A little bit later than I would have liked, but it is time to release the 2023 Hot Dog Trainer Calendar. A massive thank you to all the wonderful dogs and owners I have trained this year. Come rain or shine, you have all worked hard to create positive change for your pooch.
In line with the global effort to reduce our carbon emissions, I have not printed the calendars but they will are available electronically here for you to download and print off at home. If you would like one printed professionally, please let me know.
Remember, be careful what your dog eats this holiday season, some leftovers can be harmful for your canine pal, I’ve put some do’s and dont’s together here. Also keep an eye on the gifts your doggies get given under the Christmas Tree. Read here to see the dangers of rawhide.
And of course, New Years Eve can be incredibly stressful for our pets. Click here for some tips to keep your dog calm when fireworks are in the sky.
I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope Santa Paws leaves you everything you wish for.
One of the reasons we own dogs is so we can take them out and share the many beautiful walks we have in the UK. However, we need to be mindful of our dogs needs and health considerations before we go on a day trip.
PUPPIES CAN NOT REGULATE HEAT LIKE AN ADULT DOG
so these tips are especially important for them
If you plan to take your dog out in the car, how will you keep it safe? We all love the image of a dog with its head out of the car window, ears and tongue flapping in the breeze as all the smells are inhaled up its nostrils at high speed. But, did you know this is a very unsafe way to transport your doggie?
Short nosed breeds, such as the French Bulldog, Pug and Bulldogs can die very quickly when over exercised in hot weather. Please limit any exertion to before 11 AM and after 4 PM in hot weather and for no longer than 15 minutes.
Don’t let your dog gulp down loads of water in one go after exercise! This can cause vomiting and in some cases Bloat, which can cause a rapid death. Water should be given in small amounts and often.
Be careful where you ask your dog to walk. You should be able to hold your hand on the surface for at least 5 seconds without the heat feeling uncomfortable. Be especially careful on sand. I was surprised how hot the sand was in Porthcawl last year and my feet did actually burn.
Allow lots of breaks for your dog. A dog loves nothing more than sitting down on the grass, in the shade of a large tree and slowly inhaling the wonderful scents and smells all around.
These signs mean your dog is too hot, excessive panting, lying on one side and panting heavily with its tongue out, tears or water coming from its eyes.
Also be very careful where you take your dog and how long for. If you have a drivey little dog, taking it a village festival, or country fair may not be ideal as there will be so many people smells and distractions it will just be overstimulated and it may easily overheat.
If you have any more questions please feel free to reach out below. If you have any tips to keep your doggy cool, please drop them in the comments below.
To celebrate the first year of my dog training business I have created a FREE calendar for 2022. The calendar features just some of my canine students over the last 12 months and how they progressed through their dog training classes.
In line with the global effort to reduce our carbon emissions, I have not printed the calendars but they will are available electronically here for you to download and print off at home. If you would like one printed professionally, please let me know.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2022.
Take a peek to see if your canine is featured here.
Congratulations, you have taken your first step in realising your dog or puppy needs training. I am sure you are thinking,what happens next? So I have decided to break down what happens on the first dog training session and open up all the possibilities that lie ahead of you and your canine pal in the dog training world.
One on One Canine Training
The first thing to know is that all training is one on one. I come to your home and simply sit and talk to you about your doggie and the things you would like to work on.
I will ignore your dog
On the first visit, I will ignore your dog. This is not me being rude or uncaring, I am simply doing this to understand how you interact with your doggie and what he or she is used to doing in your home.
We will train as long as you need to
There is no need to book a set amount of lessons at a time. We will work week by week until you think you are at a point where your dog needs to be.
You will need to do your homework
Each week we will discuss what you would like to work on; it might be to stop jumping up on visitors for example. I will show you how to fix the problem using positive dog training methods and then I will ask you to carry out the dog training exercises for about five minutes per day until our next lesson.
We train in your home, your garden and your neighbourhood
I want the training we carry out to be relevant to you and your family. I have no doubt I will be able to successfully train your dog, but my goal is to develop a partnership between you and your dog or puppy so you can enjoy your life together in your home, garden, neighbourhood etc.
As we know, dog ownership surged when people in the UK were working from home or furloughed due to the Covid 19 pandemic. In 2023 the pandemic was officially declared over and now many of those pet owners are being asked to work from the office.Many dog owners are employing dog walkers to make sure their dogs are still fulfilled and exercised while they are at work.
