we can start with one-to-one training or a behaviour consultation instead. Our aim is always to get your dog into a class situation as soon as possible.
I am under 16. Can I train my dog myself?
We encourage children to be involved in training their dogs and have had many successful young handlers in classes. If you have the time and patience to do the work needed with your dog between classes we are very happy for you to be the one who handles your dog in class. We do ask though that you bring a parent along with you if you are under 16.
I am getting a puppy. How can I make sure I start off right?
We offer a a free one-off Pre-Puppy Information Session, aimed at potential new dog owners wishing to integrate a puppy into their home. We can also make suggestions as to what would be an appropriate dog for your home and lifestyle. We believe prevention is better than cure so are happy to help people get off to the best start with their new dog.
What qualifications do your trainers have?
Four of our trainers are members of the APDT. Two of these are also qualified SATS trainers. The others have successfully undertaken and passed our own Trainer Development Programme. All of our trainers regularly attend training seminars and workshops to update their knowledge and train their own dogs in different disciplines and at different levels.
I want to be a dog trainer – what do I need to do?
First and foremost you need training experience so train your own dog or, if you don’t have one, see if you can borrow one to train. Volunteer to help out in training classes near you – even if you are not directly training you will pick up valuable information. Volunteer at your local rescue centre as a helper or dog walker as this will give you experience of different dogs. Read as much as you can about training and canine behaviour. Attend workshops and seminars as often as you can. There are formal courses you can take at different levels ranging from part time correspondence courses like those offered by Compass, degree courses such as the Foundation degree at Bishop Burton College, and Masters level courses such as the one at Southampton University. Our own Trainer Development Programme is another option if you are close enough to us. The main organisation for Pet Dog Trainers is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Ultimately membership of this should be your aim but you should be aware that the assessment for membership is stringent and applicants are expected to have a high level of practical and theoretical knowledge.