Can CBD be used to help with dog training, and if so, how?

The basic theory behind positive dog training is that dogs repeat good behavior when a reward follows(1). 

Trainers often use small treats and much verbal praise to teach dogs they are showing preferred behavior. 

After long periods of practice, a dog owner or trainer might think that training a dog would be a natural, almost intuitive process for humans. 

Still, too often, people make honest errors in training that result in nagging misbehavior in dogs that lead to strained relations between owners and dogs.

Many dog owners and trainers have operated under the assumption that a well-mannered dog is a happy, secure dog. 

However, that is looking at the situation backwards. The fact is that a happy, secure dog becomes a well-mannered dog. 

In dog training, it is wrong to focus on what a dog does rather than how a dog feels. When dogs feel secure and loved, problem behaviors are largely eliminated. 

Then, the need for owners and trainers to direct the dogs’ actions becomes dramatically reduced.

Problem behaviors may get in the way of success in dog training and should be addressed immediately.

These behaviors may be linked to:

  • a dog’s desire to secure a connection or care-giving, like mouthing, jumping, and submissive urination
  • a dog’s need to exert greater control over its environment, such as reactivity or stalling on a leash
  • a dog’s effort to cope with stress, such as paper shredding, compulsive chewing, or excessive barking 

Most of these problems can also be associated with dog anxiety, which may be caused by aging, fear, and separation.

Loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, visual stimuli like hats or umbrellas, and new or strange environments may cause fear-related anxiety.

While some dogs may only have brief reactions to these kinds of stimuli, they may affect anxious dogs more(2).

Meanwhile, CBD has been shown to help alleviate anxiety in dogs.

According to the American Kennel Club, some dogs owners have reported success in using CBD oil to treat dog anxiety(3). 

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana and hemp that some dog owners have found useful for treating several health conditions in dogs. 

CBD’s potential benefits in dogs may be due to how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions similarly in the bodies of both humans and dogs.

According to the authors of a 2017 study published in the PLOS One Journal, many conditions in dogs share striking similarities with their human counterparts(4).

AKC added that anecdotal reports from dog owners claimed that CBD oil could be useful in treating dog anxiety(5).

A dog experiencing pain or a specific illness may also have problems during dog training. 

Resolving these underlying medical conditions is essential before owners and trainers continue with the training.

It is interesting to note that the first scientific research conducted on CBD oil use in pets is the 2017 Cornell University study, where CBD oil was given to dogs with osteoarthritis two times a day(6). 

In the said study, some of the conditions thought to be relieved by the consumption of hemp-based CBD dog treats and products were: joint pain, inflammation, anxiety and phobia, digestive system issue, and pruritus (itching)(7). 

Then, in a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the authors reported that a significant reduction in seizure frequency was achieved for dogs given CBD(8).


There is no substantial scientific evidence to support claims that CBD oils can effectively treat separation anxiety, noise phobias, or other disorders in dogs.

Neither is there a study that shows CBD can be excellent vitamins or supplements for pets, or that CBD can be useful in dog training.

More longitudinal research is needed to determine how using CBD oil impacts dogs, especially when used as a dog training tool.

Thus, before using CBD oil as a treatment for dog anxiety or pain, or as a training tool, dog owners and trainers should consult with a veterinarian experienced in cannabis use for advice. 

The veterinarian can help dog owners and trainers determine if and how CBD oil may help with dog training, as well as discuss different CBD products, possible side effects, and risks.

  1. AKC. (2018, April 30). 4 Tips for Training Your Dog With Rewards. Retrieved from
  2. AKC. Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Dog Anxiety. Retrieved from
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Freundt-Revilla J, Kegler K, Baumgärtner W, Tipold A (2017) Spatial distribution of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in normal canine central and peripheral nervous system. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0181064.
  5. AKC. Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Dog Anxiety. Retrieved from
  6. Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018;5:165. Published 2018 Jul 23. DOIi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165.
  7. Kogan LR, Hellyer PW, Robinson NG. Consumers’ perceptions of hemp products for animals. J Am Holist Vet Med Assoc. (2016) 42:40–8.
  8. McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, Packer RA, Gustafson DL. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019;254(11):1301–1308. DOI:10.2460/javma.254.11.1301. 

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Take The Class!
by S. A. Kent – “The Dog Obedience Instructor’s Bible”

The BOA Dog Obedience & Dancing With Dogs Demonstration Team

” I am keeping Take the Class in my office and I am using it regularly as a reference.”

“Take The Class! has been proved so useful to our club in so many ways.”

” Take The Class! is a great source of reference.”

” I recommend that this book should be read, indeed must be read, by anyone who is involved in teaching dog obedience.”

“Invaluable for many years to come.”

” All obedience instructors should be made to read it!”

” I refer to it every week when I set out my plan for training.”

“A good buy this, and an essential part of the kit for every trainer, every class, no matter how long it has been running.”

” I call it “my instructor’s bible”!”

Take The Class!
by S. A. Kent – “The Dog Obedience Instructor’s Bible”

15 Years In The Making –

Here’s the REAL STORY on how to teach dog training classes!

REAL classes with bitchy owners, howling spaniels, aggressive rescued dogs, kids at the end of a lead attached to a Rottweiler, in tiny halls with slippery floors, in windswept fields, with unhelpful bystanders, you name it –

We’ve done it!

