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THE HAPPY PUPPY SITE

Dog Training: Obedience, Good Manners, & Fun

Best selling author and dog expert Pippa Mattinson shares her wealth of dog training experience with you. 

  • How to train a puppy
  • Potty training 
  • Puppy games
  • Leash walking
  • How to train a dog
  • Training methods
  • Training tips
  • Online training courses

Dog training isn't a skill we are taught in school. Yet training your dog could be one of the most important jobs you ever undertake. Many of us have little idea of where to start or how to succeed. That all changes when you arrive on this page!

You’ll find answers to your puppy training problems, tips on how to train an older dog and when to get help. And most importantly tips on how to find the right kind of help, and avoid common beginners' mistakes.

Contents

If you can’t find a local trainer, don’t worry. You’ll find the help you need here, together with links to videos and online training courses. Plus you can subscribe to Pippa’s free emails by clicking on the Training Tips link below.

Popular posts

how to train a naughty puppy

How To Train A Naughty Dog: 3 Rules To Help You

Working out how to train a naughty dog can leave even experienced owners feeling stressed. But don’t panic! I’m here to help. You Are Not Alone When you are struggling

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7 Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Behavior in a Week

Here are 7 great ways to improve bad behaviors like door barging, in just a few days. We tend to think of dog training as something that happens in allocated

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loose leash walking

Loose Leash Walking: An Expert Guide to Getting a Relaxing Stroll

Expert Dog Trainer Liz London Brings You A Simple Yet Effective Guide To Successful Loose Leash Walking. Going for a walk with your dog is a great way for you

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Why You Should Train Your Dog?

Most dogs that end up in animal shelters have had little or no obedience training. There is no doubt that training could save your dog’s life and save you a lot of heartache. It also makes your dog a lot more pleasant to live with.

Who wants a bad mannered housemate that shoves you around, doesn’t listen to anything you say and steals your stuff?

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

It's just not true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. With positive reinforcement training you can teach dogs of any age. When I was first learning how to train using modern methods I had huge fun teaching my 15 year old spaniel tricks.  

Of course, it's great when you have a fresh new puppy to play with! 

New Puppy Basics

puppy crying at night

Puppy Crying At Night – Helping Your Pup Settle Into His New Home

A puppy crying at night is a common problem for many new dog owners. It usually boils down to one of a handful of common reasons. And once the cause

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Puppy Potty Training Schedule And Finishing Touches

A puppy potty training schedule is a helpful guide. We’ll give you some examples for 8 week old and three month old puppies. And some tips to complete your potty

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Crate Training A Puppy – The Ultimate Expert Guide

Welcome to our complete guide to crate training a puppy. By professional expert dog trainer, Jo Laurens. Giving you all of the crate training information you are looking for. Find

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Why Is Dog Training Hard?

Most families have a dog in their lives, yet rather like raising kids, no-one teaches you in school, how to do this. We just muddle through as best we can. It needn’t be that way.

Training a dog can be the most fun experience imaginable. And it doesn’t stop once your puppy is grown up. Dog training can give you a life time of pleasure if you go about it in the right way. 

The Three Ds Of Dog Training

When a dog does exactly what you ask, with a happy face and a wagging tail, it’s simply the best feeling! Today we are going to look at one of

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How Force-Free Dog Trainers use Reinforcement To Get Great Results

Dog training is so much easier than it used to be twenty years ago. And so much more fun! So don’t let any previous bad experiences put you off. Focus

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modern dog training

Modern Dog Training – Train Your Puppy Without Force

With the launch of Pippa Mattinson’s new force free Online Dog Training Courses, we take a look at how far our training techniques have come.  Modern dog training methods and

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The Best Way To Train A Dog

I love well behaved dogs, and I love to see people enjoying their dogs. A dog should enhance your life and bring you joy. Happily, that’s exactly what happens if you make a commitment to training your dog. And if train your dog the right way, it isn’t hard at all.

You won’t have to yell or hit your dog. You won’t need to electrocute your dog or stick prongs into his neck. Modern training is all done with smart training techniques and good quality rewards. 

Puppy Training: How To Train Your Puppy & Have Fun!

Modern puppy training is gentle, kind, and fun. So you can start from 8 weeks old when you bring your puppy home.

We start to train our puppies using a sequence of structured games, each one building on the last. Your puppy won't know that they are being trained at all! And the games only take a few minutes.

Positive puppy training - is it too permissive?

Positive Puppy Training – Does It Really Work?

Positive puppy training is hugely popular now.  But does positive dog training really work, and what is the best way to go about it? Author, Pippa Mattinson, takes a look

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Hand Targeting Dog Training: How To Teach Your Puppy To Touch Your Hand

People often say “What should I teach my dog first?” ‘Sit’ and ‘Come’ are popular choices. But hand targeting dog training can be a great choice too. Teaching your dog

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fluffy puppy sitting looking up

3 ways to train your puppy to sit

There are three popular ways to train your puppy to sit. We’re going to look at each one in turn. We’ll  check out the pros and cons. And help you

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You can browse through our puppy articles for more information about game based training. And you can buy my Puppy Games course over on the Dogsnet Training site.

Dog Behavior Training

Fixing behavior problems can be a little challenging, but with time and patience, most bad behaviors can be solved. Often faster than you might expect.  

