They say it’s never too early or too late to train your dog, so, if you’ve just taken proud ownership of your first eight-week pupster or are tearing your hair out with a cheeky old rogue who you are determined to tame, read on! There is so much training advice that it can be hard to know where to start, but we’ve distilled it down to some simple tips and tricks from some top trainers, and added our Ruff and Tumble inside knowledge of course!
Recall – Safety first.
This is the most important training you’ll do as it is all about safety and you being able to enjoy walking with your dog. The Dogfather has a great website, with lots of straightforward advice written in a friendly style. In a nutshell, he says: Smile at your dog, make sure you’re seen, have great rewards and run off as they will follow! It all sounds obvious but he really makes you see training from the dog’s point of view. Puppyleaks is another excellent source of advice. Jen really understands the humiliation and frustration a dog owner feels when faced with a disobedient dog, but advocates patience and consistency. She also says don’t go in for three-hour long sessions, but keep training short and snappy where some progress can be made before everyone loses the plot! Lastly, there are 25 excellent training videos by The Dogs Trust on training your dog. Professionally produced by the excellent Carolyn Menteith, they are only 2-5 minutes long, and extremely supportive and reassuring in tone. See the video on Recall Training here: Dogs Trust Recall Training Video
Cute tricks – Have some Fun!
It’s impressive to show that your dog knows a few of these: Red can spin round and Yoshi can roll over on command at Ruff and Tumble HQ, and they love showing everybody how clever they are! The American Kennel Club have a short video on rolling over (under 2 minutes) which is very direct and simply explained. Why not have a go and teach an older dog a new trick for fun? They’ll love the attention, and as they say, you are never too old to learn! Jo Ann Basinger has a short video, (under 5 minutes), which very clearly teaches you how to teach your dog to spin, here. Ed says he won Yoshi and Red over by focussing on repetition and reward, (a bit like his Mum with him then, by the sound of it!) If you want ten tricks to choose from at a glance then the DogTime website has a lovely collection ranging from ‘the kiss’ to ‘sitting pretty’. Whatever trick you choose, you will enjoy the closeness and bonding that will be achieved by your success together.
Stay – A vital basic
The RSPCA say this is simple to teach in six easy steps in their helpful and authoritative guide. As long as your dog can already lie down, they maintain this can be taught relatively quickly. Their approach is all about starting small and building up, in terms of session time, distance from the dog, and practicing in different places. It all makes sense and seems very achievable. Victoria Stilwell suggests a similar approach, but also has a helpful video here. The Spruce has a twelve point plan and some extra tips too. We thought it was a good idea to have a friend distract your dog as part of the training, and being out of sight for a while sounded a clever tip too.
And don’t forget the essentials…
The Spruce says these are the essentials for training to ‘stay’: dog collar, extra-long leash (15-30 feet if possible), training treats that your dog loves and a dog that already knows the cues for sit and/or down. But we think he’s forgotten something. When it rains, every dog needs a Ruff and Tumble Drying Coat. And it always rains in the UK, so we say it’s an essential!