OUR TRAINING GOAL IS EXCELLENCE, WHAT'S YOURS?
'Every little thing matters' - remember that and it will help enormously with your training. If you don't know what that means, you need to learn. It is the difference between an 'ok' dog and an 'excellent' dog
'A Happy Pack'
Love, calmness, consistency, praise and attentive training are what makes the difference between a happy, trained dog who keeps his personality and who works with you because he wants to and a dog who works for you out of fear. Don't get frustrated and start shouting and tearing your hair out.
It isn't unknown for people to spend a whole 1hour lesson with us and not being allowed to talk to or whistle the dog in order to learn how to communicate with him without loudness, constant chatter or shouting. Get the help you need.
One piece of feedback I do get back from clients over and over again is 'how much more they learn about their dog when they train with us'. Why this is, I don't really understand. Why doesn't every Trainer help to educate their clients over and above. I may not understand why this doesn't happen as standard but I do understand how valuable people feel this information is and how it has helped them in so many ways with their dog, and often the new canine additions that have come along since.
Not all Gundog Trainers are the same
Above is the 'Confidence Wall'
When you get your new pup home immediately begin the bonding process. Play with your dog, become his best friend, his leader, protector and become the person he always wants to be with. And when you begin training, keep that in mind, that you always want to be the person he wants to be with. You need to become and stay the most important and interesting thing in his whole life. The best way to keep that bond with your dog is through continual training. Dogs don't see training as 'training', they see it as fun time with their favourite person, and the better you do it, the more they enjoy it!
In briefest terms, we believe in training your dog through attentive communication, touch, play, body language and building the strongest bond you can with your dog creating a very rewarding partnership.
For perhaps a fuller picture and explanation on 'our' training methods, you may find the 'Training Methods' page of the website more detailed and informative.
Do we treat train? No!
straight away I know this statement get's so many Obedience peoples
backs up................but read and then you may understand the
statement and the reasoning.
Do I see new clients come along, knowing this fact, and then discreetly try and sneak a piece of cheese into their dogs mouth and then watch it make another huge error in the question it was asked and then get another piece of cheese discreetly popped into it's mouth when it returns? Yes! So then what happens..........I explain what I saw them do and then what I saw their dog do and why it did what it did and that if they REALLY want to learn how to work with their dog...............remove the treat bag.
So many people come to us with their dog who have begun with treat training and not one of them are coming because they don't have problems with their dog. It isn't the actual treat training itself we have a problem with, it is the way it is taught and that people are taught to see it as the be all and end all of all their training. They are not taught how to introduce it and phase it out, they are taught to see it as the only tool available to them and so they fail.
If your dog has taken off after a rabbit or a pheasant, you could be standing there waving a freshly cooked whole chicken and you're dog isn't going to come back until he's had his fill of the chase i.e. the 'thrill' of the chase. Treat training gives people a false sense of security about their dogs training. In the training environment, without any real world distractions, standing dishing out bits of cooked chicken, liver or butchers best sausage to your dog for doing a 'sit' is bonkers. You want to train your dog to work with you because it gives them pleasure, not because if they sit on their butts for a few seconds, their going to get a titbit, don't you?
The real problem for us with 'treat training' is based around several issues -
- Taught by people who don't know of any other way to communicate with a dog
- Taught to people too often in sterile environments
- Taught by people to people with dogs who fit into their 'ticky box bog standard dog' and if your dog doesn't fit into this 'bog standard dogs' behaviours, then you are told there must be something wrong with it i.e. it's stupid (actually, it's not, it's your teacher who is inadequate as a so called Trainer)
- Taught 'solo' so people are not being taught any other skills alongside it e.g. reading a dogs body language, correcting your own body language, explaining why a dog is doing or not doing something in the first place
- Not taught that treat training is not meant to become a way of life i.e. this form of asking a dog to sit is continued all the time until the dog is old and grey
- People teach treat training to people lulling them into this false sense of security that it is the only form of training they will ever need and that really, nothing else matters
- People are taught to use it the second the dog e.g. puts his bottom on the ground and accept that this is sufficient to ever warrant getting the treat and that they don't have to progress that 'sit' to any significant length of time
- Not every dog is food orientated
- Too many people use treat training incorrectly when retrieve training and over and over again teach the dog to drop the retrieve rather than actually deliver what they have asked the dog to fetch for them
- Some dogs who are food orientated will happily go through the motions without distractions but add a distraction and most people totally struggle to get the dog interested in the treat because they know of no other way to communicate with the dog apart from wave a piece of hot dog in front of it's nose
- ...............well, I think you get the idea.........