Me and my friend Rowna learned the hard way and I’ve written down what I know so you can save yourself time, money, trouble and heartache and get to be as confident as we became after a few hundred training classes with a few thousand owners and their individual dogs in much less than half the time.

I’ve collected dozens and dozens of methods and arranged them into a handy A-Z of dog training, and then there’s a very useful section on how exactly to treat over fifty problems in the foundation exercises.

There’s handy tips on class control, how to deal with difficult owners, what to do about problem dogs, and everything I have learned over the years about how you make classes exciting, great fun, super safe and get the owners to learn much faster and in an atmosphere of calm support.

Thousands of copies of Take The Class! have been sold worldwide and it has been received with joy and more acclaim than we have space for on this site. If you are at all interested in many different dog training methods, how to teach properly and with absolute confidence, you really should invest in this manual.

Dog Training Class – Happy Dog Owners At Berwick Obedience Association, ca 1985

One class of many – a group of proud and happy owners at the end of their first 8 week course

Proudly, we offer you an absolute

“Full, Unconditional Life Time No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee”.

We’ve never had to make a single refund, ever, since it was first released in 1993.

Click below to view the full index of all three parts and yes, there is THAT MUCH in it.

Take The Class! All Three Sections, Full Content

When you’re ready, get the complete Take The Class! Training Library

for instant access, instant download HERE

You can buy this outstanding book in HARD COPY (Hard Book By Postal Mail) for

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or Phone In Your Order Toll Free, Monday To Friday from 1-5pm EST – 1-888-349-9438


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– a saving of nearly 10 dollars AND you get to read it right now – no waiting!

PLUS: As an extra special bonus for ELECTRONIC LIBRARY CUSTOMERS

we will also give you the COMPLETE COLLECTION of the actual BOA reminder sheets

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A really great manual?

Wonderful value for money? Sure, we’d be saying that.

Don’t just take our word for it.

Here are just a very few of the comments from experienced dog trainers

who are using it with their classes and really know what they’re talking about.

Take The Class! – Reader’s Letters & Reviews

Take The Class! has been proved so useful to our club in so many ways. It is absolutely excellent, we recommend it to every one of our new assistants and refer to it often.

P. Scholey, ABIPDT, Cobham DTC

Dear Silvia,

having purchased most of your range of books and tapes over the past years I continue to use them for reference. I am in the process of training three members of my club to become assistants. Your book, Take The Class! is a great source of reference to them as it is the only book that I know on the market which doesn’t simply tell you about how to plan the class, what shoes to wear and what the floor surface should be like but also give advice to on what to do if you have dogs eyeballing each other or you have petrified owners.

Angela Pitman MIACE, BIPDT, APDT, Fido DTC

I have enjoyed Take The Class immensely, in fact have not been able to put it down and I feel sure it will prove to be invaluable for many years to come.

I thought the advice given, the humour and the so obvious insight into all aspects of dog training and an instructor’s role, absolutely excellent. I will certainly recommend that this book should be read, indeed must be read, by anyone who is involved in teaching dog obedience.

Thank you for your help. Mrs Liz Killick

Dear Silvia,

I recently purchased your book Take The Class and was so impressed with it, I just had to write and compliment you on your ability to write so concisely and informatively on what I consider a minefield of a subject. For the past few years I have been the secretary of a dog training club. I also assist on a one-on-one basis with behaviour problems within the class. However I have never wanted to “take the class” as I felt that I had neither the knowledge or the confidence.

By the time I had finished reading your book I had been transformed from a dog handler into someone who has now the confidence to say that I have the knowledge of knowing where to start setting up a course of instruction.

Thank you for writing an interesting, readable and immensely helpful book.

Mrs Joyce Cooper

Dear Mrs Kent,

I have just finished reading your book Take The Class and I felt I must write to say how much I enjoyed it.

I have been training dogs for many years. The last ten I have run the Dawlish Dog Training School. All profits go to charity and we have managed to donate just over £30 000, a record we are very proud of. The School has four qualified trainers with years of experience and two assistant trainers, we have 300 doggy pupils attending 28 classes each week for Obedience, Agility and Flyball.

What I really enjoyed about your book was the fact that we seem to think and work alike, I agreed with almost everything you said, you also reminded me of several exercises which we have not used lately, and one or two problems which have occurred recently I was able to check in the book to see if I had handled the situation as you would have done.

I have read many training manuals in the past, most of them I consider rubbish, but I am keeping Take the Class in my office and I am using it regularly as a reference and to remind me of exercises which can make classes more interesting. We can all get stale and become repetetive, we follow a structured course which has proved to be most efficient but at our next Trainers meeting when my other trainers have read your book I am sure we will be making alterations, especially to the advanced competition class.

Good luck with all your future activities, if you ever chance to visit Devon, please look us up, we would be delighted to see you in any of our classes

with best wishes, Pat Neale, Principal Trainer, Dawlish DTS

Dear Ms Kent,
thank you for my copy of “Take The Class!”. It’s Brilliant!!! All obedience instructors should be made to read it!
I was going through a de-motivated patch at club recently but Take The Class has put things back into perspective and has made me laugh. I found your comments on Kindergarten Puppy Classes especially interesting, it explained so well some of the problems we had been experiencing. Good luck with the book, I hope it sells a million

yours sincerely – Jackie Mallins

Dear Mr Burnett,

Some time ago you sent me “Take The Class!” and made a note that you would like to know if it was use to a ringcraft instructor as I had mentioned in my order.

