Basics of Dog Training

Basics of Dog Training

It’s essential for Dog owners to know certain basic factors that determine your relationship with your Dog and can go a long way in training him effectively.

Before you begin training your dog, it is absolutely essential that you build a loving bond with him. This is important as it helps you to understand his or hers needs and instincts and also allows your dog to have complete trust in you.

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How To Bond With Your Dog

Building a bond with your dog is the first and the most crucial step involved in training him successfully. As soon as you bring your dog home, you must first try to develop a caring and loving relationship with him in order to win his trust and confidence. At the end of the day you want him to be your best friend. Or in our case my best spoilt friend ha ha.

When Dogs are secure in the knowledge that they belong to the family, they are more likely to respond better to their owners’ training commands. Just like with any relationship, there must be mutual trust and respect between you and your dog.

Trust takes time to develop and respect comes from defining boundaries and treating any breach of those boundaries with firmness and fairness.

Our Hudson was rescued from a shelter and it took him 3 months to come anywhere near me. I hate to think what kind of life he had before he came to us. Needless to say he is my best friend now. He is also obedient and there is a mutual trust and respect between us.

Without enforceable limitations, respect can’t be developed. And when there is no respect, building a bond with your dog is almost impossible.

4 Golden Rules To Building A Relationship With Your Dog :

  • Spend quality time together;
  • Take him out in the world and experience life together;
  • Establish and promote a level of mutual respect; and
  • Develop a way of communicating to understand each other’s needs.

Building a bond with your dog will not only help you manage him better but will also make your dog calm, quiet and an extremely well-adjusted friend.

Love Your Dog and He Will Love You back

Once you’re successful in building a bond with your dog, you can rest assured that training him and teaching him new and clever tricks will be a stroll in the park.

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How Your Dog Learns…

Your dog’s learning period can be divided into five phases:

The Teaching Phase – This is the phase where you must physically demonstrate to your dog exactly what you want him to do.

The Practicing Phase – Practice makes Perfect. Once a lesson is learnt, practice with your dog what you have just taught him.

The Generalizing Phase – Here you must continue practicing with your dog in different locations and in an environment with a few distractions. You can take your dog out for a walk, or to a nearby park and command him to practice whatever you’ve taught him.

Practicing the learned lessons in multiple locations and in the presence of small distractions will help him learn and retain lessons better .

The Testing Phase – Once you’re sure that your dog has achieved almost 90% success….he responds correctly almost every time you give a command, you must start testing his accuracy in newer locations with a lot of distractions.

Example: Take him to the local shopping centre and ask him to obey your command. He may not come up with the correct response the very first time you do this, but you must not lose hope.

The idea is to test your dog to see how he responds in an environment which is new to him. Set-up a situation where you are in control of the environment and your dog.

There are only 2 possibilities:

  • Your dog succeeds!!! (Trumpets please!)
  • In case your dog fails, re-examine the situation. Review and/or change your training. Then try testing again.

Keep on testing until he succeeds. Follow the rule of the 3 Ps – patience, persistence, praise.

Internalizing PhaseFinally, comes the extremely rewarding phase where your dog does everything he is taught to do even without your commands.


  • Never tell off your dog if he fails. It’s not his fault. You have failed as a trainer!
  • You must be patient and persistent for your efforts to show rewards.
  • Appreciate and love your dog when he does it right! A little encouragement will work wonders for your dog.

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It is extremely important to build a bond and frienship with your dog. You must both have a mutual respect for each other and if your dog is trained it will enhance your friendship and all aspects of your life together.

If you have any comments or feedback please feel free to drop me a line.




Retractable Dog Leads

I have wanted to write an article on these for a long time. Some people swear by these and others are very sceptical as to how to use them.

I have owned retractable dog leads in the past but I can hold my hands up as I don’t own one now. There is a very good reason for that. I live in a city where there are no open fields or wide walkways to walk our dogs. If I used one now it would be far too dangerous as you need to have eyes in the back of our head to see dangerous road users, kids on scooters and people using electric scooters on footpaths. I’m afraid in this day and age walking on a footpath can be quite dangerous.

When I lived in England, a few years ago, I was lucky enough to live in a village surrounded by lots of fields where we could walk our dog safely. Whilst there I had a retractable lead for our Miniature Schnauzer. The lead was great as I could walk in the fields near the road and let her run around happily whilst being able to control her if she got too near the road.

I have also heard bad press on some extendable dog leads. There are reports of them failing and falling apart. I have never heard of them falling apart or failing but I guess I have always bought good quality items for my dogs. I believe good quality is essential as at the end of the day you love your dog and want to make sure they are safe.

How do you choose a Retractable Dog Lead?

