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How To Start Your Dog Training

cathy training rocket cocker spaniel with two paws on

Happy New Year! As we look forward to 2020, what’s your New Year’s resolution? More exercise, eat more healthily, learn a new skill? Many of us will be making plans for a better “me”, but what about your dog? How would you go about setting new goals for your dog?

Whether you’d like to make improvements to an already good behaviour or trying to turn around those struggles, we show you how to put a training plan together. For every dog the struggles will be different and in turn so will the solutions.

rocket cocker spaniel dog pulling on the lead 2
Step 1:


Figure out what struggles you would like to work on, write them down. For example:

  • Not listening when out on walks
  • Jumping up at guests
  • Not coming back when called
  • Barking at strangers
  • Stealing food
cathy rocket dog training in the epsom park
Step 2:


To work on the struggles, we have to shape their personalities and brains. The way we do this is through “Concepts”. Concepts are key life skills such as:

  • Calmness
  • Focus
  • Confidence
  • Impulse Control
  • Disengagement
  • Optimism
  • Proximity (Value in being close)
  • Independence
  • Tolerance of frustrations
  • And more…

Think about what concepts your dog is missing or needs to improve on by looking at these struggles altogether. For our 5 month old puppy Rocket, his main struggles are:

  1. Scared and worried by novelty, strange sounds, loud vans
  2. Get very over excited and biting very quickly
  3. Can be very fixated on the environment when out on walks

The three concepts we are working on with him are 1. Optimism, 2. Calmness, and 3. Disengagement. There may be many concepts that your dog needs, but it is not practical to work on them all at once. So we pick so most important three concepts to work on.

Step 3:


Now to the fun part. We play fun training games cleverly designed to target these Concepts. They’re both relationship building and pressure-free. They prepare for the situation, rather than training in the problem. They can be played at home and out-and-about. Remember the golden rule of THREE – Pick three games for each of these concepts and start playing them three mins a day for three weeks.

Below are just some of the games we are playing with Rocket focusing on Optimism, Calmness and Disengagement:

rocket cocker spaniel on boundary game 2

Boundary Game

Learning to settle on a bed and show calmness as well as self control.

Pixel Chihuahua playing noise box game

Noise Box

Fill a container with clean recycling and bottles, scatter daily food in there to find, this helps get him used to all sorts of sounds, movements, textures and novelty. We change it every time and he is growing in confidence each week.

black cocker spaniel puppy returning to owner recall training

Check Me Out

When Rocket is fixated on any particular thing, we wait for him to offer any kind of focus towards us and reward him for it.

In our classes and one-to-one training we help you to identify the concepts needed and show you the games to play to suit you and your dog’s needs.

Also, check out the Sexier Than A Squirrel Challenge, it’s an awesome online training programme set up toYou’ll learn how to train your dog to choose YOU over distractions through simple 3-minute GAMES!



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