Training that helps your dog lead a better life


Every year at Crufts, the UK’s largest dog show, dogs and their people can take part in all sorts of exciting competitions. Whether it’s tailgating to music (essentially dancing with dogs) or obedience, or high-speed flyball relay races, it can be a wonderful fun party for performance dogs.

Of course, the reality is that most companion dogs will never enter the dog show ring – what they need to learn are life skills.

The importance of a “good canine citizen” – a dog that can happily co-exist in human society – should not be underestimated. A well-trained dog benefits both humans and dogs by strengthening the bond between animal and owner. And well-behaved dogs are also less likely to be abandoned.

So helping our dogs learn to behave is one of the most important things we can do. But what are the “must have” skills and what factors should we consider before starting the training process? Here are some things to think about.

“Essential” Skills

Owning dogs comes with a lot of responsibilities. The Kennel Club’s Canine Code highlights issues such as what identification your dog should wear on his collar and the importance of cleaning up after your dog has defecated in a public place.

But our dogs must also be able to function in society. That means they need to be able to deal with other people, other dogs, and a whole host of situations. Otherwise, dogs may become fearful or begin to display other problematic behaviors that may decrease their quality of life.

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We can teach young dogs how to behave appropriately by creating positive associations with everyday situations and rewarding the behaviors we want. Allowing them to repeat and repeat good behavior is key.

Recall – your dog comes back to you when called – is one of the most crucial skills for all dogs, and it can be dangerous to others if not learned well.


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