2020 started in the usual manner regarding dog training. You had two obvious methods offered to you to train your dog or new puppy; attend a local dog training school or arrange for a private dog trainer. Other forms of training come in books, dvd's, online training and even send your dog away to be trained but with Covid-19 dog training schools which are usually held indoors were closed down over night and, with Government restrictions so did private training.
A friend of mine is undertaking a Lockdown survey. If you would like to take part please go to
Most of these are usually held in village halls and other indoor venues, especially pet dog training; dog dancing and rally. These venues were closed down during lockdown and some are trying to reopen now but most, including my local one, are undertaking a gradual reopening and reviewing the situation quarterly. This will bring us into the winter months when outdoor training is not desirable and then there are no guarantees that dog training classes will be able to resume.
Another problem with indoor classes, for the organisers, is that class numbers will be dramatically reduced due to social distancing, one way systems required and not being permitted to handle equipment and dogs will make matters very difficult both financially and practically. But the puppies and dogs need their social learning and the owners need guidance and support to be able to do that so what else is on offer?
Current Government guidelines allow an outdoor class of up to 5 people and dogs as long as social distancing is observed and we do not share equipment etc. This is a good alternative and I have been attending an agility puppy class located in the idealic Surrey countryside to research my new puppy training book. It does work well at this time of the year but from the end of September to the end of March we are governed by the lack of daylight hours and often bad weather.
These really took off during the national Lockdown from March onwards. I have been using online training programmes for the past two years and there are pro's and con's as in most things. The pro's are that you can fit your dogs training in around your schedule; you save on travelling time and fuel expense and; you can access training that you don't have in your locality such as dog dancing; rally and so on. The con's are that most are designed on a "one size fits all" programme so can't take into account you or your dogs personal needs; you can lose motivation to complete the programme/course and; you could be interpreting the information wrong and destroy your dogs trust in you.
I have to admit I am very fussy who I pay my hard earned cash on and so should you be. My chosen online courses are given by an International trainer and handler who designed her programmes/courses giving clear handouts, videos to watch and an excellent facebook page where you can upload your training clips of you handling your dog for feedback and support. It is everything an online course/programme should be. So be fussy as well and if you are interested in online training then make sure it really is everything you need it to be.
There are many benefits to private, one to one training. I have been doing these for the past month and helping to train puppies and dogs with issues is very rewarding. I travel to the persons home where we train in their garden or meet at a venue where a issue can be addressed. I have found that training in this format progresses your puppy very quickly, much quicker than attending a puppy class or addresses issues in adult dogs quickly and effiectively. However, some dog trainers charge huge sums for their services so you definitely need to shop around or go by recommendations from friends, family or other dog owners with well behaved dogs :-)
Books, DVD's and websites
These are easily found including on this website! But in my defense I am a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor with over 40 years expereince but above all I am a dog mom myself and trained various breeds of dogs to high levels of achievement in various dog sports. So check out the Instructors credentials fully before commiting you and your dog to their training methods.
Books are a good source and so are DVD's, Youtube and other websites but, sometimes there is SO MUCH information out there that oftens contradicts each other that you really don't know which one to choose. Confusing but again all I can recommend is that you do your research first before buying.
And one last thing.......
All of the above works on one condition, your Instructor! Did you know that anyone can set theselves up to be a dog trainer in the UK? They don't have to have any experience, qualifications or even like dogs!!! So in my next Blog on this page I will be discussing how to find a good one and one that suits you and your dogs personal needs.