My reaction was to write back immediately and say “of course it will be!!” but I have waited for the first term to be over to give you a proper assessment.

I can now say emphatically that it has been of great benefit to me as I am neither trained a s a teacher nor as the Obedience girls were by a Police Dog Handler.

Everything applied to my class. I have to be in charge, responsible for saftey, not overbearing, helpful, etc. I had fumbled through a few weeks before I read about your book and what a difference! I structured the class, wore something distinctive to make me stand out and give me confidence, carried my notes on a clipboard and did much more, all as suggested and did it work!

It made the world of difference and everyone noticed, right away.

So yes. This is a book for ALL who instruct anything to do with dogs.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs M Marshall
Breed Judge & Ringcraft Instructor

Thank you for sending your manual “Take The Class!”. This has proved most helpful as a resource and a “Back up” for the One Day Instructional Course I had planned for our dog club assistants and would be instructors. The day was highly successful and had all the participants requesting more!

With many thanks – BC Pearson, Senior Instructor, Twyford DTC

Dear Mrs Kent,

I am absolutely delighted to have discovered your book “Take The Class”.

How refreshing to find a book that deals with the practicality of dog training, putting across How To Teach in such a readable and instructive way. This was certainly a book that is much needed and one which I will value greatly.

Yours sincerely – Neil Watts BIPDT, Senior Instructor, Lucky Dog TS

Dear Mrs Kent,

I have recently received your book “Take The Class” and I am so pleased with it. I take training classes and so the information contained in the book is so useful, I refer to it every week when I set out my plan for training. Also when there is a problem in an exercise, it is so helpful to have something to refer to you can trust to work every time. I call it “my instructor’s bible””!

Thank you very much, you have made my job so much easier

Sharron Davies (Mrs), Instructor

Have You Read?

The Subtitle of S. A. Kent’s oversized 300 page manual is “Success Strategies For Dog Obedience Instructors”.

It is written in an anecdotal, friendly style and is easy to read, and some of the wise advice is bound to stick where it is most needed.

Silvia has had wide experience with different top class overseas and British dog trainers. She is a compassionate woman who hates to see dogs and their owners humiliated in front of other members of the class, so the first part of the book is an easy treatise on people psychology. The book then progresses to analyzing the types of dog temperament which may be encountered, with emphasis on dogs with problems which may prove to be a barrier to learning.

She illustrates the practical use of the space available in the venue via new patterns and training games and variations which will keep the class interest high for dogs, owners and the trainers.

Finally, there are detailed lists on how to teach exercises and perhaps more valuable still, what to do when there are problems – a goldmine of good ideas.

A good buy this, and an essential part of the kit for every trainer, every class, no matter how long it has been running.

Kay White, Review From Dog World.

Take The Class!

Section 1 – All About Dog Obedience Instructing

Difficult Owners, Difficult Dogs, Venues, Equipment, Class Patterns, How To Teach, How To Practise, Safety, Fun & Games, Enjoyment, Basic To Competition Classes, Articles, Dog Behaviour & A Whole Lot More!

Section 2 – The A-Z Of Dog Obedience Instructing

From From Advanced Heelwork to ASSD, From KPT To Flat & Kill, From Box Training To Sendaways, From Companion Heelwork Corrections to Four Different Methods To Teach Three Different Finishes, From Footwork to a full Scent Progression & A Whole Lot More!

Section 3 – Trouble Shooting Foundation Exercises

From what to do when a dog won’t go Down to what to do about paddling on the Stand Stay; From Slow Returns To Overshooting Retrieve Presents; From Shaking Articles To Lagging On Heelwork – And A Whole Lot More!

Click below to view the full index of all three parts and yes, there is THAT MUCH in it.

Take The Class! Check Out What’s Inside!

Take The Class – International Best Selling Manual On Dog Obedience Instructing For Dog Trainers, Dog Handlers And Anyone Interested In Dog Training Methods And Dog Training!

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All Three Sections Just $28.87! (That’s a lot less than an average 8 week course at the local Dog Training School for Beginners!)
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Your Dog & Your Baby –
A Practical Guide
• Ten Years Of Saving Dogs From Being Destroyed Or Re-Homed,
• Ten Years Of Saving Children From Being Bitten
Four Complete Editions, Innumerable Re-Prints, Your Dog & Your Baby has been an International Favourite & Bestseller since 1990!
Now Available – The Tenth Anniversary Edition – Version 4.0
Click Here To View The Full Contents Listings
Your Dog & Your Baby
A Practical Guide
• 16 Detailed Action Plans On Everything From Jealousy To Car Journeys;
• Easy, Step by Step Training Advice That Everyone Can Do and Get Great Results;
• Lots of Real Life Examples, Stories and Case Examples to Illustrate What Can Go Wrong and How You Can Learn From Their Mistakes & Disasters!
• Completely Customised And With Full Understanding Of What It’s Like With A New Baby – You Have To Have Been There To Really Know!!!