If your dog is well behaved, walks perfectly on the lead and is a joy when he approaches people, other dogs and children, then choosing the right dog walker for you is not such a struggle. However, if you own a puppy or your dog can be a bit of a handful in public places, then please choose your dog walker VERY carefully. Your dog should be walked by someone who understands how to handle your dog should it be in a situation which may cause it anxiety and it should also be walked by someone who knows how to prevent bad habits like pulling on the lead and crossing your path. These are issues that can be further exasperated when the dog is on a walk with dogs from a different household.
I have created a little video of 2 dogs that I was asked to walk this week.
These are small dogs; and don’t we know that small dogs can tend to get away with more? As you can see from the video, they were quite happy to pull me along and basically ignore me while on a walk.
As a dog trainer, I was able to correct this behaviour within a couple of minutes rather than ignore or fight against it. On this walk we also worked on reactivity and they went from barking and lunging at other dogs to completely ignoring dogs that ran past them off lead; a situation that over time WILL get worse and worse and can also leads to injuries for both the owner, handler and the dog.
So, if your dog is a little bit of a handful on a walk, please consider spending a bit more money on a dog trainer that will give them more than just a walk where they can pull and behave badly. Consider a dog walker that will build engagement and trust.
It’s important to thoroughly research and vet potential dog walkers before entrusting them with the care of your pet.
Do you have to go back to the office? Do you need help walking the dog? Reach out to me in the comments section below and let’s see how I can help!
We had a fab day out at Rudry Common with Mantrailing UK – Rhondda Cynon Taff . Rosa, fresh out of her induction back in January, really got to grips with the idea that those odd people hiding in bushes have chicken balls that she can eat, and by the end of the session she was dragging me to these hiding new friends!
What is Mantrailing? Think of Hide and Seek for dogs. Gradually, the searches get longer and more complicated; qualifications in the Mantrailing sport are also available to achieve. I love mantrailing with my dogs as it welcomes dogs of all breeds, dispositions and ages (Rosa is 16).
The other thing I love about Mantrailing is that it has taken me around some of the most beautiful parts of the Rhondda Valley and today was no exception. We then rounded off the day with a lil’ hike up to the fantastic view. The perfect end to a fun morning creating a wonderful sporting relationship with my little senior dog. It felt like we were on top of the world!
It’s the time of the year when the sun shines for longer, lambs are being born and taking our doggies on nice walks. Group dog training lessons for small dogs are a friendly, fun and safe way to make sure our dogs put their best paw forward. Small dog group training lessons are “impawtant” for a number of reasons.
Dogs learn to be social – this is CRITICAL to pleasant behaviour
Doggies learn that listening brings rewards
Dogs learn commands that can keep them out of trouble and out of harms way
Basic obedience is the foundation of your relationship between you and your dog
Dog training is FUN!
I am happy to announce that as of April 29th 2023 Hot Dog Trainer will be running indoor Group Small Dog Training lessons at Maerdy Community Center. Classes will be small, with no more than 10 dogs per class and will only include fully vaccinated dogs up to 20 lb / 10 kilos in weight. Classes will be £10 per dog for an hour long lesson and must be paid in full each week on or before the Thursday before.
Small Dog Group Lesson
For fully vaccinated dogs under 20lb /10 kilos. Please no females in season.
Below is a list of things to bring:
Lots of food reward, this can their kibble meal for the day or chopped up cheese/hotdog/chicken. Just as long as it is tasty.
A bag like a bum bag to put the treats in.
A dog training clicker. If you can’t find one, I will have them on me for purchase
My dog training classes are based on positive reinforcement dog training methods and will use food to encourage our dogs when when they do something correctly.
Puppies will not be able to attend classes unless they are fully vaccinated.
If you have questions about what collar and lead you need, how to get ready for class or anything else, please reach out below! I look forward to seeing you soon.
Spring is one of my favourite times of the year. We get to see sunshine again take our doggies on longer walks and freshen up our living spaces, sometimes opting for a new look. This year I decided it was time to give the http://www.hotdogtrainer.com website a spring clean and freshen up with some new photos!
The photographs I launched the site with were taken by the fabulous Lisa Reid a photographer in the Cayman Islands. This was my first ever professional photo shoot and I was joined by my two dogs, Rosa a Malinois Spaniel mix and Suarez, my gorgeous Dutch Shepherd who was also the most natural model. Sadly, Suarez passed away not long after the photos were taken, which made the photographs from this shoot so special.
The following year, Rosa and I moved back to the UK, joined by three cats and our new canine pal, Hobo. We needed some photos of our new pack in our new environment and thankfully, at the beginning of 2023 I found multi award winning artist and Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, Lynne Williams on Facebook. I was just captivated by her unique style of photography and the beautiful warmth she brings to her subjects.