If you met even half of my clients who started in those treat based classes, who failed and then came looking for us, you would hear them time and time again say, I wish we knew about you before we did that, we have learned so much already, even in just one lesson, then you would understand totally why we don't treat train. I have worked with a massive spectrum of dogs over the years, working dogs, dogs who went all the way through their Guide Dog training, rescued dogs, terrified dogs, an awful lot of confused dogs, dogs so screwed up they can't cope with normal day to day life and this teaches you how to connect, read and work with dogs on a totally different level to the one that involves standing in front of your dog with a hot dog everytime you want him to do something.
I truly and genuinely see so many dogs every single month, both those destined for work in the field and pet that have been started off with treat training only to realise that they have no real control, communication or bond with their dog and that now their dog is running rings around them and is heading to be either injured, killed, causing an accident or stolen. So next time you wish to see me as perhaps 'arrogant' for my views on treat training, remember the reasons and logic and that I am not totally anti-treat, just anti about a lot of factors as stated above.
I do think treat training has a place though in some parts of dog training. Using treats can be an excellent way to build a bond in those early days and open the lines of communication with a dog who has not been with you from a pup. It is also a good way for novice dog owners to get the young pups attention in the first few months while they learn more about the dog and how to train him. But if you think that the dogs whole life has to spent with you with a treat bag attached to your waist you are only ever going to learn a very small part about your dog.
Treat training isn't too bad for people who have no confidence or understanding of their dog and it can help to start a line of communication and link between you, but that is all it is, a short start and it shouldn't be seen for anything other than a very brief stepping stone to kick start things off. But even then, it isn't necessary, and if you start with 'bad habits', then you are likely to continue with them.
If I had a penny for every dog that has come to us for training which had been down that treat training road, I would be a millionare! If the treat training had been successful, they wouldn't be coming to us to look for an alternative way to train. It doesn't matter what level you want your dog to reach, an obedient pet, excellent shooting dog, one thing is for sure, you're dog is much more likely to be capable of much much more than you will ever ask of it.
Craigelachie Training (gundog section below)
Our client base includes people from all walks of life from Vets to Shelf Stackers, Police Dog Handlers to Doctors, Engineers to Beauticians. With every new client comes a new challenge, for both us, the client and their dog. You never stop learning and every dog brings something with them to learn from. We are lucky in that through dogs, we meet so many different people, from all walks of life with all with their own life stories and over the years, many of them have become very good friends.
Our clients come from all over the UK from Inverness to Eastbourne to Wales, Ireland and Europe. Everyone has their own reasons for deciding to work with and choose Craigelachie Gundogs, and for most of them, they go away with considerably more information about training their dog than they ever thought possible. We get results where other trainers have failed. We teach people so much about their own dog and how to change their interaction with them to get the best from them. We are lucky in that through dogs, we meet so many different people, from all walks of life with all with their own life stories and over the years, many of them have become very good friends.
One of the best and most rewarding comments we hear is 'I have learnt so much about my dog from you. All the reading of books, watching of dvds, obedience training and other gundog training has never even come close to what we have learned about our dog with you'.
For us, this is what it is all about. Once you learn to read and understand your dog, it makes training so much easier and you start to see everything he does in a completely different light.
Whether your dog comes to us through veterinary referral for behaviour/training issues, whether you're looking to compete with your dog, want to have the best dog at the shoot or just a very well behaved pet, we give you our undivided attention, commitment and passion to train your dog.
Many people are very surprised about the things they are taught when they come to us, especially those from the obedience training world. Our training goes so much further than just telling your dog to do something. We give you an indepth understanding of how to ask and for those who have had problems with training, an indepth understanding as to why you've had problems. One thing you can be sure of is that it is never as simple as just throwing a retrieve out for your dog or asking him to walk to heel. And if you think you have been taught everything you need in one or two sessions, believe me, you certainly haven't. How far you and your dog can go depends entirely on your acceptance on taking your dogs training as far as you can.
