Tessa Hallings, from Bedfordshire, enjoyed taking her own puppy to training classes so much that she stayed on to achieve a Good Citizen Gold Award and is now training to become a qualified instructor. Here, she offers some tips…
“I enjoy helping the owners learn what their dog needs and I mostly enjoy helping these that would give up their dog because of problems and showing them how to change problems into positives.
“Training pups is easier as the pup is eager to learn. Adult dogs, no matter how old, may take more time but most are keen to learn ‘new tricks’.
Why is dog training important and what sort of training would you suggest?
“It’s really important to have a social, acceptable dog these days, the Dangerous Dogs Act carries a tough penalty for these owners breaking it but most humans would rather have a well behaved dog than not.
Training methods I would suggest are reward-based ones, where the dog gains that which it desires most – human attention. And example of this is asking the dog to sit and when they do, go nuts with praise. Most dogs can’t get enough of this and will be keen to gain it again. After that I would use play, then food-based rewards but whatever method is used it must suit the dog and owner.”
If you had one top dog training tip to offer what would it be?
“Timing – praise too late and the dog does not associate praise with the action. Whatever we do in training the timing must be with two seconds of any command given to the dog.”
For Tessa’s tips on what not to do if your dog is attacked, see ‘Dog attack: what happens when the other dog doesn’t want to play’