Broken any New Year Resolutions yet?
Yes? Me too!
But it’s still January – only just – so I reckon there’s still time to make another!
Being a dog, I’m bound to be biased, but I think this Resolution should be for your faithful, four-legged friend!
So what would your dog REALLY like?! I could say to get your dog a new toy each month or perhaps a different collar for every occasion (I do have a friend that has this already! Lucky girl – you know who you are!!!), but no, that’s not what I’m going to suggest.
What a lot of us dogs would really like is to go to TRAINING CLASSES!
Yes, you heard right! It’s too often forgotten that we dogs LOVE to use our brains! We LOVE to learn…..it’s such good fun – as long as it’s done in a way that we can understand and enjoy.
Take me for example. I can’t wait to go to classes and my friends tell me they’re just the same. Some of them tell me that they get sooooooo excited when they know they’re on their way to class that they start whining in the car cos they can’t get there soon enough! I’m cooler than that……I’m quiet in the car, I just haul my mum into the classroom to let everyone know I’ve arrived, give the teacher a huge kiss and then can’t wait until it’s my turn to do something! (Not the best behaviour, I know, but a weeks a long time to wait for your next lesson!).
Why are we all like this? Because we have FUN and we LEARN at the same time. Not only do we get to grips with the confusing body language you humans use (yes, we watch you like hawks!), but we learn some of your words too, so we can ‘Sit’, ‘Down’, ‘Stand’ and walk by your side on or off the lead. We learn games like tidying our toys away into a toy box, retrieving Kongs from amongst loads of fluffy, soft toys, as well as learning to go to our beds (we have races to see who can get there first) and much, much more!
What’s the secret to our enjoyment and achievements?
Our classes are run by an APDT approved instructor! Why is this so good? Because – and here’s the technical bit – it means the instructor adheres strictly to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers principles – that ALL the methods are kind, fair and effective ways of training, using reward-based methods. This means we DON’T get yanked about if we get something wrong. Choke chains and prong collars are banned (yippee!!), instead kinder and alternative methods are taught. So, if we’re struggling with something and can’t understand what is being asked of us, the instructors help our owners to explore different ways of asking us what it is they want and invariably the penny then drops and ‘hey presto!’ happy owner and even happier dog! We have such a great time, it’s just like a game to us!!
For those of you who live around Leeds, Harrogate and Otley – you’re lucky enough to have The Tailwagger Club run by Angela Lowrie – see Tailwagger’s website www.tailwaggerclub.com – get in touch with them, I’m sooooooo glad my mum did.
I’ve been a part of Tailwaggers for a few years now and although I still have “character”, I’m so much cleverer and (dare I say) better behaved than I used to be! My mum’s well impressed!!! We’re all individuals at Tailwaggers, we’re not labelled as “problem dogs”, we’re helped and boy, do we improve!
The Tailwagger Club runs all sorts of classes catering for all levels. Pet dog training for Puppies right up to Advanced for dogs wanting more of a challenge – even this has three levels to work towards so there’s plenty to have a go at! There’s also the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Scheme plus lots of other activities such as Competition Obedience, Heelwork to Music and Canine Games – Dog Olympics. Courses are run in 6 week blocks. They even offer a free one-off Pre-Puppy Information Session to help and advise potential owners integrate a new dog into their lives.
The Tailwagger Club runs workshops covering topics such as Puppy Life Skills, Canine First Aid, Training Techniques, Hooligan Dogs and many more. The Club has agility classes as well as its own Display Team who attend local shows and events throughout the year. Each year, class participants can have the chance to join the team and become involved with the Canine Games – Dog Olympics where they compete against other training clubs from around the country!
Sound interesting? It’s MEGA FUN!
So, how about it? Get closer to your dog and improve your relationship. Find out what truly makes us dogs tick – you’ll be surprised at what you both can achieve!
Contact Tailwaggers through their website, or if you’re not local to the Harrogate, Leeds area, visit www.apdt.co.uk and find an approved trainer close to you.
Gone are the days of shouting at and yanking us dogs……LEARNING IS FUN WHEN YOU AND YOUR DOG ENJOY IT!!!
As The Tailwagger Club says…..It’s a Dog Thing!