Click Here To See What’s Inside Your Dog & Baby

Your Dog & Your Baby
A Practical Guide
• 16 Detailed Action Plans On Everything From Jealousy To Car Journeys;
• Easy, Step by Step Training Advice That Everyone Can Do and Get Great Results;
• Lots of Real Life Examples, Stories and Case Examples to Illustrate What Can Go Wrong and How You Can Learn From Their Mistakes & Disasters!
• Completely Customised And With Full Understanding Of What It’s Like With A New Baby – You Have To Have Been There To Really Know!!!
Your Dog & Your Baby- A Practical Guide
“Absolutely Essential For Every Parent To Be, Absolutely Essential For Every Club Library, Behaviourist, Instructor, Professional Dog Training & Behaviour Advisor.”
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What The Experts Say About “Your Dog & Your Baby”
“An excellent book – friendly, reassuring and crammed full of solid advice. Who better to write this book than someone who is not just an outstanding trainer herself, but has personal experience of the ups and downs of having dogs and babies in the home together?
I recommend it highly to every mother to be, of course, but also to all dog trainers and advisors, because you’ll be asked those very questions and come into those very situations that Silvia tells us about in such clear and explicit terms.”
Max Eversfield, President, Greenlights DTC


“Your Dog & Your Baby is essential reading for all Mums-to-be and new Mums. It prepares the dog owning family for the arrival of the new baby, teaches how to avoid problems when baby does arrive and how to have a happy baby/dog relationship from day one. It teaches how to solve the problems before they happen by preparing your dog for the birth of your baby.
I am a dog behaviour counsellor and I recommend this book very strongly to all pregnant women with a dog in the family – and to fellow professionals, too!”
Rowna Wyatt, President, BOA


“In my experience of hospital paediatrics I come across terrible injuries caused by family dogs which should have been avoided. Silvia Kent’s book is the ideal guidance and preparation for the parent and dog owner and will most certainly prevent many problems when bringing up dogs and children together.”
Dr Katya Villa, Paediatrician


“In this priceless book, Silvia Kent combines her deep knowledge of dogs with her knowledge of being a mother. Never before has there been such a need for the information contained within these pages. These are the answers to the questions and concerns mothers and mothers to be want to know about.”
John Fisher, Founder, The Association For Pet Behaviour Counsellors

“A superb book, written with compassion and enthusiasm that will stop dogs being put down and re-homed unneccessarily on the one hand, and on the other hand will save many a child from the terrible trauma of being bitten by a family pet.
An absolute must-have for every instructor, dog trainer, club library.”
Roy Hunter, President, Anglo American Dog Training

“Your Dog & Your Baby is a well written guide and all aspiring parents who are dog owners are well advised to read it and take note of the sensible advice. I recommend it highly.”
Lena Bernhem-Parter, Community & Maternity Nurse


“This book should have been written long ago – all too many children these days have to grow up without ever experiencing the joy a dog can bring. Your Dog & Your Baby puts the record straight and parent’s mind at ease.”
Michele Boys BIPDT, Founder, Canine Crusaders


“Delightfully illustrated, this is an excellent book for all dog owning parents.”
New Hope International Magazine 1993

Your Dog & Your Baby- A Practical Guide
“Absolutely Essential For Every Parent To Be, Absolutely Essential For Every Club Library, Behaviourist, Instructor, Professional Dog Training & Behaviour Advisor.”
Just $9.87 USD
You can buy this outstanding book in HARD COPY (Hard Book By Postal Mail) for
$12.95 plus $3.95 Postage & Packing
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Your Dog & Your Baby!, like all our manuals, comes with our unconditional 100% money back guarantee: if you don’t like it for any reason, we’ll cheerfully refund your money, no questions asked. There are no time limits, you’re free to take as long as you like to evaluate the manual. *Please Note: Not ONE Refund issued since 1990!

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Dear Fellow Pokemon Trainers,
I have been what you might call an advanced gym leader for many years.
I’d like to offer you some important tips on how to train your Pikachu, Togapi, Mew or any of the others to be really good friends and companions to you.
As you know, the relationship between the trainer and their Pokemon is all-important.
If your Pikachu doesn’t like you, it won’t try very hard to do anything.
As a result, it isn’t much fun to do anything with it and the whole thing just gets nasty – but there’s no need for any of that!
So here are the …..

3 Golden Rules For Training Your Pikachu:

1. Keep all your training happy!
This means that it is very bad to lose your temper or shout and scream at your Pikachu.
It doesn’t just get upset at the time, but what happens is that the Pikachu gets to think that training sucks and will try and get out of it or at the very least, sigh heavily and wish it was it was somewhere else.
It won’t pay proper attention to you and it won’t listen. And that’s a real bad thing in training.
So, how do you keep training happy?
• Keep it short.
Don’t overdo it, especially with a young Pikachu and keep looking if they’re getting fed up. You gotta stop before they get fed up – in fact, the best time to stop is when they’re still ready to do a lot more. That keeps them happy and keen to do some more tomorrow.
• Keep it easy.
Make sure your Pika can do what you want them to do quite easily. If they get freaked out or fail all the time, they get sad or upset and won’t learn a thing other than that training is terrible and makes you feel bad.
So make things easy to start with, and only gently make it more harder, a bit at a time, but never so hard that the Pikachu fails to get it right and you can praise and reward them. If your Pikachu fails, that’s a sign you’ve made it too hard for them and they need to practice easier, shorter, lighter things first for a bit more.

