Recall training

Teaching your dog recall may be the most important training you can undertake, and the most nerve wracking. The first time you let your dog off the lead can be daunting, especially if they’re already an adult. Luckily for you and all other dog owners, recall training can be easy if done consistently and positively, so here we are to offer you the best tips and tricks for a faultless recall. If you are struggling with recall, we recommend consulting a positive, force free behaviourist.

Firstly, the key to great recall is to reward, reward, reward. To put it simply, you can’t force you do to come back if they don’t want to, what we are aiming for is for your dog to choose to come back to you each and every time. Whether this is done with food, toys or attention, you want your dog to think that coming back to you is the most rewarding choice they can make.

Setting up for success

Perhaps the most important mentality you can adopt when training begins, is setting your dog up for success. In a broad sense, this means not giving them an opportunity to fail.

For example, if you know that your pooch has a big problem with larger dogs, you want to avoid interactions with these at all times, right? Now what if you all of a sudden introduced him to a friendly Great Dane and gave him loads of biscuits? Unfortunately, it probably won’t go too well as you have pushed him way to far past his comfort zone.

 

How to set your dog up for success:

Setting your dog up for success involves two fundamental techniques, Management and antecedent arrangement. Essentially, (in smaller words) this just means organising the environment around your dog to give him the best chance at a rational response to a stimulus.

 

Leads, harnesses and collars

Having a cool new outfit or big shiny collar is something we all love to treat our dogs with. Spoiling them is no new fad, with the UK spending millions of pounds on dog accessories per year! However, there does come a time when we have to consider function over aesthetics. From nervous dog leads, longlines and ‘no pull’ collars, we have outlined the best products fit for your beautiful pup (and how to introduce them).

Body language in nervous dogs

Keeping an eye on your dog’s body language is super important in understanding how they feel about something, and subsequently, how they may react to it. Body language in dogs is quite an in depth subject and we recommend you dive into the details if you’re working with an anxious or reactive dog. However, we’re here to give you the 101 on key behaviours to look out for that are often overlooked.

Control of your dog on a walk

Be it strangers, other dogs or loud noises, sensitive and anxious dogs can react to anything. Knowing your dog and ensuring you have control over them around these obstacles is important. Don’t forget to bear in mind that your dog may be a trigger for someone else’s – so only let them off the leash if you’re confident in their recall and stay within sight!

Having control of your dog in public is easier said than done, whilst many of us are delighted at the prospect of longer days and sunny walks in the park, the bustling green spaces around town can become a challenging place to walk your dog. Having a dog with boundary issues can feel isolating and frustrating – but do not despair! It has recently been shown that more than 70% of all dog’s exhibit anxiety, and so it naturally follows that we have an incredible community of like-minded ‘dog people’ to offer that ear of reassurance. Unfortunately, if your dog is injured approaching a dog on leash, legally, you are responsible for any altercation that may take place – just something to bear in mind when thinking of your recall level.

Introducing your new rescue to a current dog.

We all reach a point where we are ready to add a new addition to the family. Be it human, cat or dog (or something more exotic) it can be a worry if the current household will all accept the newcomer. Generally, these things go smoothly, especially when the newbie is some kind of youngster, however, what about if you’re rescuing an adult dog?

If you are rescuing a dog through WaHF, you have the added challenge that you haven’t been able to meet this dog beforehand. Whilst all dogs can act completely differently in new environments, rest assured that we will give you a complete background on their compatibility with dogs, cats and their ideal home life. It’s just as important to us that they all go to loving and safe homes! The most important message that we can give you when thinking of these new meetings is to stay consistent and take it slow. Whilst these methods may not be available to everyone, using or adapting as many as possible will help towards a smooth introduction.

The roadmap to leaving lockdown – Teaching your dog to ‘settle’

Lots of people think about the joys of having a dog. Long country walks, a new best friend to share your food with and a nice relaxed Sunday lunch at the pub. However, more often than not, these behaviours are put to the test when it comes to real life. Taking your dog to the pub can be stressful. One moment they’re eating something off the floor, the next moment, a group of rugby fans start cheering at the tv and scare your little one – not to mention that staying still for so long can be frustrating when there is so much commotion!

It is surprisingly common for people who understand their dogs to decide to leave them behind when out socialising – and it doesn’t make you a bad owner! With over 70% of dogs experiencing some form of anxiety, the pubs and restaurants that we frequent can be stressful. Understanding your dog first is key. Imagine going to a brand new place, with such strong smells, tons of people wanting to chat to you and play with you, all whilst being expected to sit still? It’s tricky, right?

There is definitely a balance when it comes to taking your little (or big) one out and about. Reading your dog’s body language is the first step before we decide to do anything. Are they panting, yawning, pacing or showing any other signs of stress? If so, it might not be restlessness that is the issue. Bad experiences, overwhelming environments and a lack of desensitisation can all play a part in a dog not settling. But don’t fret, we have outlined our best method to enable your dog to relax in the pub.

(please remember that these tips are not for everyone. If your dog is showing extreme anxiety, fear or stress in these environments, it is probably best to leave them at home for the time being. Consult a qualified ‘force-free’ behaviourist to help your dogs)

The roadmap to leaving lockdown – 6 people outdoors

All of our pups are unique. From play styles, to food preferences, we have learnt how to please them as best as we can. So, it should come as no shock that significant changes to their daily routine can have a strong effect on their behaviour. As we move into more open territory and restrictions ease up, let’s take a mo to understand how our pups come into this. 

This one is for all of our rescue and young dog owners out there! Having a new dog settle into your home can take time, especially if it’s a completely new environment. Some of us have delighted in being able to spend a year at home, living the life of cuddles, companionship and one-to-one love. But, for our dogs, all of a suddenthis has been disrupted and now they feel as though their safe space is compromised – The noise is nothing they’ve experienced and someone’s drinking a glass of wine in their usual loo! Try not to feel too guilty, during the majority of the dreaded lockdown, socialisation was off the table and a surprising amount of all dogs are experiencing anxiety around strangers, noise and boundaries.  

To give you that helping hand in easing your dog through this process, we have outlined some tips to make it all a little easier.  

(please remember that these tips are not for everyone. If your dog is showing extreme anxiety, fear or stress in these environments, it is probably best to leave them with someone for the time being. Consult a qualified ‘force-free’ behaviourist to help your dogs)

The roadmap to leaving lockdown – Returning to work

Moving through the stages of lockdown has been quite honestly exhausting. With the end finally in sight, many of us are still unsure of what our week-to-weeks will look like. Whether you’re working from home full time, back in the office or a combination of the two, helping your dog adjust to the changes can be tiresome and frustrating…

Plenty of dogs experience separation anxiety at some point in their lives. This can range from a, “damn, I’d really rather you didn’t go out, but ok.” to a, “Absolutely not. Do NOT go. I love you so much and I am lost without you. To cope I am going to howl and then DESTROY everything”. Safe to say that we have heard more of the latter. If you haven’t yet left your dog at home for a longer period of time, seeing how they cope left in a different room is a good start. Chances are, unfortunately, they are not going to like it…

But that’s where we come in! We want to give you the best tips to ensure you are setting your dog up for success!  

(please remember that these tips are not for everyone. If your dog is showing extreme anxiety, fear or stress in these environments, it is probably best to leave them with someone for the time being. Consult a qualified ‘force-free’ behaviourist to help your dogs)

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