In Cumbria Canine Services, Training Tips

Why go to puppy class?

At Cumbria Canine Services we are now in the middle of our first set of puppy classes, being held at Seaton Village Hall and Ullock Village Hall.  See here for details. It has been really interesting to see how the relationships between owners and puppies develops in just a few short weeks.  When you attend a class there are lots of benefits. Puppy training helps to develop a curiosity and interest from the puppy to the owners, and a good class will encourage this partnership to explore the world together.

Here are my top four exercises that I teach in puppy class that I have used in the real world when living with, walking with and enjoying life with my dog.

  1. Settle – It’s really nice to be able to take your dog somewhere, throw down a mat, and  receive compliments on how well behaved your dog is.  Living in Cumbria, with so many dog friendly pubs – for example in Keswick the ability to settle means your dog doesn’t have to be left out of days out.
  2. Leave it – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this!  I use it for smelly things found on the beach, livestock (even though my dogs will be on lead, I don’t want them to eyeball sheep or cows), other dogs, other dogs toys…you get the idea!
  3. Target the hand – I use this for sending my dogs under stiles/fences, for targeted walking where I don’t want them to pay attention to another dog/picnic/child with food on their face!
  4.  Recall – So important, in this day and age to be able to call your dog away from distractions.  The more times you successfully get this right when it doesn’t matter, your chances of it working when you need it to increase.  Below you will see Larry the labrador starting his recall in class – lovely to see how happy he is to return to his owner.

Of course there are lots of other things covered during puppy classes, and for each topic, I always try to relate it to the real world, and how it can benefit the owner and their pup.  A lot of the benefits are less easily quantified – how do you put a measure on the difference on week 3 when the owner comes in, with their pup hanging off their every word?  To know that you have helped create a lasting partnership is a wonderful feeling.

Having worked in rescue for a number of years, I know first hand how important it is to get the first year right, and the terrible consequences when the relationship fails.

I would love to know your vital exercises, what do you consider essential for your dog to know?


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