  1. The Length – There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing its length. For starters who will be walking the dog? If it’s a young child then I would go for a shorter length just in case they are not fully in control as there is an element of danger. Also, if its too long either for a child, or adult, there is the chance of it getting tangled. If you have lots of open areas then a long lead is great for your dog, but if there is dense woodland, a shorter one is better to prevent tangling.
  2. The Size – These leads come in all shapes, lengths, colours and sizes. You need to choose one that is suitable for not only your dog but for yourself. If you are walking mile upon mile you don’t want to be lugging around a huge hefty one as you will end up with tired and sore arms. Choose one that will be efficient and easy for you to carry about.
  3. Grip / Comfort – Think about how you will be using the lead. Is your dog well-behaved or one that likes to round around like a maniac and ignores everything you say. If the latter, make sure the grip is well padded and comfortable as there is going to be lots of pulling and jarring. You can also purchase these with non-slip grips and ones that are ergonomically designed.
  4. Colour – These leads come in all sorts of colouful designs. It is a good idea to choose one that when you put it down it doesn’t get lost. If you are prone to forgetting things you can even buy a luminous one !!!! These are available at or
  5. Mechanism – There are two main types of mechanisms. One that purely stops the tape or cord running out any further by pressing a button and another that can lock the cord in place without having to keep the button pressed down. Both are just as good as each other so it’s a preferential choice.
  6. Cord or Tape? – The choice here really depends on your dog. A cord type is the most common as they are lightweight and ideal for smaller dogs. You do however run more of a risk of injury with a cord. The tape type is stronger and tends to be heavier in design. These are more ideal for larger dogs but can still be used for smaller if need be.
  7. Accessories – You can get all sorts of accessories for you lead. The most common are lights, poo bag holders and treat pouches.


A retractable dog lead can be a great addition to your pets accessories. It gives your dog a lot more freedom and exercise and can make your walks far more enjoyable for your dog and for yourself. Make sure you train him or her slowly, varying the lengths of the lead. Don’t just let them run amok and do whatever they want as this behaviour can ultimately lead to an accident.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment



Dog Harness Sizing Guide, the key to getting it right

As I have mentioned before, the safety and comfort of your dog is of the utmost importance.

When choosing your harness you will be taking into account the breed, the size, how much hair he or she has, the body type, the personality and which type of harness they require.

If your dog is a flat faced breed such as a Pug (see Medium Sized Dogs in the guide) you will need to take into consideration the design needs to protect your loved one from excess pressure on the neck and chest. An easy walk harness is handy for a Dog that pulls and a front clip harness is best for bigger dogs. There certainly is a huge market for harnesses and many different designs.

So, when purchasing your harness one of the most important things to consider is getting the right size. If you are buying online and you are unsure of the size there are many adjustable harnesses that are available. There are many choices at and

Below you will find a few tips on sizing to help you in your choice.

Remember, snug and comfort fit

Very much like the collars a two finger snug fit is a good measure of comfort. Also, measure your pooch with a piece of string or a soft tape measure.

The GIRTH is measured as the widest part of your dog’s chest.

XX SMALL (Up to 2.5 Kg)

Common Breeds, Chihuahua and Teacup terrier

Girth 20 – 25 Cms

Recommeneded Lead Width 8 mm


X SMALL (2.5 – 5 Kg)


Common Breeds, Miniature Dachshund, Pomeranian Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle

Girth 23 – 40 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 10 mm


SMALL (5-11 Kg)


Common Breeds, Pekingese, Miniature Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, Pug

Girth 33 – 60 Cms

Recommeneded Lead Width 16 mm


MEDIUM (Up to 25 Kg)


Common Breeds, Border Collie, Beagle, English and French Bulldogs

Girth 45 – 75 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 19 mm


LARGE (Up to 35 Kg)


Common Breeds, Dalmation, Boxer, Labrador, Weimaraner, Golden Retriever

Girth 55 – 100 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 25 mm and 2 ply for extra strength


X-Large (35 Kg +)


Common Breeds, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Great Dane

Girth 70 – 115 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 38 mm and 2 ply for extra strength





So just like Leads and Collars there is more to buying a Harness than just looking for the prettiest thing hanging in a pet shop. As always comfort and safety are paramount.

If you have any comments or feedback please feel free to drop me a line.


Dog Collar Sizing Guide, a very Important Aspect.

I have certainly been in this situation where I am looking forward to my new best friend coming home and I am out buying everything he or she will need. OK, I have a smart new bed, new food bowls, more toys than they will ever play with and I need a nice lead and collar. Hmmm so what size collar is he ? Is there a dog collar sizing guide? How wide does it need to be ? What does it need to be made of ? Oh dear this is getting complicated.

So here are a few tips to help you make the right choice. There are hundreds to choose from at and

A Dog Collar Should be a Snug Fit

When choosing the right collar you should ensure that two fingers fit snugly between the dog’s neck and their collar. You can measure by using a flexible soft tape measure or by using a piece of string and then putting it beside a ruler or tape measure.

