Life is a Reinforcer – Finding Time to Train Your Dog

Many people feel they cannot go to training classes or have the time to train their dog, yet every minute you’re with your dog, every interaction or walk you go on, your dog is learning from you.

We teach our children to say “please” & “thank you” – we can teach our dog the same.  Think of all the things we do for our dogs, all the interactions daily such as;

  • Feeding him/her
  • Opening door to let them in/out
  • Playing with toys
  • Putting lead on prior to walk or taking it off
  • Having them on your lap or stroking them when they come up to you

Every time our dog needs or wants something, it’s an opportunity for you to ask something in return.  Since you do them daily before you know it you have trained lots without taking time out of your busy day to set time aside for training.

How many times have we just put the food down without asking anything or because the dog was running around excited and barking as we prepared it (so therefore we have rewarded that behaviour).  Open the door and let the dog charge out, picked up the toy he has just dumped on your lap and started playing, put your hand out automatically to stoke as he pushes your hand with his head?  I am not saying here to stop this or even limit it, in fact do it more, but ask something in return such as “Sit, Down or Stand”.  Before you know it you will have a well-mannered dog to share life with.



Top 10 Britain’s favourite dogs


  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Border Collie
  4. Yorkshire Terrier
  5. Boxer
  6. Cocker Spaniel
  7. Golden Retriever
  8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  9. Bulldog
  10. West Highland White Terrier

Would you agree with that’s right?



Dogs Remember Even the Stupid Things We Do

Dogs pay more attention to us than previously thought, with new research showing that they remember our actions and other events even when the occurrences didn’t hold any particular importance at the time they happened.

The discovery, reported in Current Biology, adds dogs to the short list of other animals — including rats, pigeons and primates — that are known to have what’s called “episodic memory.” This is opposed to “semantic memory,” which is a recollection of facts and rules that an individual knows without the need of remembering a specific event.

“So the difference between episodic and semantic memory can be thought of as the difference between remembering and knowing,” lead author Claudia Fugazza of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest, Hungary, told Seeker.

People use episodic memory all of the time, she said. For example, if someone asks you, “What did you do first when you woke up this morning?” you could think back to that time, like rewinding video, and play the moment back in your head.

Now it’s known that dogs can do something very similar.

The skill is usually tied to self-awareness, so the findings intriguingly hint that dogs could possess that form of cognition too, although Fugazza says it’s “extremely challenging to design a study to test for it in dogs.”

RELATED: Your Grouchy Dog May Actually Have Autism

As it stands, she and her colleagues Ákos Pogány and Ádám Miklósi had to overcome difficulties in testing canine memory skills. They took advantage of a dog trick called “Do as I Do.” Dogs trained to “Do as I Do” can watch a person perform an action and then do the action themselves. For example, if their owner jumps in the air and then gives the “Do it!” command, the dog would jump in the air too.

Successfully performing the trick is not enough to prove that a dog has episodic memory, though. That’s because they had to demonstrate that dogs remember what they just saw a person do even when they weren’t expecting to be asked or rewarded.

To get around this problem, the researchers first trained 17 dogs to imitate human actions with the “Do as I Do” training method. Next, they did another round of training in which dogs were trained to lie down after watching the human action, no matter what it was. Examples included silly things like grabbing a purse covered with dog photos, or touching an umbrella.

After the dogs had learned to lie down reliably, the researchers surprised them by saying “Do It!” and the dogs did what they saw the person do earlier. In other words, the dogs recalled what they’d seen the person do beforehand, even though they had no particular reason to think they’d need to remember.

RELATED: Would Your Dog Choose Praise Over Food?

In additio to showing that dogs have episodic memory, the study is the first “to assess memory of actions performed by others, not by the subjects themselves,” Fugazza said, adding that it also suggests dogs remember much of what we do all of the time, “although it may seem irrelevant for them.”

“This is a skill,” she continued, “that might be useful for a species living in a rich and complex environment where there is so much to discover, and their human companions can be considered as knowledgeable partners to learn from.”

Next, she and her team plan to investigate whether dogs understand the goals of others, or if they are just imitating the observed movements, regardless of the goal. They are curious about such matters, Fugazza said, because dogs may prove to be a great model for studying the complexity of episodic memory “especially because of their evolutionary and developmental advantage to live in human social groups.”

Originally published on Seeker.


Being Fun is the key to good relationships and control

Yes honestly it’s as simple as that!  If your dog views you as being great fun to hang around with, especially on walks, he/she won’t run off to find fun on its own, such as other dogs/chasing small animals/sniffing in long grass etc.  They want to hang around you more in close proximity, making exercises like “loose leash walking” & “recall” easier, as whether on or off the lead they are with you and want to engage.

All too often I see dogs that have learnt “although I love my owner/s, they are not much fun on walks” – even though those owners went to puppy/dog training classes.  If that dog wants to play with other dogs or chase that squirrel up the tree and the owner tries to recall them, in the dogs mind its rather formal and let’s face it, at best he/she may get a treat for responding to owner, but the reward of play or chase is far greater, so they ignore recall command.

Playing games and teaching your dog what fun you are on walks is the key to a successful partnership.

If your struggling enquire about our Brain Training classes, they are all about fun and making your dog think.


Daily dog walks could end up costing dog owners thousands of pounds as new laws are introduced

New legislation could mean over 8.5million people are at risk of breaking the law, just by walking their dog. This October more green spaces and beaches in England and Wales could introduce new rules either banning dogs altogether, or restricting access at certain times of day and year. But new research from Dogs Trust reveals that nearly 90% of people are unaware that they can influence these laws, and make them more dog friendly.

Currently some green spaces do have Dog Control Orders (DCOs) – legislation which 51% of dog owners have heard of – which outline times that dogs are not allowed to use certain areas, but come October these will become known as Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), and now there is confusion about what this could mean for dogs and their owners.

As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity Dogs Trust is urging people to check with their Local Authorities if there are any existing or planned PSPOs in their area and flag any concerns they may have, before it’s too late. Many dog owners know the restrictions that PSPOs can introduce, such as limiting where they can walk their dog (51%) or in some extreme cases banning dogs from certain areas (48%), but research shows they are unaware that they have the power to influence change.

PSPOs broken down:

PSPOs are being introduced in October 2017, they will replace DCOs

A PSPO can restrict dog walking in public spaces, such as having to keep your dog on the lead or only exercising your dog at certain times of the day or year

Breaching a PSPO can result in a fine

A PSPO can be brought about by a small group of residents complaining or raising concerns about an issue with their Local Authority

Says Lee Paris, Dogs Trust Campaigns Officer:

“Dogs Trust is worried that the majority of dog owners could unknowingly be risking fines and potentially huge restrictions on where they can and can’t walk their dogs. What’s more these changes could be based on just one or two comments from local residents. Unlike Dog Control Orders a Public Space Protection Order can be introduced based on the concerns of a small number of people, but that could have detrimental impact on dogs and their owners’”.

With less than 7% of people knowing that there are existing PSPOs in their area, it leaves a worrying number who just don’t know what could be due to impact them and their dog. Lee continues:

“Whilst we understand the need to ensure green spaces are enjoyable for all involved, we don’t want this to be at the detriment of dogs and their right to enjoy their daily walks. A dog is for life and we don’t want owners to be restricted when and how they enjoy the time with their four legged friend. Instead we hope that our PSPO toolkit, containing leaflets, flyers and a draft letter to send to your Local Authority, will ensure any future orders take a dog friendly approach.”

Over the last month Dogs Trust has consulted on nearly 50 proposed PSPOs.


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