One of the best and rewarding comments we hear is 'I have learnt so much about my dog that all the reading of books, watching of dvds, obedience training and other gundog training has never even come close to'. For us, this is what it is all about. Once you learn to read and understand your dog, it makes training so much easier and you start to see everything he does in a different light.
We teach you how to 'think dog', for want of a better term. We explain why your dog does certain things throughout his training session. For example, one chap was hunting his dog but it kept pulling out and hunting in a certain area. Why? I asked him if he knew why his dog was doing this, to which he replied 'no'. The reason his dog kept going to the other area was because previously, it had successful retrieves there, and being a very keen retriever, it went back to look for more. After his hour session, he had a much better understanding of why his dog was doing certain things which he had originally termed as 'misbehaving'. Yes, his dog was misbehaving, but once he understood why, he had a totally different insight into all the things he had been doing with it and then appreciated that he had to be much more careful about getting the balance right with the training. If you can understand why your dog behaves a certain way when he is doing what you don't want him to do, you will be much more successful.
We also only train at your dogs pace. We do not advocate rushing your dog in his training. This is a huge failing with many owners. They are so keen to crack on that they move the dog far too fast through his training and they always end up with problems. There is nothing wrong with being keen but if you don't control that desire, you will have problems. One thing you do need in dog training is patience, if you want your dog to be successful at whatever level you intend to take him.
Our training focuses on your dog, his temperament, behaviour, ability, current level of training and bond with you. Canine behaviour has been a passionate interest to us for many years. Correct assessment of your dogs behaviour can make the difference between a successful and un-successful training programme for your dog. Many things can influence your dogs behaviour from external factors, to hormones, instinct, your behaviour and attitude and more. A renowned Biologist is currently researching 'gundog instinct' which we are priviledged to have been asked to provide information on.
Instinct, behaviour, genetics, upbringing and a host of other factors all come into play when you are training your dog. It only takes one little thing to be done incorrectly from the start and your dogs whole future could end up in a direction you really didn't want it to. We can take your dog from the basic puppy play-training, right up to the advanced training where your dog will then go out with you to either roughshoot, pick up, beating or compete.
If I believe in anything in life, it is this:
Owning a dog means more than just feeding them, taking them to the vets when needed and taking them for walks. Dog training is more than just sit, stay, fetch and heel. A dog is not a disposable or replaceable item like a car or tv. You can't turn them on and off as you would your laptop or radio. They are not only expensive to keep well and happy but they have a brain which they can use and they have emotions. Like children, they need more than just a roof over their head and food in their belly. Never underestimate the instinct, intelligence or feelings of a dog, to do so would make you a fool.
If you own a dog and you want it to be not only happy, but well balanced, mentally and emotionally, you need time, energy and commitment and if you have passion too, then your relationship with your dog will also come on leaps and bounds. Dogs need to use their brain. If you don't give them tasks to use their brain, they will find tasks of their own to use it. The more you train your dog, the more your dog will want to train. Training does not need to be a regimented, formal and boring process you feel you have to go through, if that is how it feels, then both you and your dog will fail. Training does need to be consistent, clear, timely, interesting and challenging (too challenging and they will fail, not challenging enough and they will be bored so wont focus). By challenging I mean mentally. Most dogs can cope with any physical challenge we throw at them but mental challenges are a different ball game and give dogs a totally different kind of enjoyment. Dogs need us to interact with them in an interesting way but not in a way that can create manic behaviour e.g. repetitive ball throwing, or boredom.
Gundog Training with Craigelachie Gundogs
We include every aspect of gundog training to ensure your dog is more than ready to go out into the field when the time comes. We are also fully insured so you can be sure you are in safe hands. We include every element of gundog training - hunting, directional work, seen and blind retrieves, following scent trails, introduction to shot, water work and other obstacles, cold and warm game, and more.
Gundog training starts with puppy play training and bonding. The young dog then progresses onto puppy dummies. From here, more dummies are introduced with varying weights, shapes and textures. Hunting and seen and blind retrieves are developed and the starting pistol is introduced (at a very safe distance from the dog and coming in closer, never worrying the dog). Next, the launcher can be introduced and then progress onto the use of 2 remote launchers (this really puts the pressure on your dogs obedience in many aspects). Once your dog shows he is happy with fur and feather, cold game is introduced. All the way through these stages, your dog should not be moved onto the next stage until he is at an excellent standard on the current stage. While your dog progresses through his stages, obstacles like stone walls, water and fences are introduced as is training in rougher cover, woodland, open areas. This all takes several months, not a few weeks. Our training grounds offer varied cover for the gundog from water, woodland, heather, bramble, rhododendron, reeds and rushes.