XX SMALL (Up to 2.5 Kgs)

Common Breeds, Chihuahua and Teacup Yorkshire Terrier

Neck 15 – 20 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 8 mm

X SMALL (2.5 – 5 Kgs)

Neck 20 – 30 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 10 mm

SMALL (5 – 11 Kgs)

Neck 25 – 35 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 16 mm                                                            

MEDIUM (Up to 25 Kgs)

Neck 35 – 50 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 19 mm

LARGE (Up to 35 Kgs)

Neck 40 – 65 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 25mm and 2 ply for extra strength

X-LARGE (35 Kgs +)

Common Breeds, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Great Dane

Neck 60 – 75 Cms

Recommended Lead Width 38 mm and 2 ply for extra strength

Collar Width

Not only should you be choosing the right length collar but also the correct width. There is no point in having a flimsy long thin collar on a large dog. Npt only is it likely to break if he pulls but also it would cause a lot of pain and discomfort by cutting into its neck.

Recommended sizes are below.

X SMALL (2.5 – 5 Kgs)

Neck 20 – 30 Cms

Collar Width 20 mm

SMALL (5 – 11 Kgs)

Neck 25 – 35 Cms

Collar Width 20 mm

MEDIUM (Up to 25 Kgs)

Neck 35 – 50 Cms

Collar Width 25 – 40 mm

LARGE (Up to 35 Kgs)

Neck 40 – 65 Cms

Collar Width 25 – 40 mm


Measuring for Martingale Collars

If you own a Greyhound or similar breed you will need to measure three diameters to determine the correct size. Make sure you use a soft tape measure or piece of string and measure at points A, B and C.

A – This point needs to be adjustable so that it measures the largest part of the head so that a collar may be placed easily into position (C).

B – This shoes the correct position of the Martingale when under pressure to restrain.

C – The neck size where the collar is relaxed.

One of the best places to buy one of these is or


So as you can see there is more to buying the correct collar and lead than just popping to your local pet store and buying any old thing.

If you have any comments or feedback please feel free to drop me a line.


Choosing the best lead and collar for training your dog

Pet shops and online stores are full of different types of leads / leashes and collars. As mentioned before they can be made from leather, nylon and other synthetic materials. I have lost count of the amount of tacky supposedly “designer” leads and collars there are out there covered in bling but these are hardly any use if you want to train your dog to walk confidently beside you. Besides, with some I’ve seen there’s a good chance the owner and dog will be blinded by the bling !!!!!

My personal favourite is the good old flat collar and lead. I have never had any problems with my dogs with one of these. However, our little Nelly is so small you just cannot use one of those. Therefore, we have to go for a Harness. I would hate to put any pressure on her trachea by making her wear a flat collar as she is so fragile.

When you are starting your training with a young dog the correct choice can make a huge difference in your training and walking. Just remember when you have a young dog it is a good idea to get a lead, collar or harness that is made of strong durable material as the youngsters do like a bit of a chew.

If your dog barks, a Martingale Collar is useful

The idea of these collars is to apply uniform pressure to the dog’s neck when they pull. As soon as the dog feels the artem-sapegin-Ugg-EIfzy0c-unsplash.jpgpressure and following constriction it is likely to heel. Be aware the pressure and constriction is only momentary. Due to the design they are made from high quality durable materials so not to cause discomfort for your dog.

These collars are also used on dogs who will try to back out of their collar and for dogs with small heads like Greyhounds.

Head Collars

Head collars are designed to prevent pulling, jumping and lunging. These are extremely popular in the dog training world but you must be sure it is fitted correctly. If in doubt ask a pro.

The collar acts like a horse halter as it fits around the dog’s snout and behind it is ears. This ensures that when your dog pulls the harness redirects it is head and helps him or her to stay calm and refrain from pulling again.

Good points to note are that there is no choking involved, it is fully adjustable for a comfortable fit and your dog can still drink, eat and bark away happily.

No Pull Dog Harness

These are designed to pull your dog to your side if they try to pull from you. The difference between these and standard harnesses is that these have the lead attachment on the front and to the side. Normal harnesses have the attachment on the back.

If your dog tries to pull away from you then the harness will apply pressure to your dog’s chest therefore preventing them pulling forward with their full weight.

As with the head collars there is no choking involved and due to the added padding it is extra comfortable for your dog.

Slip Rope Lead

I have mentioned these before as they are quick and easy to use. These can be a big advantage if you have a bouncy energetic puppy. They fit over your dog’s head and adjusts around it is neck. They are also very good for dog’s that are liable to try to pull if over it is head and run off without any notice. This is because they loop while tighten automatically.

My only words of advice for these are please be very careful if using these with puppies. Remember they are fragile and it can be very easy to over exert yourself if trying to calm down your puppy.


So here are just a handful of examples of the type of training leads and collars you can but for your dog. The list could go on and on. Remember, if you are shopping online, one lead may be called something in the UK but something completely different in the US. Try or

If you have any tips, great ideas, or comments, please drop me a line.