Training Methods

Paws2Think is a very friendly and happy club. We hope to make all our  handlers feel comfortable and relaxed so that they are able to get the most out  of their training.

The training methods that we employ are based on rewarding the dog behaviour that you want rather than constantly admonishing the behaviour that you don’t. The vast majority of dogs that we see on our courses respond well to this positive reinforcement using rewards of food, praise and, to a lesser extent in class situations, toys. Techniques for the correct use of the collar and lead are also taught.

As a dog club we are more likely to attract owners who have one or more specific dog problems where the “one class fits all” training does not apply at all times during the course. We can offer help in these situations using non-aggressive negative reinforcement techniques (spray –collar) or the use of equipment which allows the handler to gain physical advantage during class training (a head collar). One to one help and advice is also made available where applicable.

We always try to explain the basic theory of our methods, how the dog perceives them and why dogs behave as they do during training. The overall aim of training at the club, irrespective of the techniques employed, is for each handler to gain a better understanding of their dog and to develop a happy and rewarding relationship both within the home and in the outside world.

Equipment

The Collar and Lead

In our experience most dog owners would consider the basic collar and lead as  merely something to attach the dog to them in order to constrain it or stop it  running away. Their choice of these two basic items can be influenced by various  factors such as price, colour and style or of a type bought in the hope that it  would miraculously solve a specific problem they have with their dog. Usually,  more important factors, such as ease of use, suitability for their breed of dog  and the correct fitting of the equipment tend to be secondary considerations.

Having the correct type of equipment for their particular breed of dog makes it easier for our course members to learn and put into practice the techniques taught during our courses.

Collars, leads and various aids that we consider suitable to help with your training can be purchased from the stock we keep at the club and profits from sales form part of our charity fund. We try to purchase good quality items at affordable prices and most are made from nylon webbing material. We also keep a small stock of more expensive bridle leather goods.

As a general rule leads are flat webbing, leather or rope. Chain leads are difficult, if not impossible, to use in training exercises as are, to a lesser extent, slip leads. Check chains instead of collars are useful under certain circumstances and where training has been given for their correct use but should be avoided where possible.

Various suitable types of collar and lead are outlined in the following sections.

Collars

A simple flat collar can be of any material and traditionally have a buckle or more recently a plastic snap fastener. It should be snug but not tight around the neck.

We tend favour the use of split half check collars (see photo).

This is basically two halves of a flat collar joined by a loop of chain with a ring for attachment of the lead. It is fitted exactly the same as a flat collar but does not have the disadvantage of possibly coming over the head if the dog pulls backwards. When fitted correctly the split ends of the collar should not meet when tension is put on the lead ring.

Leads

A lead should be strong enough for the dog’s size, easy to handle and be long  enough to carry out various training exercises at a suitable distance e.g. the  stay exercise at 6 feet away. A lead can be of single length with a clip at one  end and a loop at the other. More adjustable versions are shown below.

This picture shows a “Justa“ lead.

This can be used as a double stranded short lead or a single stranded one of twice the length merely by pulling the handle end on the left of the picture through the captive ring at the base of the clip (top centre).

This picture shows a “police” type lead.

The clip on the right can be attached to any one of the three captive rings on the left to give three lead lengths.

It is less fiddly to use than the Justa.

Head Collars

Although sizes are available for all dog breeds, these are mainly used with larger breeds to get over the physical problem of pulling on the lead.

There are many designs but all are basically a “figure of eight” design. They  pass over the muzzle, cross underneath, then clip at the back of the head .The  point of lead attachment is under the chin rather than behind the neck and  therefore should stop the dog pulling.

It is not always obvious to owners how well these should be fitted and used.  Advice should be sought from experienced trainers to get the best results out of  all types.

Dog Tags

Not only to comply with the Good Citizens Scheme but also to comply with the  Law, any dog, when in a public place MUST be wearing a tag showing as a minimum  requirement the owners name and address.

The penalty for non-compliance can be a fine of thousands of pounds!

Micro-chipping and /or tattooing does not comply with the Law.

Further Information

For more information on collars and leads visit www.kumfi.com For leather versions visit www.pet-needs.co.uk For unique variations on head collars try www.k9bridle.com or www.cannyco.com