The feeling you get when your dogs head turns, he stands stock still and looks at you, and what he is actually saying is 'what do you want me to do', is totally amazing.
Training begins at 8 weeks old with love, touch, play and bonding. This is Craigelachie Gundogs training. From the day you get your pup home you begin to play with your dog and touch your dog. It amazes me that in this day and age so many people come with their dogs for training and don't know how to actually touch their dog with love, warmth and kindness. I have to show people how to do this. This touch needs to come from the heart, as it would for a child.
Gundog training takes time, patience, understanding, calmness, consistency and clear signals - at every level. Rush it at your peril!!
All of our training is based on positive reinforcement, basically, praise and reward. We have no time for belting, booting or throwing. This is the wrong way to train a dog, in fact, it isn't training, it's bullying and frightening! We aim for happy trained dogs, not those that cower behind your leg too terrified to even think about putting their nose beside your leg. For the dog, our training is very much about bonding, praise and reward, positive dog training. For the owner, our training is about being relaxed, informal and being able to help you understand what you need to do for your dog and how to do it. If you can understand your dog you will get on leaps and bounds with his training because you will be able to read what is and isn't working, and why. You then have the tools to be able to train your own dog after guidance and know that if you lose your way we are always here to help you get the training back on track.
We have so many people who come to us who have been to other Trainers and have either not been happy with their methods or with the lack of results with their dog. It is a brilliant feeling when, at the end of their session with us, they turn around and say how much they prefer our training and the results to any other Trainer they have been to. As amazing at that feels, it is also a little worrying. Why have the other Trainers failed, or let them down? Maybe they just don't have the skill to read individual dogs, I don't know, but what I do know is that some of them are doing more harm than good in the longer term. Having said that, I still think their are more good Trainers out there than bad.
All Craigelachie training takes place outside in a real environment in a one-to-one situation with your Trainer. You have our undivided attention. There are not several other dogs running around, sniffing about, barking, or other clients chatting to each other and distracting your dog which will have a negative impact on his training. It is just you, your dog and your Trainer, outside, in a real environment, which is much more natural for your dog and much more condusive to his learning.
Remember, by the time you are looking for a trainer, many of the problems your dog may already have, will have been well instilled within the dog before it reaches 6 months of age. It is much better for you in the long run if you contact your chosen trainer before this age and find out the basics of what you should and should not be doing. From here, you can build a strong foundation for your pup to develop and ensure you encounter as few problems as possible over the most important months of your dogs life.
So many people inadvertently create problems and don't realise. Get it right from the start and you will reach your goal much quicker. Skimp and try to rush the training and you will pay the price later.
Many of the people who come to us are looking for help because they have already begun to encounter problems with any number of areas of training from not retrieving to chasing and a host of other issues.
This can all be avoided if you start the training off properly. Research for a trainer who not only knows how to train a dog but how to read a dog, because every dog is different and their training should reflect this. You also need a trainer who understands what training you need so they can take you all the through from the basic training right up to the dog ready for the field.
All of our training is based on positive reinforcement, basically, praise and reward. We have no time for belting, booting or throwing. There is no reason in the world why someone should stand on a dogs back to teach it how to stay or any other such nonsense. This is the wrong way to train a dog, in fact, it isn't training, it's bullying and frightening! We aim for happy trained dogs, not those that cower behind your leg too terrified to even think about putting their nose beside your leg. Our training is very much about bonding, praise and reward, positive dog training.
The harshest form of punishment or correction your dog should ever have (if reprimand or punishment is needed), is a firm voice, a certain body stance, and a look in your eye. It's not about shouting, it's about 'tone'. But reprimand and punishment needs to be balanced with praise and reward, or it is worthless to the dog. You also need to be able to read your dogs body language and your timing for everything is crucial to getting the results you want from your dog.
