Many of my clients ask me what happens next when they get to the end of their private lessons where they have worked with me on an individual basis and helped their dogs to progress.
Now, they say, what do we do next?
Well as I explain to them, training your dog is an ongoing process and we should continue to do this throughout their lives. After all we chose them to join us in our lives and it is up to us to ensure they have fulfilling lives with us. Some dog, a few it must be said, are happy to fit into your life, lay down and sleep, play with the kids, and become the model pet in your family. However, I don’t usually see those dogs. The ones I see have personality in spades, an attitude that a professional dog handler is looking for and plenty of drive. That is why many owners struggle. Their dog doesn’t fit in with their perceived idea of the perfect dog. These dogs need something else!
All my clients are invited to join our Sunday Life skills group sessions and practice within a small group of like- minded people. Each group has the chance to go through all the methods they have been shown in their private lessons, and as we use a fenced off area in the park, this is just one step away from being out and about on their own. These group therapy sessions go through all the life skills you need to get back out with your dog to all those wonderful places you want to visit with them. Its all about practice and many of my clients have now formed good friendships with other group members and gain support and confidence from each other.
What to do when your dog needs that extra something? Well some owners go off and look at the various dog sports available. Agility or Hooper’s for the faster dog or maybe Scentwork for the dog who is slightly slower. (Click on the link to find out more about Scentwork at home). Sadly, this is not always possible but there are lots of ways you can entertain your dog and give them guidance and rules. All animals need boundaries so that they are safe and don’t endanger others. In this crazy world we live in, I struggle to keep up especially recently with all the new guidelines we have to adhere to. How do our dogs understand? In the next few weeks, many of us will be going back to work and these dogs will be without company again. Many will cope, but others will suffer, unless we help them.
When you first attend a puppy training class or the dog training school at the local hall, we are trying to give you the tools to do something with you dog as it grows and develops. Training doesn’t finish when the class stops. It should be incorporated into your daily life. A sit to be put the lead on or to give your dog its dinner is one thing. But how about when you are out? What do you do then? Do you practice a recall and reward, or do you expect your dog to do it because?
If you are struggling to get your dog to listen when its off lead, or your dog is pulling like a train to get to the other dog. Barking frantically when it sees another dog or backing away in fear from people or strange things, then your dog needs help. It is up to you to help them and make their lives a little easier and the way forward is simple. When you are out on your walk, practice some calm tricks, some loose lead walking or even play ball with your dog ( throw it to the side or behind you and get them to bring it back to you – use two balls if need be) and you will your dog become more engaged and then when they sleep, they will relax. If you are really worried about your dog then seek help, there are lots of things I can share with you to do while out and about.
What to do when you go back to work? Make time for your dog as well – include it in your schedule and if you really can’t, then find a reputable dog walker who can help you. But do try and make the effort, as this will be rewarding for you both and you will feel better for it.
If you need extra help, want to book some private lessons, or join us on our next “Social dog” course, then do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are two spaces left on the course, one space left for private lessons in June and July at the “lockdown” special rate and we have just introduced a new puppy social on the 5th July where you can let your pups safely interact with other similar aged dogs at a secure field. Places will fill fast, so be sure to contact me soon. But whatever you decide to do, get out there with your dog. Find a great lead, some tasty treats, and a toy, and go for a walk and enjoy our summer – it will be fun for you all. Speak soon.