• Lots Of Rewards!!

Its up to you to keep your Pikachu happy and motivated. Some Pikachus like food more than others and some really like a backrub or being played with and that will make them really happy.
When your Pika has done a good job and tried hard, even if what they did wasn’t so good or perfect to start with, give lots of really excited praise and lots of rewards too so that your Pikachu really knows how proud of them you are and how much you appreciate their efforts.
2. YOU Are The Trainer!

• “Its not the Pikachu, it’s always the trainer.”
What that means is that if a Pika is great at what they do, that’s the trainers pride and praise – they are a good trainer.
If a Pika is miserable and does badly, that’s the trainer’s disgrace and their fault. There was something wrong with their training methods.
• All Pikachus can be absolutely brilliant.
They’re all capable of it, no matter what the differences between them.
Some need more encouragements, and some need more patience and some are a bit slower but all of them have it in them to be total excellent.
A good trainer NEVER blames their Pikachu for anything that goes wrong but asks themselves instead, How can I train differently so this won’t happen again, or this stops or what else can I do to make my Pika get better at it?
• Help & Experience
If you haven’t trained that many Pikachus, you will need some help from others who have successfully trained Pikachus before. Watch other trainers and take note of what’s happening, really carefully. Often you can see things that don’t work and you can learn a lot from what NOT to do as well as copying things that really work well.
• Keeping Your Cool
It happens that you get fed up and angry. Happens to the greatest trainers and gym leaders. But what they do when that happens is that they stop and walk away and don’t talk to the Pikachu before they’re feeling better again.
They know that it really hurts their Pikachu and damages it quite badly when they get angry and yell and shout.
It makes the Pikachu nervous and in the long run, is really bad for your relationship which is the most important thing.
So if you find you’re getting annoyed, just stop and leave it be for now. Tomorrow is another day and chances are, what got you wound up today will just go smoothly then.

3. Tomorrow is Another Day

That’s the most important and the greatest secret of all Pikachu training.
If something goes bad, something goes wrong, there’s no need to be upset or get depressed.
Tomorrow is always another day.
You can always start again, start afresh, try something else.
It doesn’t matter, really.
Your Pikachu will be there, ready and waiting to have another go if it loves you and you have treated it right.
And at the end, that’s the important thing, not winning battles or anything like that.
When your Pikachu isn’t with you anymore, it’s not the battles you’ll remember or the trophies on the shelf, or the badges.
Its the little things, how it used to snuggle up with you and follow you around and look at you and how much you loved it.
If you remember that, and take the time each night before you go to bed to have a moment where you just cuddle or stroke your Pikachu and tell it how much you like and admire it, everything else will be easy for you both.
Good Training & All The Best Success To You!
Silvia Kent
Gym Leader At

Keep Your Training Bright & Happy!

Walking Nicely On The Lead
If there‘s any area of intense conflict between companion dogs and their owners, this must be it!
I‘ve been deeply interested in the various methods of teaching so-called Heelwork for as long as I‘ve been involved in dog training, and I must say I never liked any of them too much.
So one day, I‘m standing outside a primary school and I‘m observing various mothers with children of all ages walking towards the entrance.
The very youngest children were being carried.
The toddlers toddled after their mums as best they could.
The older toddlers were trying to commit suicide by dashing into the road and their mums were rushing after them frantically, or else holding onto their hands like grim death.
The pre-school children skipped and hopped around their mothers whilst being watched carefully and called back every so often.
The school children walked next to their mothers on their own accord and had conversations with them.
In a way, that‘s much like my experiences with puppies.
Very young puppies are absolutely desperate to stay with you. Even outgoing characters get pretty overwhelmed at the great big world out there and stay close to you to begin with.
In my opinion, the problem with dogs pulling on the lead appears in the older toddler stage. The dogs get really excited, can‘t wait to get out there, try to rush ahead. As result, the owners tighten up on the lead and the dog goes into the “pull me – push you” response, like those older toddlers were pulling on their mother‘s hands, trying to get ahead, trying to get free. This “tug‘o‘war” type response is allowed to occur every time they go out for a walk, and then becomes a habit.
6 months later, the owners come to dog training classes with a dog that pulls on the lead like a steam train.

I would say that
– it is perfectly normal for a young or untrained dog to want to move about a little, rather than to walk totally in one particular position to heel.
– and it is easier and much more effective in the long run to guide the dog towards the right position than to try and force it into that position.
See, the more you push, the more the dog pushes back.
Ok, so there‘s ways and methods such as check (or choke) chains that inflict pain every time the dog moves out of position. There‘s also such things as sound devices or ways to handle the lead in such a way that the dog gets a nasty “shock” when it pulls ahead. And these methods work a treat if you‘re a good handler, have done it lots of times before, and can handle yourself, leads, dogs, and devices congruently and at the same time.
However, normal people don‘t have these specialist skills, and their dogs know it, and that‘s why these methods don‘t work very well for most normal people.
So now, here‘s a nice, evolutionary method to have a dog that walks somewhere with you, because it likes you, and it has lots of times when it‘s off the lead anyway, companionably, happily, and without you having to do anything than just enjoy it‘s company and the countryside.

