All your dog training questions answered by an expert
April 06, 2017 15:43

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your dog is ensure they are trained. Why is this? We asked Angus Bradley, Chairman of the Cape Handlers Dog Club to answer these top training questions.

What types of training are there to consider?

There are lots of different types of training available and it really depends on what the pet parent is wanting to achieve with their dog. Is the aim to have fun with your pet, or to teach them to behave well? The most common type of training is about teaching your dog to behave well, to socialise and to be part of the family.

If you want to take dog training to the next level (which is a lot of fun for both dog and owner), there are many options available including competition obedience, agility and dog jumping, flyball, working trials, dog dancing and even carting.

Tell us about the key benefits of training?

A well-trained and socialised dog is a happy dog and a happy dog makes a happy owner. This means being able to take your companion for walks without worrying about aggression towards other dogs or being able to reduce your dogs tendencies to chew or damage furniture. Training can help cement the very special bond between a dog and their pet parent and is fundamental to great communication between the two.

What is the best age to start training?

The younger the dog the better. There are puppy classes from eight weeks, where the owner is taught to bond with their pup and covers very basic obedience. However, it is never too late to train your dog. It will take more time and patience but an older dog can still be trained.

Are there any links between different breeds and training?

All dogs are different, even to the point that no two dogs from the same litter are the same. Each dog has his/her own personality but there are some similarities when we look at breeds. For example, a Border Collie is an active dog, needs a lot of exercise and loves to please its owner, whereas a basset can be laid back and stubborn. Border Collies generally learn quickly, as do German Shepherds, but other breeds can take longer and need a lot of patience.

Are there any products that you would recommend for training?

When starting on the training journey, it's best to have a training pouch for treats as this leaves your hands free to control your dog. However, each dog is different and the owner must identify what the dog responds to as not all dogs are food driven and may prefer a toy. By identifying what the dog responds to, the handler/owner can reward the dog when they correctly listen and follow commands. A sturdy lead, harness or collar are essential, especially for bigger dogs, as they give the owner confidence which is important during training.

Where can we go to train our pets?

There are many training clubs around South Africa. Do your homework on where to train based on what you want to achieve. Here at the Cape Handlers Dog Club in Milnerton, we offer a full range of disciplines and cater for all the needs of both dog and handler and all breeds. We offer fun classes, all levels of competition training and also have dedicated and well-trained dog trainers for home obedience.

We hope this answers some of the questions you may have about training your dog.