Dogs ‘n’ Kids Training – Taster Session

Dogs ‘n’ Kids Training For Fun

For anyone who wants their dog to play and work with their children

training classes, dogs and childrenThe aims of the classes are:

  • Children having fun with their dogs
  • Children learning how to be around their dogs and understand their dog’s behaviour
  • Improving their dog’s behaviour through a variety of positive training
  • Improving the bond between dogs and children

I’ve had 2 children and 6 dogs and have been a breeder for a number of years, so I really understand the joy of seeing children and dogs playing together and having fun.   I have been going into school with one of my dogs under the Read2Dogs scheme, which has demonstrated the magic that dogs can work with children.

Now I’m providing the opportunity to improve that relationship with other children and their dogs, using my skills and experience. I am going to use the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme as a framework, but I want to include plenty of fun and games as well.  I am DRB cleared.

The Taster Session will introduce children to managing their dog while out walking, interacting with other people and dogs.  They will have the chance to play with their dog.

Taster session

dogs and children trainingDate:   Monday 10th October 2016

Time:   4.30-5.30pm                         Price:   £8

At:        Caldecotte Lake Park, Simpson Road

NB: This session is suitable for children aged 8-13, with dogs over 1 year.  Dogs should not be aggressive with other dogs or children. There will be 8 places available on this session. 

Following this session there will be another Taster Session, and then a course of classes after half term.

To apply for a place on this session, please contact:

Penny Dent, Dentbros Dogs                                                     07528 574207

Settle Down – An Essential Command

Lie Down and Settle

Settle down
Enjoying a coffee break in the park

We’ve developed a new tradition at the weekends; we walk round our local country park and stop halfway for a coffee.  The park Rushmere Country Park is lovely and the cafe is very dog friendly.  So we sat and enjoyed our coffee.  The girls were quite fidgety and restless for a bit, but then they settled down.  There were a couple of other dogs there, left alone while their owners went to buy their drinks and one of these was slightly anxious and vocal.  Chris asked me how you train a dog to cope with being left.  So how do you do that?

As with all training, start slowly and build it up, being patient!  You need to start with asking a dog to wait in front of you and gradually lengthen the time your dog can do this with you there.  Then you start to go out of sight for a short period, lengthening this until the dog can cope happily.  I will cover this process in more detail in the future.

Equally important for this kind of experience, is teaching your dog to settle down.  This is similar, but not quite the same as teaching a ‘down’ and a ‘wait’.  ‘Settle’ means “lie here in a relaxed way while I am busy doing something else”.  Of course we want our dogs to do that all the time at home, while we are watching TV or working at our desk, but we also need to be able to instruct them to do it while we are out, if we are enjoying our coffee and don’t want to be constantly having to manage our dogs.

This might be a good point to say that if you have a labrador or practically anything apart from a collie, you might be wondering what I am making a fuss about.  But I did hear of a dog (only part collie) that demanded to be played with all day, every day and was never left other than for short periods.  Coping with inactivity is definitely a required skill.

Here’s my video – the world’s most boring clip, showing my dogs being settled.  Of course Aura should have been rewarded for going down and pretending to settle, but I had run out of treats!  What you are supposed to do is wait until they are settled and relaxed and then give them calm praise, a nice long stroke and a treat.  I’ll work on that.

If you are enjoying my training pupdates, why not let me know?  If you want me to cover a particular topic, give me a shout?  Don’t forget to share with your friends and if you subscribe you will receive a notification every time I issue a new post.  Finally, if you want to see whether I know what I’m talking about, why not head over to IndePenDent Inspiration?

Dogs Off Lead – Why bother?

Following on from my last post, about how we train our dogs to come when they are called, so that we can let them off the lead, I started thinking about why we should do that.

This is a tiny video clip of my dogs in the woods, wandering about, separately and together.  They can sniff and nose around in the undergrowth, they can wander wherever they choose to go and they can run about, unrestrained.  Busy in particular usually races around after squirrels when she is in the woods, living up to her name!  (Unlike the rest of the time, when she is pretty chilled 😉 )  You can see her in the video, trotting along.

Why bother?  Why do we need to let our dogs roam freely?  Many people walk their dogs on lead and they trot along, perfectly happily, so it seems.  Or they have their dog on an extendable lead, so that the dog can wander about, supposedly at will.

My feeling is that both of these options are better than not walking your dog at all, but that neither is really giving your dog the freedom to experience its environment fully.  I think that because a dog is so governed by its sense of smell, being able to roam freely, at their own pace, makes a big difference to their ability to ‘follow their nose’ and really appreciate the environment around them.  I think that walking a dog on lead is a bit like us going for a walk wearing a blindfold, or even more tantalisingly, a semi-transparent blindfold, which shows us that there are interesting stuff going on around us that we cannot investigate.

Reasons for walking your dog

I think it comes down to why we walk our dogs at all and what we expect them to get out of it.  My understanding is that there are a couple of reasons for walking:

  • physical exercise – of course your dog needs exercise.  This is a bit of a difficult one though, as there is so much variation in the amount of exercise people feel that their dog needs.  An hour?  Two hours?  Two walks a day?  More, or less? I see the amount of exercise as irrelevant, compared to the overall level of stimulation being received.  If you walked your dog for two hours, on lead, along the same paved paths every day, it wouldn’t be very interesting, would it?
  • mental stimulation – I feel this is more important than the physical exercise.  Going along different paths, exploring and being able to go off in different directions, is vital for a dog’s general wellbeing, in my opinion.  And of course if they can interact with other dogs along the way, they will have a much more interesting experience.

Of course there are many benefits for you in walking your dog regularly and at some length.  And it is great to interact with your dog while you walk.  I do most of my training while walking with my girls.  They practise wait, down, sit, come, retrieve and a few other bits and bobs.  My girls know how to ‘mind’ out of the way of cyclists and runners.  Off lead, of course.

Walking my dogs helps me plan and structure my work as a dragon.  To see what else I do, head to my other website IndePenDent Inspiration