Many dogs are labelled wild and unruly, and many of them are exactly that. Some of these same dogs are also labelled stupid, most are not. Most of these dogs are wild and unruly and are seen as stupid because in actual fact they are intelligent and lack mental stimulation, from their owner, so they go off and find it for themselves, making them behave wild and unruly. This is why training is so important, not just because you want a dog that conforms to our society, but because you want your dog to get as much pleasure from life as it can so it is happy and content at the end of the day. Physical exercise alone is not enough.
So When Do You Start Proper Training?
LET THE PUP BE A PUP but do not interpret that to mean NO TRAINING. Puppy play training is probably one of the most important parts of your dogs training programme. Do not let your dog get to 1 year old and turn around and say you have let your pup be a pup and that you haven't even started sit, stay, retrieve and recall. If you do that you are asking for trouble. This is fine for very experienced handlers who know how to train just about any dog. But for the average dog and gundog owner, not doing those basics early on will lead you to a road of headaches.
And no, I am not advocating religious sit, stay, heel. I am advocating puppy play training which means, as the pup is growing through it's puppyhood, it should be starting to learn these basics in a fun and interesting way. If you try to do these basics too early and in a very strict manner, you may well break that poor pups soul. It is hard, I know, to find the right balance between puppy play training and training proper. To keep it light enough so that they keep their interest but consistent and concise enough for them to actually learn. There is a balance you need to find to get it right. It is the same with the retrieving aspect, for both those wanting their dogs to work and for the dogs who are pets (especially if they have come from working stock). With Spaniels in particular, you need to start that retrieving off very early, how early...?.....from the day you bring that pup home. No, you don't get that puppy dummy straight out from day one and say fetch. You get soft and light items, like a single old sock, and snake it about on the floor to get the puppy interested first, if you do put it out a little way from you and your pup jumps to get it great, but do not go and then take that sock straight out of his mouth. Praise the pup, keep the pup close to you and stroke the pup telling him how clever he is. And only after that, you can very gently, remove the sock from the pups mouth.
And even here you can get it wrong. Do too much of this, for too long over the coming months and things can go wrong. Like what......... you can totally sicken the dog so he totally loses interest in retrieving, you can use the wrong toy/dummy, etc. for too long and they can sometimes struggle to progress onto other items, getting into tug of wars is a complete 'no no', taking the retrieve straight from the dog can teach the dog to run rings around you rather than deliver (because you're only going to steal his trophy), not enough can leave the hunting dog with an over active hunting instinct and not enough retrieving instinct, and more.... So what do you do, well, you read your dog, not the dog in the book or on the dvd or your friends dog, you read your dog.
If one thing doesn't work, change it. Improvisation is a great tool in dog training. Reading your dog is also a great tool in dog training. But for the average dog owner, bonding is your best tool for dog training. There are so many ways you can do this, but what you are trying to achieve is your dog keeping an eye on you and not the other way around, the dog wanting to be with you and please you, because this brings its own rewards for him. And never never give a command OF ANY KIND that you do not intent to follow through. And if you do give a command, always place yourself and your dog in the best possible position and/or situation for your dog to get it right.
Dog training to us is a passion!
At home, if you don't insist on 'basic manners', e.g waiting to get out of the car until told, not barging out the back door at home as soon as you open it, letting him charge off as soon as the lead is removed, etc., you will never have a trained gundog, (or trained pet) no matter how much residential training you send him for or how many lessons you have. Always aim for the best your dog is capable of (no matter how small the task) and you will have so many more rewards, as will he.
If you are thinking about sending your dog for Residential Training, please read our 'Misconceptions' and 'Training Problems' pages so you can be sure you have a good understanding of what training is all about. It is not possible for anyone to make an informed decision without having all the facts and information available to them.
We love helping owners to train their dogs but you must understand that training is a long term plan and you, the owners, must have input into it for it to be successful.
Gundog training starts with play training and bonding. The young dog then progresses onto puppy dummies. From here, more dummies are introduced with varying weights, shapes and textures. Hunting and seen and blind retrieves are developed and the starting pistol is introduced (at a very safe distance from the dog and coming in closer, never worrying the dog). Next, the launcher can be introduced and then progress onto the use of 2 remote launchers (this really puts the pressure on your dogs obedience in many aspects). Once your dog shows he is happy with fur and feather, cold game is introduced. All the way through these stages, your dog should not be moved onto the next stage until he is at an excellent standard on the current stage. While your dog progresses through his stages, obstacles like stone walls, water and fences are introduced as is training in rougher cover, woodland, open areas. This all takes several months, not a few weeks. Our training grounds offer varied cover for the gundog from water, woodland, heather, bramble, rhododendron, reeds and rushes.