We visited Lynne at her Llwydcoed studio just before Easter and I am delighted to present our refreshed website with our new pictures as well as to introduce Hobo! Hobo is a 4 year old street dog from the Cayman Islands. He was rescued by the Cayman Islands Humane Society as a little puppy along with his mommy and siblings. Mommy was a very pretty little Malinois and from Hobo’s DNA test, we think Daddy was a German Shepherd / Dutch Shepherd mix.
Students of mine may have met Hobo before, as I use him when training very reactive dogs. He is very placid and will ignore the most vocal or annoying canine students.
I hope you like the pictures and our new look website. If you think it is time to capture your canine pals in some beautiful photo’s, why not reach out to Lynne here where you can also see some more of her award winning work.
One of the great joys of dog ownership is the level of trust and support our dogs give us. In my case, my dogs make sure I go about my daily tasks and errands. They make sure I get up and go to bed when I should. They also provide wonderful company, whether it be on the couch, on a walk or learning some new tricks. Both of my dogs are rescued dogs from the Cayman Islands. Since I found her running up the highway, Rosa has been my partner in crime for the last 17 years. She has lived in 3 different countries with me and helped me foster and adopt LOTS of puppies and dogs needing help. Hobo is a youngster at just 4 years old. He is such a faithful boy, quiet in nature but he loves to learn new skills and is loving his Mantrailing this year.
Rescued animals will always hold a special place in my heart, I also have 4 cats that needed my help to find a loving home. In the past I have been a foster carer, volunteer and board member at the Cayman Islands Humane Society. The reason I set up Hot Dog Trainer was to allow people to create and enjoy their relationship with their dogs at an affordable price. Over the last two years I have carried out a couple of fundraising activities in the UK to help animals in need, including Walking for the Dogs Trust and Walking to Help Animals in Ukraine but this year’s will be the hardest I have done yet!
On 16th April 2023 Hobo and I will take part in the Fundraising Pen Y Fan Walk for Hope Rescue. Since 2005 Hope Rescue has been saving the lives of stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs that, through no fault of their own, need a second chance. That have taken a commitment to take all the stray dogs from six Local Authorities in South Wales – Merthyr Tydfil, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend and the western half of the Vale of Glamorgan – irrespective of their age, breed or medical condition. Hope Rescue also help owners in crisis who need to surrender their dogs, giving them peace of mind that their dogs will be rehomed responsibly.
– £5 will help to welcome a dog to the Hope Sanctuary in Llanharan – £10 will microchip a dog so if it gets lost it can be reunited with its owner – £25 will vaccinate a dog against common canine diseases.
UPDATE: We did it! Check out our video here. Thank you so much for all your donations and kind words of encouragement it really did help us to keep going 🙏🏻⛰️🐕💗
A little update from Hope Rescue: Thank you so much for all your support. 🐕⛰️💯💗
Getting your dog to come back when called can be a challenge for some dog owners. There is no doubt that it can be harder to get some dogs to recall than others. For instance scent hounds, like Beagles or hunting dogs like Whippets can be so occupied with a scent or their prey, they simply block out all distractions, such as you calling them, where as, a German Shepherd or Doberman is hard coded to stay by your side.
Whatever your dogs breed you can reinforce a reliable recall with POSITIVE training.
Look at little Theo demonstrating perfectly how to come back when called.
On my YouTube channel, you will also find other basic obedience and recall videos.
We stated training Theo on the long line, by simply rewarding him every time he came to our side, then we slowly built it up. Training dogs needs to be done in small steps, slowly rewarding success each time before you add a bit more learning. Recall is just the same. Don’t be afraid to use long lines and NEVER scold your dog if he runs off when you call him.
Reach out to me on the contact methods below if you need help training your doggy.
A lot of the time, this request comes when dog owners have acquired a second dog. The story usually sounds something like, “I could take Fido anywhere, he was always so well behaved, friendly and rarely pulled.” Sometimes this can lull us in to a false sense of security and off we go with rose tinted spectacles to go and get puppy number two.
All is going great until we venture out the door and we find puppy number two just wont listen to us. So why is this and what can we do to fix it?
Well first of all, no two dogs are the same. Even within breeds and breeding lines. When dogs are bred from purebred lines, the history of the parents is so important. What were these dogs bred to exhibit? Looks, temperament, agility, herding or companionship? We then need to look at how narrow these bloodlines are. This is something called progeny which I will cover in much more detail in another blog. But basically, the more purely bred a line of dog is, the more defined that dog’s behaviours are going to be.