Walking Nicely On The Lead – Action Plan
1. Find a route that is reasonably safe, reasonably distraction free, and can be completed in ten minutes or less.
It could be just round the block, or up and down the lane – it doesn‘t matter if it‘s boring or if it has many distractions, as long as you get there as soon as you walk out of your house.
This route will become your practise track for walking nicely on the lead.
The reason this is so important is that a lot of owners only walk to their place of exercise every single day, and the dog gets to believe that it needs to pull them all the way, else they‘d never get there! These self same owners usually make the comment that “it‘s not so bad on the way home”!
2. Put your dog on the long line, or the training lead, and give it some rope.
In practise, this means that you loosen the lead right out so your dog cannot feel it anymore. (I do hope you‘ve got hold of this book before you were in a position where the dog just runs hell for leather and doesn‘t care if you follow or not. If that‘s your problem, go to the special section for Steam Train Pullers instead).
For your first attempt, the assignment is to get round your practise route with the lead being loose as much as possible.
– yes, you‘re going to get tangled in the lead, wrapped round lamp posts or bushes, to begin with. And yes, you‘re going to learn the art of handling a lead in such a way that this doesn‘t happen anymore after a week of this.
It‘s an immensely valuable skill that will stand you in good stead with every dog you‘ll ever own, and something you‘ll never learn if you buy a Flexi-type lead with the big clumsy box at the end of it.
– use the lead to bring your dog back if it‘s going somewhere inappropriate. If you‘re walking in a town, your dog will need to learn to distinguish the pavement and the verge from the actual road. Tell the dog over and over, “Stay on the pavement, that‘s a good boy (or girl).” After a week of this, your dog will know.
– use the lead to make your dog sit at road intersections, if there are any on your walk. Again, speak to your dog. Tell him about sitting because of the danger of traffic. The more you talk to your dog with real intent and real meaning, the more he or she will listen to you.
– to begin with, be very flexible in your speed. Stop for a while if your dog wants to sniff something, speed up a little when your dog picks up speed. The first commandment is to keep the lead loose.
– to begin with, be flexible whether the dog‘s on your left, or on your right, or in front of you, or behind you. As long as the lead‘s loose, and the dog‘s still moving in roughly the same direction, that‘s fine. You‘re both going to get home again. That‘s all that‘s required.
– the only thing you should strongly object to is if your dog suddenly lunges into some direction or the other, or hits the end of the long line sharply. Call your dog back and tell him or her right away that this is not on, that it could be dangerous for both of you, and that you‘re just going round the block (or up and down the lane).
Do this on one particular practise track twice or three times a day for about a week. Once you feel that both of you have got the hang of the basics (i.e. you know how to handle the lead so it‘s loose all the time you‘re not actually using it to make an important correction, and how to encourage your dog not to lunge, to stay on the pavement and to sit at intersections, if any, and your dog has relaxed and learned that you just kind of walk this particular walk together), you can:
– begin to encourage the dog to be on the left or right of you, using an appropriate encouragement;
– to walk closely with you for a short period of time with full attention (just a few steps close by your side with the lead completely slack is fine, then just let him wander along again);
– take a break and do a bit of training such as stay or come.
Over a period of a month or so, lengthen the time you are actually requesting your dog to walk in the normal heelwork position by your side gently and steadily. The instruction I use for this is “Walk closely.” When the dog is in a close position by my left or right leg, depending on the circumstance, I look down and praise it gently whilst we‘re walking along: “Well, this is nice, isn‘t it? You and me, just poodling along the old lane … (etc.)”
When you‘re happy that you and your dog can walk companionably with each other on your practise route, you can exchange the long line for the proper five foot lead (which also must be loose at all times you‘re not actually giving a direct instruction to your dog and even then, only if a verbal instruction has been ignored).
Then, you can start varying your route and gradually introduce more distractions along the way, always making sure that you‘re asking no more of your dog in the way of understanding, good behaviour and co-operation than your dog is ready to give to you, depending on his or her age, prior training experience, and current level and standard of training.
If you follow this outline, in a couple of months at the most you will have arrived at a point where your dog is walking along happily not because it‘s afraid it‘ll get hurt if it doesn‘t, but simply because the two of you have built up a mutual rapport and understanding of what going out for a walk together is all about – being aware of each other‘s movements, and behaving in such a way that you‘re both having a good time in each other‘s company.

Walking On The Lead For Steam Train Pullers
Sometimes, you may have to re-train a re-homed or rescued dog that pulls no matter how long the lead is, and pulls flat out, like a steam train. For these dogs, we need a slightly modified approach.
Firstly, I would recommend the use of a head collar, such as the Halti or Fig.8 collar.
Secondly, a normal lead of five to six foot will be of more use.
Thirdly, use the very best food you can find to reward any attempt at co-operation.
Fourthly, whatever “command” the dog has ever heard regards this activity must be firmly placed in the rubbish bin from now on, because it has by now become a signal to start pulling. Use words that sound completely different instead.
Fifthly, use your practise track when your dog is as tired as possible; i.e. just after a long walk*. Another very useful tip is to walk it once, come inside, and straight out again – and then again.
*A safety note: Very young puppies, older puppies of large boned or slow developing breeds, and rescued dogs who are unfit due to kennelling or mismanagement can suffer serious health problems if over-exercised. Please ask your veterinary surgeon, breeder or other dog professional for advice if you‘re even slightly unsure about how much exercise is advised for your dog or puppy.

