At Orvis UK we know dogs; our dogs don’t just live with us, they come to work with us, they co-pilot the journeys we take. Our love of dogs and the experiences we have with them has given us monumental knowledge about how to tame the wolf in our living room. We share a lot of our advice on how to train your dogs, through our “Guide to Dogs“.
Our Managing Director’s Personal Assistant, Jane Martin has six Border Collies; Bunty, Leo, Darcy, Tizzy, Connie and Grace all incredibly intelligent and regular obedience competitors. Jane and Darcy have won their way up to the top open class in the country. So we think Jane and her pack are perfect for the job!
Jane’s top tip: “Training is a great way of improving your bond with your dog. Whether you want to compete in some kind of sport or be able to shake hands for a biscuit, the act of teaching is a positive interaction between you and your beloved dog. It takes you away from the stresses and strains of modern-day life and can improve your dog’s mental health too.” Jane trains her pack with positive rewards and play-based methods, this sounds a bit daunting if you haven’t done this sort of thing before, but it’s key to remember to have fun with your dog whilst shaping their behaviour.
Where do you even start… There are lots of ways to start, a dog club, online videos, and books. All should be positive in their suggestions and remember, that just like us, all dogs are different and what excites one may not work for another.
Jane’s first dog Sadie screamed with excitement through the first time she attended an obedience club. The people were supportive and encouraged Jane to return and not be embarrassed about their first go. We are so glad they did as she now excels at teaching and competing, brining a fountain of knowledge to the Orvis pack. Be inspired to have a go and keep trying, even if you just try it for fun it’s a great way to bond with your four-legged friend!
Jane’s not our only resident Dog expert – We also caught up with Richard Banbury, Director of European sales, who believes training is an excellent way to bond with your dog. Richard’s top tips: “One of the key things is building a relationship, and being able to maintain eye contact and connection with your young dog. If you feed dry kibble, try splitting their daily feed in half and use one half to reward positive behaviour.”
Dog training takes time, patience and commitment. It’s key to get the basics down first and build slowly.
In the early training stages, your dog should be able to follow you in the “heel” position, remaining at your pace beside you and stopping when you stop, before introducing the lead. Not only is this important for safety it also makes sure your dog will not pull. Fighting the lead and pulling is very hard to correct, it is dangerous for both owner and dog and can lead to injury. Walking to “heel” and a strong and immediate recall, regardless of distractions are the key foundations to educating your dog.
Dogs are impressionable like children, socialisation with other dogs and people makes a significant impact on behavioural traits. Obsessive attention from an owner in isolation can lead to the dog becoming anxious. This anxiety may manifest itself in destructive behaviour towards other dogs, people or belongings. If you can, puppy clubs are a great way to socialise from an early age and are great fun for everyone!
All in all, training your canine companion suitably is about more than simply wanting them to perform tricks or pulling on the lead a bit less. It is instead about coaching your dog so that you can co-exist in harmony and share life’s adventures with ease.