Gundog / Dog Trainers
Have you already been to a Trainer for obedience training for your dog and still find there has actually been no real progress?
Have you done everything your Trainer said and still the dog can't sit and stay or come to recall or pay attention to you?
If the answer to either of the above questions is yes then it is time to find a new trainer and stop wasting your time and money on one who obviously either has no idea or who is only interested in your money. There are 'Trainers' out there who are only interested in what they can get from you and not what you can get from them.
There are also some very good Trainers.
Find a trainer who works well with both you and your dog. There are plenty of trainers to choose from so you should be able to find someone who can take your dogs training forward and progress his training in a positive way. If your dog doesn't seem to be progressing from your first visit, then perhaps it's time to find a new trainer.
Your trainer should be able to explain to you what they want you and your dog to do and why, this is very important, if they can't, then alarm bells should be ringing! They should be able to appreciate your lifestyle and give you advice on how best to help your dog be happy and healthy. We all live such busy lives these days, it can be all too easy to forget just what our dogs need and not just what they want.
Does your dog ever look at you as if to say 'Eh?'
Communicate well with your dog, listen to your dog, what he does and how he does it and you can learn to understand everything he says.
Just make sure you keep your dogs training positive and fun, that way, he thinks it's all a game, and I don't know any dog that doesn't like to play in one form or another!
Most behaviour problems are down to training problems. Problems that sneaked up on you when you weren't looking or were busy and didn't notice something happen which then, everytime it happened, it escalated, until it became a problem, and what the owner now sees as a behaviour problem.
Craigelachie Gundogs have seen many dogs over the years. Many of the dogs came to us with 'behaviour problems'. Once we got the history of the problem we are often able to pinpoint a time in the dogs life when it all began. Through positive training and being aware of not only the problem, but the cause, owners are then able to re-educate the dog and everyone is happy again.
No dog wants a 'behaviour problem'. It has usually acquired the problem down to human ignorance, just simply not being 'aware' enough of how the dog sees the world in which he lives.
Dog Training Over the Years
Even in as short a time as twenty odd years ago, when we were holding dog training classes in bonny Scotland, things were very different, not only the training, but the type of people and the dogs too. Today, many more people who have dogs, including those which are pets, are much more interested in their dogs' behaviour. Dog training has almost become a fashionable subject.
The dogs too have changed over the years, within a breed, if you compare the typical dog of any breed from 20 years ago, to today's typical dog of the same breed, you would probably see a huge difference in their shape and build, also showing that even the dogs themselves have had to follow a certain fashion for breeders tastes and preferences.
Today though, more and more people are now aware that their dog needs to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, and that it is possible to teach them this and they aren't just interested in the look of the dog. The fact that it can even be fun for both (as well as a lot of hard work), is just an added bonus.
Obedience Training - go to our 'Dog Training' page for more information
Question - Does your trainer lie your dog down and stand on his back to teach him to stay?? If the answer is yes, THEN RUN! I have seen exceptional dogs totally broken from this sort of training. Anyone who teaches a dog like this is...........well, I am too polite to say on here, but suffice to say, this is the exact opposite to how we train and as you will see from photos and videos on this site, all the dogs are perfectly happy and doing exactly what is asked of them.
Anybody who trains a dog like this should should be seriously re-thinking about their ability to help people train their dogs. I cannot understand how in this day and age some people train as if we were still in the dark ages. No, our training is not all lovey dovey soft mushy stuff. It is positive training tailored solely to that particular dogs nature and ability. Yes, sometimes we use a firm voice, sometimes we use play, sometimes it doesn't look any different to any 'normal' training, but believe me, your dog will know the difference.
Question - Do you want to send your dog away for residential training for 2 weeks and take home a fully trained gundog? If the answer is yes, you have an awful lot to learn about dogs. We certainly wont be saying give us the money and we'll make it happen, and if you get a trainer who says they can they are taking you for a fool and your dog will suffer.
Guilty as Charged!
OUR TRAINING GOAL IS EXCELLENCE, WHAT'S YOURS?