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My go to Focus & Impulse Control game… Being a working breed specialist, I often train excitable young dogs, and I love starting a session with a game like this! You teach your dog to suppress the instinct to chase after something that moves and to engage you to access the food thrown out. It helps develop the part of the dog’s brain which controls their own excitement so they can exert more self-control taking pressure off you to be hands-on the whole time. Encouraging eye contact opens a communication channel that can be used to guide your dog through the rest...

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  Words falling on deaf ears The trouble with us humans is we chatter! Dogs can quickly learn to switch off and ignore our words as background noise; this doesn’t pose a problem as we potter about the house nattering BUT can cause an issue when our verbal cues such as a recall fall on deaf ears!   Tool of choice The benefits of a whistle are generally when we have a whistle on, as humans, we go into ‘training mode’ so it is not overused like our words can sometimes be. The sound of a whistle can carry better than...

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Tips and tricks to engage and motivate your dog in training Without an appropriate channel unmet natural instincts can come out in all sorts of problematic ways: running, chasing, playing, hunting and lack of hearing when they’re busy doing something ‘important’ to name a few! It’s not enough to teach them they shouldn’t do these behaviours, to ‘scratch the itch’ you must find their dogs safe opportunities to express natural behaviour.    How to motivate your breed of dog? You might find it interesting to learn about something called “The predatory sequence”. It is a behaviour chain that is made...

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How to speed up a recall Does it feel like your recall is falling on deaf ears when your dog is busy doing something more ‘important’? (Running, chasing, playing, hunting for example!) Are you confident your dog knows what you are asking when you recall them, but they’re choosing whether to come back or not and when they do it’s in their own time and with no sense of urgency?   Accelerate not decelerate You need to find something that is more exciting in your dog’s eyes than anything you might encounter out on a walk. So, ask yourself What...

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So what IS the difference? With positive reinforcement becoming more commonplace in dog training, I often feel the terms are easily mixed up or misunderstood; the word ‘reward’ can sometimes sound as if you are indulging your dog, when really, you are reinforcing the behaviour you want to see more of. So, I will take a moment to explain… There are several methods that can be used to teach dogs something new including: Shaping, where a behaviour is broken into a series of progressive steps. Capturing, where the handler waits for the dog to offer the behaviour, marks, and reward....

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