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Why dog training is more important than ever after lockdown

16/06/2020 - Welcome to Best Behaviour Dog Training

The last few weeks have been strange for pets as well as for people. In this article I’m looking at how dog training can help your family cope with your new way of life.

  • Stronger bond between owners and dog boosts self-esteem and mental health for people and pets
  • Socially distanced dog training is a safe and enjoyable way to interact with other people
  • Regular mental stimulation helps your dog settle in any situation
  • All dogs need socialisation – but especially when the world is changing
  • Safely teach your dog how to cope with meeting people and other pets
  • Helps relieves problems with separation anxiety
  • Brush up on your dog walking etiquette to avoid problems whilst out and about
  • A good relationship with your dog trainer can help you nip behavioural problems in the bud

Dog training is good for you
In these times of social distancing, working from home (or not) and being unable to hug loved ones, it’s inevitable that our mental health will suffer. Humans are social animals. We like to chat, laugh, share a meal and greet each other with a hand shake or a hug. Everyone I talk to online has struggled to stay positive during these times and for most people, their pets have been a Godsend.

Dog training allows us to use our communication skills – albeit in a different way – and satisfies our need to touch another living being. All of those belly rubs, chin chucks and head-in-lap moments help release the feel good hormones that keep stress at bay…..for dogs as well as people.

As well as the benefits of being tactile, the feeling when your dog reaches that “lightbulb moment” and finally understands what you are asking is equivalent to receiving a huge compliment from your boss. There’s no substitute.

Mindfulness is all about acknowledging your thoughts and then moving on before they drive you crazy. To me, dog training feels like a mindfulness practice. Whether you are going out to work (and worrying about it), working from home or not working at all, spending a few minutes a day just focussed on your dog is an excellent way of leaving your worries to one side for a while.

Dog training classes designed to keep you safe
Best Behaviour dog training are re-starting our group classes following the coronavirus lockdown. And it’s important to us that every dog owner feels (and is!) safe in our lessons. After all chatting and being with other dog owners is one of the best experiences anyone can have.

During lockdown, we’ve been working hard to restructure classes so that social distancing can be adhered to at all times. And we’re looking forward to welcoming you back.
 
  • All classes are held outdoors
  • Students are asked to stay in their cars until the instructor invites you onto the training ground – we want to avoid congestion and contact at the gates.
  • Please avoid touching gates, fences, cones and shared training “props”
  • Class sizes are small to allow for social distancing
  • Anybody not adhering to social distancing rules will be asked to leave immediately with no right of refund.
  • Only one person per dog please
  • No spectators for the time being – hopefully the rules can be relaxed in the future but we’re working with government guidelines
  • Please bring your own leads, including a long line (up to 5 metres long)
  • Hand washing before and after each session is essential
  • If government guidelines change we will adapt our training methods – possibly reverting to an online medium if needs be.

How will dog training help your pet?
The benefits of dog training are endless, but as we start easing out of lockdown it’s going to be more helpful than ever. Your dog will have been experiencing a temporarily different world and now we’re asking them to adjust their routine yet again. If you have a puppy – it’s crucial that they don’t miss out on socialisation and training. The experiences and lessons learned in a puppy’s first few months play a big part in shaping their entire life.

Puppy training after lockdown
I can’t stress enough the importance of socialising for puppies. They need to learn doggy manners, have lots of opportunities to discover new things and build their confidence and they need to understand which behaviours are OK and which are not (biting and nipping for example)

Coming along to a socially distanced dog and puppy training class is an excellent opportunity for your pup to watch other dogs at work and learn how to focus their attention on you. As an owner, you will also benefit. Knowing that other puppies get up to mischief and being able to discuss things like house training, fear periods, sleeping and travel training with a qualified person will help you to build confidence in your dog training abilities.

Adolescent dog training
Oh my goodness – being locked down with an adolescent dog is potentially a real challenge. Between the ages of about 6 – 12 months puppies and young dogs seem to forget all they ever knew and temporarily become a whole different character. It’s a confusing time for owners and the support of a dog trainer is always welcome at this time.

Adult dog training
Like humans, dogs never stop learning and they absolutely love it. You or I may pick up a book, play sport or watch a documentary to keep our brains busy. Bored dogs will also find ways to occupy themselves – not all of their solutions will please their owners!

You can satisfy your dog’s urge to interact with the world and learn new things by enrolling in a dog training class. Or by training them at home. Online resources like Dogversity are invaluable – especially if you are unable to join a class.
 
Staying safe on walks – how dog training can help
Have you been restricting yourself to one short (and boring) route for fear of meeting other people? Are you reluctant to take longer walks or visit new places? Do you (rightly) try to avoid touching gates, stiles etc?

In our dog and puppy training courses we discuss ways of staying safe on dog walks so that you can try out different (and more interesting!) routes with confidence.

We look at things like ensuring your dog doesn’t drag you towards people or other dogs. How to implement social distancing without being unfriendly. Feeling confident that your dog won’t create a difficult situation.

Whatever your worries, you can be sure that you’re not the only one. Your classmates may well have some suggestions for walking routes and your trainers will definitely work with you to find a solution and allay your dog walking worries.

Read my article on worry free dog walking
 
If you feel dog training is important after lockdown, you might find these links useful.

Dogversity – online dog training for you to work on at home
How to stay motivated to train your dog
How to teach your puppy good manners

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