What Are Life Skills?
Life Skills are the skills and behaviours that you need to teach your dogs to help them develop into well mannered, happy, safe and friendly dogs, dogs that you can take proudly anywhere! The courses run for 5 weeks and cover a multitude of both exciting and life exercises. They are skills such as:
- a really reliable recall
- a solid stay
- communicating and socialising with other dogs
- not jumping up on people
- food manners and not stealing
- being comfortable being handled and groomed
- not pulling on the lead
- and so much more!
This is just a small example of the skills covered but they are all taught using positive, reward-based training methods. The main underlying theme of all of the classes, regardless of the level, is building a happy, positive relationship between you and your dog. We also encourage you to ask questions at every level.
To ensure success we always suggest that you work with your dog in small steps, to give them the best possible chance of getting the behaviour right, and therefore gaining a reward. If we set them too difficult a challenge, and they fail, and continue to fail, they will become de-motivated and lose all interest in us and our attempts to work with them. Because of this, we always suggest that you set yourself and your dog small and achievable tasks.
You will work in a small class no larger than six with one of our experienced trainers who can give you the best advice specific to your goals. This is a great opportunity for you to socialize with other like-minded dog-owners who want to get the most out of their relationships with their dogs. And of course it’s a super time for your dog to meet other dogs in a controlled environment. Many classes at other clubs are much larger than this but we feel this number will allow you maximum time for progress.
If this is your first ever weekly training class with Devon Dogs, you will receive a copy of our very own Pup2Perfection DVD (value £35), a perfect start for your dog training which we thoroughly recommend for you and your dog. You will find it will give you an extra boost to your training, and something you can refer to throughout your course and beyond.
Life Skills Classes
Here at Devon Dogs we offer a range of Life Skills classes:
- Improvers and Adolescents
To begin your Life Skills training you will join a block of starter classes, held on various days and times at both of our venues. Once you have completed your starters course, your trainer will recommend which class to progress into. Many of our more advanced classes are by invitation only which your trainer will discuss with you.
Max was a 7 month old Border Collie when I got him, he had been in 3 homes and each one could not cope with his boisterous behaviour, this included jumping up, counter surfing, barking, and being unable to switch off. I was new to Devon Dogs and so decided to try their Life Skills classes to get a feel for what they do: I was also thinking it would help Max. The first training session came along and Max was a nightmare: he was lunging at the other dogs, barking all the time, pulling me over, and generally making a nuisance of himself. We learnt about choice games and using the crate as a boundary, homework was given, and we practiced every day at least twice. I could begin to see glimmers of hope, Max was showing that he could concentrate, make the correct choices and he loved getting his tennis ball as a reward. Over the weeks I found his 'off switch' (massage) and used this during the lesions to help keep him calm. A year on, Max is a different dog: he is responsive, can listen, and he loves any kind of training. We did two lots of Life Skills and are now starting to compete in Flyball. I can't thanks Devon Dogs enough for these lessons: the skills they teach really are 'Life Skills' and make having a dog such a pleasure. Thanks to you all.Jo Wallace