How to stop a dog from chewing

How To Stop A Dog From Chewing Your Stuff!

Are you among the many who have searched “how to stop a dog from chewing”? Let’s be honest, here. Dogs love to chew. I mean, they love to chew! Chewing

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how to stop a dog jumping up

How To Stop A Dog Jumping Up

Have you finally lost your patience with your dog jumping up on you? This is one behavior that drives almost everyone crazy with their new dog. In fact, most of

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How To Stop Your Dog Stealing

Fed up with your dog stealing your shoes, your kid’s toys, food from the table, and anything else he can grab in his mouth or lay his paws on? You

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Dog School - Do You Need Help?

From puppy kindergarten to canine college, completing your dog's education is an awesome project. But what about getting help? Do you need someone to tell you how to train your dog? Or is it pretty simple? And if you want help - where's the best place to get it? Let's take those in turn. 

Do you need professional help?

If this is your first time, training your puppy at home, by yourself, can be challenging, but it can be done. Up to a point. You'll definitely find puppy obedience training easier with some excellent reference books and some online courses. But there is a lot of free information out there too, in the form of training tips and youtube videos.  So why do I say "up to a point"? 

I say that because teaching a dog to sit and stay for example, without any distractions (which is exactly the right place to begin) does not mean that your puppy or dog will sit and stay while other dogs bounce around them. 

If you want your dog to be obedient in company, you need to practice in company, and to begin with that practice has to be structured and controlled, so that it's easy for your dog to win. And for that you will need help. That help could be in the form of a friend or friends who have well-behaved dogs.  Or you may need to go and find some professional dog training to get your dog obedience down in company. 

If your dog has some pretty long-standing behavior problems, especially if those problems involve aggression or anxiety, you may need the help of a dog behaviorist from the start

Finding a dog behaviorist

You'll find lots of articles to help you with problems like chewing, jumping up, stealing and so on, on this website. But sometimes, with some dogs, you really do need to get a hands-on assessment of your dog. 

So, if you find yourself feeling despairing over your dog's behavior, and you've tried our recommendations. And if you feel that nothing you do works, it's probably time to get help. If your dog seems to be getting worse rather than better, and especially if your dog is anxious or aggressive, then you are definitely going to need some help. 

Your own veterinarian may be able to recommend a behaviorist, if not, a good place to start is with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior also has a directory of behavior consultants. 

Hopefully those criteria above do not include you and your dog. And maybe you just want some professional advice as you set off along your training journey. So what are your dog training school options?

Dog Training School - What Are Your Options?

Before you book your best friend into dog training camp, let's take a look at your options for getting a professional dog trainer involved in your dog's education. You could do any of the following  

  • Follow a book
  • Attend local training classes
  • Book 1-1 lessons with a trainer
  • Have a trainer come to your home
  • Join an online training course
  • Send your dog away for training
  • Any combination of the above

Of all those options, the only one I would rule out completely is sending your dog away for training. Unless you want to compete your dog in a specific sport (such as retriever training) and lack the facilities locally to keep making progress, sending a dog away is usually a bad idea.

It doesn't teach you how to train or manage your dog, it doesn't teach your dog how to cope in their normal environment and it opens your dog up to potential harm. There are still plenty of old school dog trainers out there that have no compunction about using harsh physical punishments on the dogs in their care. 

Training your dog from a book

Following a training program from a book is definitely an option. It's a limited one though as publishers allow only 60,000 to 70,000 words in a non-fiction book and it is almost impossible to put a complete training program, and cover the myriad of things that might go wrong, into such a small space. That's one of the reasons why I abandoned my sequel to The Happy Puppy Handbook, and decided to publish my own dog obedience training program as an online course. 

Attending local classes or hiring a local trainer

Joining a good puppy school for weekly classes can work well. It does depend on the availability of modern reward based training classes in your area.

Professional dog training is unfortunately unregulated in most parts of the world, so you do need do your own research. However, many countries have some useful bodies that insist their trainers meet reasonable standards. In the USA make sure your trainer is certified with the Certification Council For Professional Dog Trainers. In the UK look for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) or Institute Of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT). These are not guarantees but they help. 

Scrutinize your local trainer's website and check that they are not using outdated methods related to dominance and pack leadership. And most important of all, go and watch a class before you join. Make sure the dogs are happy and willing, there should be no pushing and pulling, no shouting, and plenty of calm interaction between each dog and their handler.

Joining an online training course

Most online training courses tend to focus either on problem solving, or on structure learning programs. So you need to pick the right course for you and your dog.

My own Dogsnet training courses are focused on the latter - they teach you to train your puppy (or refresh your older dog) in structured steps, with the help of a support forum.

Look for a course where you can get feedback on your progress, either in a forum or via Facebook. A forum will suit you better if you'd rather remain anonymous

Combination training

For many pet parents a combination of different training approaches works well. Online training courses are great for those first few weeks, establishing the foundations of obedience with you and your dog in a quiet home environment. 

You'll need to add in some professional help later when you have progressed as far as you can on your own. 

Many of our training articles are written by Pippa Mattinson.

Pippa is the best selling author of Total Recall, The Happy Puppy Handbook and the founder of The Happy Puppy Site.

You can now train your dog at home, with the support of Pippa and her team at the Dogsnet Training Center

labrador handbook by pippa mattinson
Total Recall dog training book by Pippa Mattinson