Whether you are new to owning dogs or if you just want to brush up on your dog training knowledge, every successful training session must have the right tools that achieve your goals. From the perfect lead to the ultimate training treats, these are the products we suggest to get you and your dog on the right foot.
1. A Walking Lead and Harness
One of the first things that we’d suggest to train your dog is how to walk correctly on the lead. We’ve all seen those people on a walk whose dog is pulling and lunging on the lead, not only resulting in a stressful walk for the owner but also risk of injury to the dog. A well fitting harness with both a front and back clip as well as a strong, durable lead long enough to hang loosely when your dog is walking at your side is absolutely essential.
If fitting a harness is something that seems complicated to you, there are many pet shops who specialise in finding the right fit for your dog. Furthermore, companies such as Perfect Fit provide online services to help you measure your own dog.
2. A Treat Pouch
The way to most dogs hearts is through their stomachs. This means that one of the biggest essentials in your training kit is a treat pouch. Giving treats as a reward for good behaviour is something called positive reinforcement. The dog starts associating a particular behaviour with something they enjoy, therefore making them more likely to do that behaviour again. The quicker the treat is given after the behaviour, the better. This means that the ideal treat pouch must be easily accessible, wide enough to fit your hand in and contain a waterproof lining to keep treats fresh. Some pouches come with D-rings to attach whistles, clickers and water bottles too and extra pockets to store keys, phones wnd most importantly those poo bags!
3. The Perfect Treat
The dog food business is an absolute minefield and even we still get overwhelmed by the options provided in shops these days. We will avoid the raw vs dried debate as we don’t claim to be canine nutritionists but we do have a few suggestions for training treats that have had the biggest successes in our experience.
* Hotdog sausages - The smellier the better! We find dogs respond to commands better when they can smell their reward. Just be careful of sodium content.
* Liver cake/brownie - Easy to make yourself or also available in pet shops, liver cake is smelly and rich in protein making it the ideal treat.
* Cooked Chicken - Suitable for dogs with wheat allergies or who are a little overweight, cooked chicken is low in fat and easy to find.
* Peanut Butter - Dogs LOVE peanut butter as an extra special treat. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any Xylitol.
Training treats should be something that your dog doesn’t ordinarily eat at home therefore making it extra rewarding.
4. A Longline
Another vitally important thing a dog should be taught is recall. Having good recall is essential for a number of reasons including preventing your dog from getting lost, reducing the risk of dog fights and for keeping your dog and other dogs safe from harm. The best way to teach your dog recall is through the use of a longline. Just like a normal lead, long lines can vary in length giving your dog the freedom of being off lead whilst ensuring you still keep control by holding the end.
5. A Clicker
Not entirely essential but definitely useful, a clicker can be a handy addition to your dog training kit. Clickers can take the place of a treat to let your dog know quickly of positive behaviour if accessing your treats in a timely manner is difficult. Clickers should always be associated with a highly rewarding treat In order to be effective.
6. A Positive Attitude
It doesn’t matter how well trained a dog is, at the end of the day they are still an animal and are going to have good and bad days. Not every dog is going to understand a command straight away and honestly it will take time. A positive attitude and plenty of patience is absolutely essential to be successful.
We promise you WILL get there!
As pet professionals, we are huge advocates for rescuing and adopting animals to introduce into your family. Yes, we know puppies and kittens are extremely cute, that a particular breed might be more desirable, or you have children and finding a pet that suits your household is difficult (it frustrates us too) but we do believe that there is rescue animals out there for everyone. So here is our top 10 reasons why you should adopt a rescue animal.
1. There are hundreds of thousands of animals in rescue across the UK.
PETA estimates that in 2020, there were over 100,000 dogs in UK shelters. In 2019, the RSPCA saw 2500 rabbits abandoned at their centres. In the same year, Cats Protection rescued 41,000 cats. And those are only the figures from a couple of rescue shelters meaning the actual numbers could be a lot higher. That is a LOT of animals needing a loving home
2. In many cases, adopting an animal means saving a life.
Although a lot of rescues claim to ‘never put a healthy pet down’, the truth is that pets who struggle to find a home quick enough are at risk of being euthanised. Not only that but by paying your adoption fee, you are helping rescue centres to take another pet out of harms way and freeing up a space in the shelter for more to come in therefore potentially saving several lives and not just the pet you rescued.
3. Adopting a pet is rewarding in so many ways.
Not only does the thought of having rescued an animal fill you with warm and fuzzy feelings but also gives you major bragging rights! We love proudly declaring that our gorgeous, happy, healthy dogs were originally rescued from horrific abusive situations. It makes us so proud to see how far they’ve come.
4. There’s nothing stronger than the bond of a rescue animal.
Mastering the trust of a rescue animal can be a long and laborious process however when you have gained that trust, the bond you have will be in breakable. When we first adopted our ex-puppy farm breeder Belle, she was so scared she spent the first couple of weeks hiding behind the sofa. She’s still got her fears from several years of abuse but the sight of her running around freely, tail wagging a hundred miles an hour and the happy wiggle dance she does when we get up in the morning is enough to fill my eyes with tears. She’s decided that despite what humans put her through, we are her people and she loves us. There’s nothing more rewarding than that.
5. You can find a huge variety of animals in rescue centres.
Yes we know that Cockapoos look like cute teddy bears and Dachshunds are very fashionable but have you ever seen a Schnaffaliertzuchon? Nope, didn’t think so! Rescue animals can be all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations creating unique (and incredibly cute) pets. This also means that these pets don’t suffer from breed specific conditions such as respiratory problems in Pugs and hip problems in Labradors. Who says that Mongrels and Moggies aren’t cool?!
6. It’s not just about the mixed breeds.
Although we are advocates for mixed breeds, we understand that a certain breed might be preferable for your family and household. The myth that you wouldn’t be able to find your favoured breed in a shelter is false too. We adopted a pair of Fischer’s Lovebirds from a rescue centre, something that would ordinarily be difficult to find. There are several shelters across the UK dedicated to specific breeds. Looking for a Bengal or a Ragdoll or a German Shepherd? A quick google search comes up with several rescue centres specialising in these breeds. You might have to search a bit further but believe me, they are out there!
7. You’re guaranteed a full health check.
The majority of rescues will give your pet the absolute best care before they go to their new homes with one of their own highly trained veterinary staff. This means that you’re guaranteed to know any issues that your pet may have and will have the lifetime support of the rescue staff. Your pet is also likely to have had their first course of vaccinations and often if they’re old enough have been spayed or neutered too alongside any flea and worming treatment. Rescues will provide the adopter with a full medical record of their time in their care meaning you know everything you need to. This sadly isn’t often the case with most breeders.
8. You help to eradicate backyard breeders.
One of the most horrendous places for a dog to be is stuck in a puppy farm and they are all over the UK. These people are getting very smart about hiding their true identities, hiring ‘ordinary’ people and their houses to make it look like these puppies come from home breeders. By adopting from a rescue, we are lowering the demand for these puppies. Some charities rescue from puppy farms taking the dogs out their situation completely.
9. You can skip the training phrase.
As utterly adorable as puppies and kittens are, there’s no denying that they are extremely hard work. You can skip the destroyed furniture, peeing in the house and general lack of obedience by adopting an older animal. Older animals still have so much love to give!
10. Because why wouldn’t you?
If these reasons weren’t enough, I’d there any reason why you wouldn’t? Go for it!