The reason that even the most dyed in the wool pullers will be able to learn through this method is that it‘s simply impossible for a dog to sustain top levels of excitement over walking the practise track if it‘s done three times on the trot, three times a day, seven days a week.
If you are short on time, just do a shorter practise track – but do it!

Walk the practise track at least three times, three times a day. If there‘s more than one of you in the household, do it each three times a day. Again, after a while the dog will relax on the practise track and the lead will be loose more than it will be tight. Once the dog is usually relaxed on the practise track, introduce all the methods from the section above.

Walking nicely off the lead
As you can see from the section before, the fact that sooner or later your dog will be walking without the lead is actually built into this kind of lead training right from the start. As you are continuously striving to keep the lead loose and your rapport and understanding with your dog improves, there comes a time quite naturally when your dog will be ready to walk off the lead with you. To make the transition from on the lead to off the lead:
1. Firstly, remember to be safe rather than sorry. Even a very well behaved dog can sometimes run off if the temptation is strong enough – say, another dog taunting it across the road, or a cat, or perhaps a car misfiring very close by. Walk completely off lead only where you can be sure you will be safe.
2. Once your dog is walking pretty reliably with you, put it on the long line. But instead of holding onto it, just throw it over your shoulder and tuck the rest into a pocket. Walk normally and do not hold on to the lead. Use it only if you really need to, and always precede the use of the lead with a verbal instruction first (you will find that this alleviates the need to use the lead at all, half the time anyway).
3. Once you‘re happy with that, let your dog drag the line for a while just to be sure.

Walking nicely everywhere
Once your dog is good on the practise track, begin to extend the walks and the locations as described in the section on How A Dog Learns. Eventually, the dog will make the cross over to be able to reproduce his or her learning in any location.

To conclude this section, let me say that this is a very friendly, very easy way to train most dogs to walk with you in a civilised fashion in a relatively short period of time, providing you make an effort for a month or so to really teach your dog. If for whatever reason your dog begins to wander off or starts to pull later, go back to the old practise route to remind him/her of the original training.

Get Back & Walk On
Two instructions that are very useful in conjunction with walking on the lead, amongst others, are Get Back and Walk On, respectively.
The Get Back instruction means that the dog should move into a position slightly behind you and remain behind you. We have learned this from dog behaviour studies – the “pack leader” is in a forward position, both as a look out and decision maker.
As this is a normal dog behaviour, it is easy to teach and dogs understand it very quickly. It has many practical applications, from the aforementioned walking on the lead, to being able to open the door to people and being both protected by the dog, yet the dog under full control, putting the visitor at ease.
Get Back – Action Plan
Walk through your house with your dog on the lead. In doorways, stop, use your lead and a stopping motion with your left hand, asking the dog to “get back”, so you can walk through the doorway first. Also try this going up and down the stairs, through garden gates or narrow passageways. Look over your left shoulder, and tell the dog you‘re very pleased.
The other side of the coin is the Walk On Instruction. This asks your dog to walk on and lead the way.

We borrowed this instruction from horse trainers, because there are so many occasions when it is useful to ask the dog to go first, be it because you wish to close the door behind both of you, or any other situation where it is more convenient for you to herd your dog(s) whilst you bring up the rear.

Walk On – Action Plan
When you‘re out for a walk, wait until your dog stops naturally to sniff something.
Give a brief nudge on the lead (like you would flick a horse‘s reins) and encourage the dog to “Walk On”, praising when they‘ve picked up speed.
Often, you can find narrow passageways or corridors (failing this, you may construct such a corridor with a few chairs in your dining room or in your garden). Walk up to it and encourage your dog to lead the way by telling it to “walk on”.
Practise both this and the Get Back so you can be flexible in who goes first.
Indoors, you can practise this instruction when your dog is already on it‘s way, out into the garden or into another room, putting the words “Walk On” onto a naturally occurring situation.
These two instructions will give both you and your dog/s a great deal of behavioural flexibility both indoors and out, and are very useful indeed for many different situations.
You can reproduce this article freely in newsletters and on your site providing you keep the following link and copyright notice intact:
Article by Silvia Kent, Author, Dynamic Dog Training.
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101 Ways To Have More People In Your Dog Training Classes Without Increasing Your Advertising Budget!

Silvia A Kent

Copyright 1992

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The First Law Of Advertising: People pay for what they want, and not what they need. So – we know they need to learn new skills, change their behaviour, make time for practise, and to develop perseverance, patience, flexibility and character as well. You put that in an ad, and people will run a mile! What they want is to go to you for one hour, you wave a magic wand, and all the problems will be gone. You put that in an ad, and people‘ll take you to court! Therefore: Focus on what they will have achieved once they‘ve completed the course of lessons IF THEY HAD DONE WHAT YOU ADVISED.

The Second Law Of Advertising Jane Doe, W.I.I.F.M. (What‘s in it for me?) People don‘t give a damn about you if you are a complete stranger to them. So replace any words like “I” and “us” and “we” with “you” and “your dog”, giving them a clear personal guide as to the benefits they will accrue from paying you their hard earned cash. (When they‘re already with you and you advertise something internally to them, you of course may use “we” and “us” liberally, because that now includes them).

The Third Law Of Advertising An advert can never be too long or too specific, ONLY TOO BORING.

