As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But as any dog lover knows, they’ll usually do anything for a treat!
Most of us train our dogs to obey basic commands such as sit, stay, and fetch but it can be great fun and very rewarding to take that training further.
Just this week we’ve seen the perfect example of a beautifully trained dog in the latest Britain’s Got Talent winner, Matisse (though controversy now rages about a stunt double, of all things!).
And do you remember Pudsey, the incredible dancing dog who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2012? Or the Border Collie Gin, who made the final in 2008?
You may never reach the dizzy heights of an audience with Simon Cowell on prime time television but getting involved in some form of dog based activity with your pet can be beneficial to your health and theirs.
Fast, furious and fun
Dog agility is probably the most common activity. It’s fast, furious and helps you build up a strong rapport with your pet, while training them to negotiate the course of obstacles.
The great thing about dog agility is that anyone can take part – whatever the breed of your dog, whether it’s a pedigree or mongrel, a rescue or from a breeder.
The Kennel Club has a handy guide to getting started here.
If you decide that agility is for you and your dog, there are a few training aids that you can use in the garden at home such as jumps, hurdles, slaloms and tunnels.
You’ll also need a ready supply of treats and other aids such as a clicker for positive reinforcement for your dog when they respond to your training.
Staff at our stores will be happy to advise on the best treats to reward your dog, particularly if they have special dietary needs.
Next week we’ll look at other, less energetic ways, to get involved in training your pet!