Dog behaviour can differ between males and females. In my 30+ year experience I have found, male dogs seem to be a little more laid back and relaxed, whereas females are little busy bodies who like to look after everyone and make sure everything is as it should be. So, your laid back male puppy dog who is happy to follow mom around and meet new people may be completely different to your bossy lil female pup who has decided she is in charge around here as this human seems a bit laid back and needs some structure in her life!
As you may have heard me say before, dogs need rules to follow and if there aren’t any, they make their own up and sadly, dog rules don’t work well in the human world.
Dogs need rules to follow and if there aren’t any, they make their own up and sadly, dog rules don’t work well in the human world.
When you get your new puppy, make sure you pay all that time and attention with her just as you did with the first one. Make sure the puppy knows you can care and look after her and let her know you have got it covered. This does not mean be harsh and mean, it just means be firm fair and organised with your new puppy. Set a good routine and follow it. Don’t fall for those puppy dog eyes and cave in.
In this blog we will meet a “second puppy” who fits right in to the situation I described above. Vaeda is a cute little Pomeranian who moved in with her owner and brother dog brother Obie as a little puppy. Obie loves his mommy and makes sure he is always at her side. His goal in life is to know here his mommy is and look after her. Vaeda on the other hand knows there is a LOT of fun to be had and she wants to get after it! Her owner reached out to me as dog walks were becoming unmanageable due to Vaeda pulling on the lead and lunging and barking at other dogs.
I worked with Vaeda to teach her how to walk nicely to heel while paying attention to me and she came on so well. In these videos you will see us taking it to the local park. We purposely started off in a quiet part of the park and warmed up the lesson with some basic heel work, using my secret weapon HOTDOGS! I used the analogy of teaching someone to swim by pushing them in the pool. It doesn’t work. To retrain little Vaeda, we need to start nice and easy and slowly build up the distractions. One thing I didn’t count on was a hungry hound dog that was very interested in our lesson. This old pooch could see we were having much more fun on our walk than he was on his and decided to join us. Look at how little Vaeda responded!
I am so proud.
We did giggle after the lesson at how Vaeda’s owner went from not being confident handling her own dog to confidently handling two, one of which she had never met before. The secret sauce, along with hot dogs of course, is to focus on your dog.
Be the leader your dog wants you to be! Be confident! Be interesting!
We then continued our lesson around the park , managing Vaeda when we saw other dogs, not necessarily avoiding them, but engaging her before she was able to engage with them.
We finished the lesson by tidying up Vaeda’s heel work by using the clicker so she sits nice and neatly to heel and stays there when she walks.
Look at how she walks on a beautiful loose lead in this video.
This is just the start for Vaeda, we now need to condition these new behaviours to become behaviour as normal over the next few weeks before we start to introduce walks with her brother. Watch this space!
Do you need help training your dog in a positive way? Reach out to me below to get started!
We have finally left January behind. Now we can look forward to Spring. Seeing the mornings and evenings stay brighter longer is making me look forward to taking my gorgeous dogs on longer adventures.
How about you? Are dog parks, cafes and sunny days out in the city calling you and your pooches name or are you dreading taking him out in public?
Did you get a cute fluffy puppy that is growing in to a ball of frustration on dog walks? Or is your dog so happy to get off the lead he wont come back when you call him?
Whatever your dog training issue, I can help!
Make walking your dog more enjoyable with my Buy One Get One Half Price promotion! During February, but one dog training lesson at full price and get the next one half price! The more you buy, the more you save and you have until the end of 2023 to use the lessons! Enjoy quality time with your pup and take advantage of this special offer. With a happily trained dog, you can explore new areas, go on longer walks, and create special memories together. Let me help you fall in love with walking your dog again!
I have just come home from another dog walk in cold miserable weather and felt compelled to share a few thoughts on how to keep doggies and ourselves safe on dog walks as well as some aftercare tips when we get home from walking the dogs.
First of all, its important that your dog knows how to walk to heel at all times but especially, in snowy and icy weather conditions. If your dog can’t walk to heel, please don’t try and walk it in bad weather. A slip or fall can be very dangerous and may result in your dog getting loose, being hit by a car or getting lost.
Second of all, make sure YOU are wrapped up nice and warm, you are responsible for your dog’s welfare out on a walk and if you aren’t safely dressed and equipped, your dog could end up in trouble.
Get some good FLAT boots that are waterproof. You don’t have to spend lots of money. Just make sure they have a good grip.
Thermals are a BLESSING to dog walkers. I wear thermal ski pants and a ski jacket over thermal leggings and a thermal top, with a nice thick pair of socks to keep my feet warm so I don’t suffer from muscle cramps. A nice bobble hat or hood also helps to keep your head nice and warm; after all, this is where we lose most or our heat from. I also wear a thermal face shield and today, I wore a waterproof peaked cap to keep the sleet off of my face.
