COMPANION DOG TRAINING
How to become your Dog's Best Friend
Argyll Agility is going to expand the scope of activities to include Companion Dog Training (How to Become Your Dog's Best Friend) as well as Agility training.
Initially Foundation Training Courses for puppies, adolescence and adult dogs will be available. The intent is to offer training courses that are relevant to the companion dog and the way they live their daily lives in a rural community like ours. The aim is to help dogs and their owners to live and work better together, have fun and to promote responsible dog ownership.
Traditionally much of the dog training that has been available (I hasten to add 'not necessarily in Argyll'!) has been based on Dog Obedience Training which was heavily influenced by the wish to encourage dog owners to take up obedience work as a sport and progress to taking part in competitions. This type of training would often take place in village halls and could include up to 20 or 25 dogs and handlers. Often, once the dogs were taken outside the village hall environment, they would behave quite differently from the way they did in the training class in the hall. This is because the village hall does not provide a varied environment with distractions, sounds and smells that the dogs are normally exposed to outside. It is tempting to ask dog owners how often they would take their dogs to a village or community hall apart from when they attend a dog training class!
I want to develop courses which, as well as being more broadly based than pure obedience training, are taught in the open air in a variety of environments – including in a field or any other open secure space, on country paths, on beaches and in woods if possible. This is where most dogs spend their outdoor time with their owners. This is where it is increasingly important that dogs are well behaved and under the full control of the owner/handler.
In order to have the desired control over a dog the handler must have a relationship with his dog. In the past the training methods used would today be considered rather harsh – and sometimes would lead to a relationship between dog and handler which could be based on fear or rough handling rather than mutual respect and cooperation.
The current thinking is much more towards training methods which utilizes a reward based system of training. In order to succeed in this approach the dog and handler must develop a good and positive relationship – based on friendship and respect, not force. Clearly a dog has to be shown what the boundaries are but this can be done in such a way that mutual respect is maintained.
I see the training courses being based on developing control but in a fun way and the training will include playing and interacting with the dog as a way to ‘Be the Dog’s Best Friend’. Dogs need mental as well as physical stimulation – play and fun activities will help to make the dog’s life much more interesting and satisfying.
‘Be the Dog’s Best Friend’ training:
This will depend on what the previous knowledge and skills are of the dog and handler, but typically will include:
Sit and lay down
Walking properly on the lead
Dog to stay in one place
Verbal as well as physical (e.g. handsignals) commands (or cues)
How and when to reward
Play with toys
Activities such as jumping, going through a tunnel, games to play and perhaps some scent work
Emphasis will be on the handler’s skills and the type of dog he or she has. Some general background information about how dogs learn and how their genetics and early upbringing affect their behaviour will be included.
The Dog Owner's legal responsibility will also be discussed.
My aim is to make the training fun for both dog and handler.
What the training is Not:
Training for Obedience or Working Trial Competition, specialist training for gun dogs or any other working dog activity such as guarding or security
To resolve any serious behaviour problems
One to One Training
One to one training for locals or visitors - duration flexible - packages are available
‘Become Your Dog’s Best Friend’ Training Courses (when demand is sufficent for a class)
o Duration - normally 4 weeks
o Each session lasting 1 hr
Class Sizes: 6 dogs/handlers maximum – again to ensure that more time is available to help each dog/handler. Please check out Courses for further details