Training your puppy with me is simple and enjoyable both for you and your dog. I use reward based methods only, which are kind, effective and supported by animal learning theory and research.
My approach can be described as "dog-oriented teaching" as I emphasize the fact that not only dogs need to learn how to live in our society but also we should understand and respect their needs.
PUPPY SOCIALIZATION & TRAINING CLASSES
Dogs & the City offers puppy classes where puppies are trained in a large proportion off-lead. The program, inspired by Dr Ian Dunbar's Sirius school, is designed to teach puppies that control does not come from the physical attachment to the owner but from the bond, communication and mutual respect that builds between human and canine during well-designed training.
Classes are fun and held in a relaxed atmosphere to provide a friendly environment both for you and your puppy. There are no more than 7 puppies in a group so you will receive plenty of individual attention.
Classes are held indoors in a hall in North West Edinburgh (Boswall Parkway, EH5) but if weather permits we are using outdoor space adjoining the hall.
The course is divided into two parts, each lasting 8 weeks. The second part, Level 2, is of course optional.
The first part covers plenty of supervised socialisation with other puppies and people and the following skills: name recognition, two types of off the lead recalls – fun, loose (this way, follow me) and more strict one, come (close enough so you can reach and hold your dog’s collar or harness – a very important part of recall, that prevents a dog avoiding the lead being put on in the future), both recalls practiced away from four- and two-legged playmates, walking on a loose lead without distractions, three basic positions: sit, down, stand, staying in both sit and down when the owner walks away (distance) and whilst standing close to the puppy (duration), leave (objects like food treats and toys both held by people and left on the floor), drop (letting go of anything that puppy is holding in his mouth), watch (an attention getting and concentration on the handler exercise, an eye contact with the owner on cue), by me (a hang around, do not walk away command, more relaxed than a stay as a puppy is allowed to choose a position and where to be as long as it is close to the owner – this command prevents dogs from wandering, walking or running away from the owners when off the lead), sending to bed, waiting politely by a bowl during meal times, sitting patiently when being petted, accepting all types of handling, brushing and nail trimming, politely asking for attention and play instead of jumping up and some more impulse control games. Also - if the time permits – we will teach the puppies a few useful and bonding tricks, such like targeting a hand, giving paw, pick-a-boo and a slalom between owner's legs. We will also assure you know how to appropriately and successfully handle all typical problematic puppy behaviours like mouthing, chewing, toilet training, jumping, whining and barking, and anything else that you find yourself having difficulties with.
At the end of each class there will be carefully prepared enrichment play area for the puppies designed to introduce them to all sorts of new experiences, like different types of surfaces, every day use objects (hoovers, mops etc), narrow spaces (agility tunnel, cardboard boxes with tasty treats inside them for the dogs to find), elevations and more. The owners are welcome to bring anything that their puppy is afraid of – we will work through it together :)
After each class all students will receive an e-mail with all the exercises that we introduced that week, covering all the subjects that we discussed and more. You will receive a lot of useful information on canine communication system, dogs body language, the way the perceive the world, animal learning theory, rules of successful training, different ways of interacting with your dog to appropriately exercise his body and stimulate his mind, few ideas of nose work and search games, and more.
Even though we will be mainly using food rewards during the classes, we will also teach you how to appropriately (and safely) play with your puppy and how to successfully use toys and games in training. We will also cover the subject of life rewards to assure you have a variety of reinforcements in your disposal by the end of the course and know how not to get dependent on treats for your dog's obedience whilst using them to teach new skills.
The course ends with the Kennel Club Puppy Foundation Assessment.
"Puppy level 1" course is designed for puppies up to 20 weeks of age at the start of the course. If your puppy is older but you are looking for classes to attend anyway, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.
"Puppy Level 2" is designed for those who graduated from Level 1 at Dogs & the City Puppy Classes and covers: getting into heel position, walking on the loose lead amongst distractions, staying in stand position whilst the owner walks away but also when the puppy is being touched (useful for grooming, cleaning, vet checks etc), changing positions (sit, down, stand) on a distance, advanced leave (leaving objects held by strangers, performing other tasks (listening to owners’ commands) in the presence of distractions like food or toys lying next to the puppy on the floor, leaving treats and toys thrown and dropped by the owner), staying in sit/down/stand position with distractions, emergency stay (suddenly leaving the dog behind when walking), back command (walking backwards to move away, giving space), recall to come while ignoring food and toys lying on the floor and – if time permits – introduction to clicker training and sending away plus such tricks as spin, roll over and bow. We will also work on everyday skills like, polite behaviour at the door, polite greeting, waiting politely when the owners have a conversation, walking on the lead between other dogs and people and recall away from the crowd.
This part of the course will prepare you for the Bronze Award of the the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme with the exam being held at the end of the course. Obviously the exam is not obligatory, but there will be the opportunity to take it for those who feel ready and would like to give it a try.
During both courses owners will be taught how to understand canine communication, how dogs learn and process information and what to do to live a happy and relaxed life with our four-legged friends.
My approach is very dog-centred — teaching dogs how to behave and fit into human lifestyles is as important for me as teaching people how to understand and respect their dogs. In short: how to live a harmonious life together.
Please note that spaces are strictly limited to 7 puppies and are allocated on 'first come first served' basis. You need to enrol before coming in.
I am looking forward to meeting you and your puppy!
For more information and dates of upcoming courses please refer to the News section of the website.
ONE-TO-ONE PUPPY TRAINING
The sessions are held in your house and garden, and your local area (if needed we can go for a walk on the lead around your neighbourhood, off lead to your local park or to a café or a pub).
We can meet regularly or have just one private session if that’s what is required.
Types of private sesseions:
- Choosing a puppy – before you get a dog visit, consultation during which I will help you choose the right puppy for your family, from choosing the breed and breeder to choosing and picking up the actual puppy
- Preparing for the arrival of the new puppy – I will come and help you prepare for the arrival of the new family member and set you up for the success to make sure you will start your journey together well
- Puppy Visits – for new puppy owners, to help the puppy settle down in the new home and make sure you get things right straight from the start; I will also consult you on all the issues you may already be having from jumping up, mouthing, chewing to staying at home alone and socialisation
- Obedience training – at any level (from basic to advanced), anything that you find important and useful
- Tailored training – if you only need help with one particular problem
- Behaviour consolations – anything that you may struggle with or are not sure how to handle, like fearfulness around dogs or people, fear at the vet’s office, introducing the new puppy to a cat, another dog or any other family pet, assuring best relationship between the new puppy and the children in the family etc
Report available upon request.
Please click here to check the prices of individual sessions.
As a trainer I am abided by The Guild of Dog Trainers Values and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers code of ethics.