Because daylight is sadly lacking in the winter, a head lamp is a great way to keep an eye on your dog, and ensure you walk on safe ground. This is also a great tool to help you see the poop you need to scoop!
Gloves are the pièce de resistance of your dog walking kit. If you have trained with me, you know that I focus on the connection between you and your dog. This not only means the positive re-enforcement connection, but the collar and lead connection. Do not endanger this with cold wet hands that might struggle to hold a lead. Get a nice pair of warm, waterproof and windproof gloves.
Now that WE are all set, lets move on to the doggies!
In most instances, dogs are blessed with wonderful coats that help them regulate heat and cold. They generally shed or “blow” their coat twice a year to help them stay at an ideal temperature for the upcoming seasons. However, this year we have had a very cold winter and it makes sense to ensure we keep our dog’s welfare at the top of mind on their walks. The biggest dangers to dogs on walks in the winter are as follows:
Iced Ponds and lakes
Salt on the roads
Iced Ponds and lakes
This goes ESPECIALLY to owners of dogs who LOVE water. A lot of the time we will let our dogs of lead to run and investigate on their walk. If your dog loves to jump in the water, it is very likely it will rush to jump in that body of water irrespective of temperature. I witnessed a very experienced dog trainer lose two of his beautiful dogs to a tragedy such as this. His dogs bounded over the hill out of his sight to the lake which was frozen, they went under the ice and could not get out as the ice kept breaking under them. The breaking ice also meant rescuers could not reach them and the dogs drowned in ice cold water. PLEASE keep your dog’s ON LEAD around bodies of water in the cold.
Unless you have VERY good recall with your dog, (including dogs that may be a bit hard of hearing) do not let them off the lead in the dark!
It goes without saying in the dark, dogs may not see holes and ditches as easily as they do in the daylight. So, if you can’t see well, don’t let your dog off the lead. The last thing you want to be doing is looking for your dog in the dark. If you know the terrain well, such as the local park. Still consider purchasing a flashing light for your dog’s collar so you can keep an eye on them and recall them if they look like they may be tempted to wander off. Dogs rarely rely on sight, their hearing and sense of smell will be intensified in the dark which may lead them to investigate further in the cold weather, scent also stays around longer making things further away a bit more tempting.
Ice is off course, “slippy.” But did you realise your dog can slip on ice and tear a muscle or ligament? Where possible keep your dogs walking to heel when on pavements. I do let my dogs off the lead to run in the snow and grass but on smooth surfaces I keep them on leads. A torn ligament can be very painful, costly and scary. Severe ice can also cut paws.
My eldest dog is a street dog that had adapted to her native Caribbean environment beautifully. She is very thin and has a very light coat, so she feels the cold much more than her Caymanian sibling who carries a nice little bit of weight on his bones and has a nice thick German Shepherd coat. However, when she gets out on a walk, her Malinois and Spaniel genes kick in and off she trots and would happily be gone for hours. However, as her dog mom, I have to realise she is older and will not regulate heat as well. Puppies and older dogs do not regulate heat well, so we have to take control over their walks and if we feel cold, we have to realise they are colder as they are not wrapped up in fur lined snow boots. Some people will say dogs do not need coats. But I ask you to consider your dog in its own right. Consider age, body weight and coat type. A German Shepherd or Border terrier has a coat that is designed to protect it in this kind of weather. A Whippet or Doberman will not. All this being said, when taking a dog out in below zero temperatures a coat should be considered for most breeds. In this Daily Mail article, When Is It Too Cold To Walk My Dog? academics from Tufts University, in Massachusetts, suggest temperatures between -1C and 4C are ‘potentially unsafe’ for small and medium sized dogs. The ‘potentially unsafe’ temperatures for large dogs, meanwhile, are between -6C and 1C.
Salt on Pavements
Salt on the pavements mean no ice, but it can also mean paw injuries for your doggies on a dog walk. There is one area where we live where the pavement is RED with salt, so I have to walk my dogs in the road, much to the annoyance of road users, I am sure. You can coat your doggies’ paws with balm to help protect them whilst out on walks. When you get your dogs home, you can wipe their paws down with a nice soothing aloe vera wipe, ensuring you check between toes and pads.
When your dogs are home, please make sure you wipe don the extremities that may not have been covered by a coat and make sure they have a nice warm place to sleep. Pets at Home have a lovely affordable self-warming beds and blankets that I have found very useful for my doggies.
What are your top tips for walking dogs in the winter? Do you have a preferred make of boot or paw balm for doggies? Let me know in the comments section below:
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