Your dog would like you to read this!   This section takes a brief look at the need for a life time of support, fun, enrichment and welfare for your dog, regardless of age.  And its not all about classes - but these help!  Emotional Health is as important as Physical Health and like us, the two are intrinsically linked.  We live with our emotions every day and getting this right will mean a very happy dog as the years go on!  Please read on and at the bottom of the page, we have information about local training classes.

Whether you are reading this and have a new addition or existing dog – dog training forms part of their ongoing learning.  This requires time, patience and at least at the start money.  This investment is a necessary part of your puppy / dog's life and needs to be considered before getting a pet.  Think of it as a child being taught at home and going to school - there are many unseen benefits from attending school and it is an environment few of us can create at home.  This is the same for puppies and dogs generally.  Rescued or anxious dogs can present more of a challenge but its equally important to build their skills too.

Teaching the basics at home (or in class); e.g. come, sit, stay, settle, down, wait, touch, heal, fetch and find-it …  and attending reputable dog training classes, forms a large amount of their lifelong learning.  Alongside puppy and teenager classes there are a whole number of different fun activities and training opportunities to try, e.g. clicker training, agility, heel work, tracking and scent work.  Help them build up an ever expanding library of different skills that can be used anywhere, e.g. at home on a rainy day or during visits to the vets!  Using these skills to help focus when anxious, will really help your dog when they find themselves in difficult situations.

There really is no age limit to training your dog!  And in fact, yes you certainly can teach an old dog new tricks! It is just as good for their brain health as it is for the young ones – in the same way all ages of people are encouraged to be active both physically and mentally!

Working in partnership with your dog right from the word go and having a lifelong learning mindset, as part of your dog’s welfare and care - can’t be encouraged enough.  

Body health and brain health are firmly linked, this is absolutely the case for our pets.  Teaching, learning, playing and working are important parts to your dog’s life – it makes them happier, healthier and will increase the loving bond you have with your pet.

Helpful hints:

  • Dogs need a kind, consistent and predictable approach to life, this includes training.  Work in partnership with them and take the time to learn their body language and facial expressions – this is how they communicate with you
  • Write a list of skills and expectations, you and your family would like your dog to be able to do / you have for them
  • Don’t wear out your dog’s name!  Have a word / phrase or action that is used by everyone for the same skill you are teaching / asking for
  • Don’t take your dog to the max! End training sessions on a positive note and if your dog isn’t getting it – give him something easy to do then try again / take a break or leave it for the day
  • Your dog will pick up on the emotions of the people around them, bear this in mind when doing a training session as you might need to leave it for the day and pick up again tomorrow!
  • Initial meet and greets with unknown dogs (and people) should be short – a quick sniff can be sufficient.

Unvaccinated puppies - when to go out and about:
  • If you have a puppy and they are unvaccinated they can meet other dogs providing you are certain they are fully vaccinated themselves.  Their own vaccination regime will determine when they are allowed to venture out on foot – this can be up to 4 weeks after their 2nd vaccination – so check with us when it will be safe to do so
  • Unvaccinated puppy status doesn't mean you cant go anyway!  From the time you pick your pup up until 12-16 weeks your dog is being moulded to the world around them - people / pets / their home environment and the big outside world.  This is a critical time to help them experience as much as possible in a positive way - another reason to learn your dog's body language and facial expressions, you can spot when they are becoming uncomfortable and either change the situation or remove them from it
  • Carrying your puppy to experience different things, travelling in the car and sitting in a stationary car watching the world go by or consider a buggy e.g. for larger puppies (providing your puppy is comfortable with this - body language check!) will help with these early socialisation and habituation needs
  • If you have an adult dog that isn't vaccinated you don't have to keep them in like you do a puppy - continue as normal but get them booked in for their vaccinations as soon as possible

The Vets!
  • The vets visit!  We want all dogs to be as comfortable as they can when visiting us.  For puppies, frequent visits to see our nursing team, will help them get used to coming to see us - they will need to visit a number of times throughout their life, even if super healthy, so we are keen to help them settle in!  (These visits a are free if your pet is signed onto our MVP Care Plan - for more details click here.)  We offer nurse lead confidence consults for our anxious patients, please get in touch for more information and advice
  • You don't have to conform to the waiting room experience when visiting us!  This is a great time to use your dog body language and facial expression knowledge - often dogs that are " being silly / being naughty / not listening to you / will not sit / barking at others / being over excited " ... are actually feeling anxious about being here and need help.  Waiting in the car, waiting outside, waiting by our backdoor are all options and don't forget we do house calls too!

Dog training classes / activities:
  • If you are looking into your own local dog training providers (** see below) check their experience, qualifications, reviews but importantly check which dog training Associations they are members of.  Check the Association is a member organisation of the Animal Training and Behaviour Council ( ) – this means the trainer will have suitable qualifications, experience and be working to a good minimum standard.
  • Before using a dog trainer – consider visiting a class / activity, so you are comfortable with the setting and the trainer.  Ask about their vaccination policy
  • Check class sizes – starting with small classes to let your dog settle in
  • If your dog is a little anxious with new places, people or other pets, ask your chosen trainer for a 1-2-1 session.  This could be in class, at home or an outside setting such as an enclosed dog field or out on a walk
  • If you dog becomes disruptive in class – take time out or consider ending the class early.  Don’t be offended if you are asked to leave the class – this is done with your dog’s best interest at heart.  It’s likely they are overwhelmed, anxious and/or frustrated and continuing the class could make it an unpleasant experience for them.  But make sure you speak to your trainer and get advice about helping your dog before the next class
  • If your dog is unwell or in season – do not let them mix with other dogs
  • And finally - if you are not getting on with your dog trainer then please seek out another.  Good quality training classes and a trainer you can trust is worth its weight in gold!
** Trusted Dog Trainers in our area: