The Pet Behaviour Centre
FAQ's Picture

Dog Training FAQ's

All training is individual.  If work is required with regard to your dog interacting with other dogs, then a variety of dogs can be provided so that the work is structured around controlled situations.

Who can come?
It is better that all family members who are interested in the dog attend at least one lesson.  Almost 70% of the time is spent educating family members, rather than the dog.  Full written material is given to help you remember what has been taught, explaining how and why the behaviour started and is being maintained.  Therefore members of the family who cannot attend will still have instruction.

How long is each lesson?
Each lesson lasts for one half hours.

Where do the lessons take place?
Lessons are available Mondays to Saturdays between 10.00 and 5.00 at the Pet Behaviour centre or by arrangement in your own home.  Home visit can be conducted during the day or in the evenings.

At what age, should I start training my dog?
Training can begin at eight or nine weeks of age.  Your puppy is learning from the moment you get it.  Therefore, you should start to train the dog within days of the puppy arriving.  If your puppy has not finished its vaccination course, then training must be done at home, and a home visit is required.

If your dog is older or the puppy has finished its vaccination course, then training can be done at the Pet Behaviour centre.

Dogs that are older have often learnt inappropriate behaviours.  Owners are therefore asked to come with a list of what they want the dog to start and stop doing.  The list is then prioritised and the lesson structured around the individual requirements.

Is my dog too old?
It is never too late to train your dog. It may be harder and take longer but improvements can still be made.  The oldest dog, I have worked with was a collie of 101/2 years, which had major behavioural problems of jumping up, aggression towards other dogs, and escaping from the house into a major road. This dog later appeared in two films!

How many lessons are required?
This depends upon the number of inappropriate behaviours that are exhibited.  Some people like to have one lesson, followed by an interval of several weeks in which to practise before taking another lesson.
Often one lesson is sufficient for minor problems such as pulling on the lead or jumping up on people.  The option is always available to return for another visit.
If there has been no training whatsoever then you may require four lessons spread over 10 to 12 weeks.

What should I do before the lesson?
In general, the dog should not be fed on the day of the lesson.  This will help create a motivation to learn and will also strengthen the learning process.  You should bring some of the normal food with you, and anything that is particular treat for the dog e.g. cooked ham or chicken, cheese, sausage.

Remember to bring a list of what you want the dog to start and stop doing.

What training methods are used?
All training methods are rewards based. In general, clicker training is used to help speed up the learning process for both dog and owner.

What is clicker training?
Clicker training, also known as operant conditioning, is a proven psychological technique, where the arrival of a reward is associated with a sound.  It is the same technique used by marine mammal trainers to train dolphins, except they use the whistle, which indicates the imminent arrival of a fish reward.
Many service dogs, including dogs for people with disabilities are trained using clicker training.  Quite complicated behaviours, e.g. opening and closing dogs, taking clothes out of the washing machine are generally taught using clicker training methods.

Why don't you run group training sessions?
Unfortunately many group classes contain a variety of dogs in terms of ages and behaviours.  If you have a young dog or a timid dog then you might find classes have older aggressive dogs in the class. You may find that one particular person, and their dog takes up most of the class time, because of the particular problem exhibited.  You may be excluded from the class, because your dog barks with excitement and disrupts the other dogs.

If you have a young dog it needs to have a quiet atmosphere in which to learn.  You do not expect your children to do their homework, whilst watching TV. As learning progresses controllable distractions can be added into the learning environment. In an individual situation learning can be accelerated.  Later, when the dog has learnt its basic commands you can attend group training to use the other dogs as a reservoir of distractions.

Telephone: (01) 4949800 Fax: (01) 4932158 Email: [email protected]