We provide a variety of different training classes here at My Pet Stop and I am very proud to call myself a qualified dog trainer with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers -IMDT. We offer Kennel Club Courses from Foundation to Bronze, Silver and Gold. We have drop in clubs for all levels and ages and also do 1-2-1 training sessions for customers with specific needs.
So, from your experience as a dog trainer, why is it important to train a puppy?
If you get the basics right, it stands you in good stead for the future. We want our dogs to be members of our family so just like kids they need to be taught well. Dogs don’t speak English so we need to show them appropriate behaviour in a way they understand.
All our training is based on the most up to date, force free methods, its called positive reinforcement. That’s basically just posh words for saying we reward good behaviour, so we don’t shout, smack, yank on the lead or do anything nasty at all. Our training is scientifically proven to work and builds on that all important bond with your puppy. We all learn in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere; everyone’s’ happy and enjoys it!
We also offer puppy play sessions focussing on confidence building, reading body language and what is appropriate play. We are all about teaching owners and puppies how to get it right in the very important early stages.
The trick is to keep your puppy entertained in an appropriate way before they find their own entertainment which could be chewing on a chair leg or getting up to mischief!
So, if you missed puppy training can you teach an older dog new tricks?
Yes, you’re never too old to learn! However, we do adjust each exercise to suit the dogs’ individual needs and we always work to the pace of the dog. We run foundation courses for adult dogs not just puppies and our reward-based methods don’t just mean treats. Some dogs love praise in a happy voice, others love a tickly tummy or a scratty bum, others enjoy playing with toys or a good sniff. We try to encourage our customers to find out what their dogs love and use that as a reward.
So, after Foundation training why continue?
After puppy foundation, your dogs’ brain doesn’t just stop. If you don’t use it you lose it and we don’t want our dogs to get bored or stuck in a rut. Yes dogs need exercise but they also need mental stimulation, they are such clever animals, so we need to keep their brains working. If you couple exercise with mental stimulation you get a happy, well balanced dog and basically that’s what everyone wants, don’t they?
What else can we offer a customer who doesn’t want to specifically train but still wants to learn new things with their dog?
We offer drop in sessions or clubs. We have Perfect Paws which covers obedience from Foundation level to Kennel Club Gold. We have K9 Allstars which is a tricks club covering things like bows, peekaboos, ringing bells, jumping through hoops; all fun based. Great mental stimulation for your dog and everyone loves a trick to show off to their mates! K9 Capers is our Saturday club, it’s a sociable group where you can chat and make friends with likeminded doggy people. It covers all basic obedience and you even get a cup of tea and a biscuit in the middle. We also offer a fun agility club for dogs over 12months. Once a dog has completed the 4-week agility course to get used to the obstacles, they can come to the club and take part. We also run an intro to puppy agility, this course doesn’t have the full set of obstacles as we have to take into account impact on their little joints etc, but great fun and one of my favourite courses.
All our clubs are very friendly and relaxed. A lot of our customers are regulars and we are like one big family. This is great for new customers making them feel welcome and at ease which is a great learning environment.
So, what happens when things don’t go to plan and a problem develops?
We can offer 1-2-1 sessions, that’s an individual session with a customer focussing on a specific problem. We start with a phone consultation to get as much background information as possible then arrange an hour-long training session designed specifically to your needs. You then get a follow up report providing you will all the information we discussed, so you have something to refer back to.
So, who would you suggest attends our 1-2-1 training?
Basically a 1-2-1 is an option for a dog that maybe isn’t suited to a group class environment or for a dog with an issue that isn’t covered in one of our courses. Some dogs maybe stressed/nervous or reactive around other people and dogs or a customer might prefer the sole attention of a dog trainer. We try to provide a service for everyone.
So, what would you say you find the most difficult as a dog trainer?
Every puppy class I do I’m like “I want that one, I want a spaniel, I want a frenchie, I want a rottie” basically I want want want! So that hardest part for me is not collecting loads of puppies.
So, what’s the best part of your job?
Easy, I get to play with pooches and get paid for it haha! Joking aside, there’s a lot of science, theory, lesson planning and geeky stuff I do in the background that customers don’t see which I really enjoy but the main thing is meeting so many different people and dogs and seeing them progress. The most important part for me is helping people understand how their dogs learn and making training fun, using no outdated harsh methods.
My job is so rewarding, no two days are the same and I always look forward to coming into work. I am so lucky!