The Fourth Law Of Advertising Never sell a bicycle to a legless man. Which means – find out what the client requires, and if you can have what they need, go hell for leather in explaining all the reasons why they should book in with you rather than your competitors. But if you don‘t, tell them fair and square and then help them find it elsewhere. The good will this generates is amazing.

The Fifth Law Of Advertising Know Your Product! Yes, I know you know why it‘s so beneficial to go to your particular dog training class, but others don‘t. If you really want to get to know why it‘s good to come to you, stop now, get a sheet of paper, and list every single benefit a client and his or her dog will receive by coming to you. Head your piece of paper with the words: Your dog will … and then fill in as much as you can think of. Do another starting with You will … (feel more confident, have less hassle, become a great dog trainer, whatever). If you deal with a lot of family dogs, do one starting with The members of your family will … If you do it properly, it‘ll blow your mind and you‘ll start asking yourself seriously why you‘ve been so reticent and blushing bride shy in your ads up until now!

The Sixth Law Of Advertising Only The Market Knows The Price. Pricing your services is one of the trickiest things. In general, if you charge about the same as the local adult education classes, you get few price objections. If your service is premium and considerably better than that of your competitors, it should be reflected in the price. For example, if dogs get trained to their owners satisfaction in your classes twice as fast as anywhere else, you can charge twice as much. Undercutting the competition only works in conjunction with a major advertising campaign telling the customers about it, thus reducing the benefits. A premium price can also be charged if you offer extra or
bonus services (such as printed course notes, special outings, guest speakers, or events) which makes a higher price acceptable.

The Seventh Law Of Advertising No-one knows what will work! You need to test and test and test your advertising. You simply cannot predict what will work and what won‘t – trust me, I found out the hard way! You need to test your ads first in a small way – local newspapers, for example – and when you‘ve found one that really gets the phones ringing, try it in a national dog magazine, for example – and then remember to ask everyone how they found out about you so you will actually know if it was worth doing. Amazingly, people go on for years buying bad advertising and placing bad ads and actually subsidise these with their other earnings without ever checking!

How To Get The Phone To Ring
Space Ads 1. Bigger ads pull better than smaller ones, and a small boxed ad pulls better than a long classified one – but always test your advertisements, keep records of how many phone calls came in from a specific ad, and if it doesn‘t pay it‘s way, it‘s gotta go and be replaced with something else. 2. Ads get tired – the very longest you can run the same ad without the response dropping is about 6 months. One ad will speak to one particular group of people – if you want to cast your net wider, change it often, stressing the various different benefits of your particular service. 3 Look at the publication you‘re advertising in and find out what kind of people you‘re speaking to before addressing their particular problems in your advertising. 4 Make every single word count in your ad. The Famous Northern and North Western Dog Obedience Training and Caninine Behavioural Advisory Centre For Beloved Companion Animals is a criminal waste
of space – who cares? 5 Make your ads exciting. “Dog Training Every Wednesday And Thursday Afternoon” used to be alright in the days when there was only a single club – but now we‘re competing against many other trainers and clubs in an area. Get That Dog Trained – Phone xxx Now! is cheaper and far more effective. (I don‘t suggest you try that particular phrasing, it‘s the short, punchy statement feel I‘m after). 6 Practise the art of becoming absolutely immune to what the other trainers in your area think about you or say about you. It‘s your clients that count – if the other trainers feel your ads are “over the top” – boo hoo I‘d say! It‘s not as though they are going to fill your venues and pay your bills, is it! 7 Don‘t try to be cute, twee or funny. It‘s been extensively tested and it doesn‘t pull compared to a straightforward, exciting ad that lists benefits for the customer.

Other Publications 8 Free advertising can be had or negotiated in return for, say, a free lecture or article on dog care or training or a visit with a dog from: 9 Parish Magazines 10 Group Newsletters 11 Boy Scouts & Girl Guides 12 Ramblers 13 Friends of the Local Hospital 14 The Woman‘s Institute 15 Dog Rescue Centres 16 Horse and Pony Rescue Centres 17 Breed Newsletters 18 Businesses you deal with and who produce newsletters 19 Schools 20 You can get dead cheap advertising targeted directly in the area
your classes are held by simply taking over the blank backs of hand outs schools (infant, junior, nursery etc), colleges and adult education colleges hand out – they‘re only too pleased to have a little something towards their horrendous photocopying budgets, and things that come from schools are always accepted as being somewhat official.

Posters 21 Take some time to re-design your main advertising posters so they look smart, professional, exciting and tell people clearly that they should ring you NOW. 22 Coloured Posters pull better. 23 On posters, a picture of a dog attracts attention but be careful! If you choose a Rottweiler, Poodle owners won‘t ring and vice versa. Test the picture by showing it to your lowest class and asking for comments before committing yourself to a whole run of them. 24 Posters printed on or glued onto stiff card last much longer. 25 Laminated posters last even longer – and are great for damp places or out door display. 26 Have A4 or even larger posters for where there‘s space, and smaller A5 posters where space is more limited. Always carry everything in your car. 27 Have more than one telephone number – especially if you canvass a larger area, make sure one of the numbers is local. 28 Once a month, take one morning and make the rounds to all your local vets to make sure your poster is still there, that it‘s in good nick and no-one has stolen all your pins but one, leaving it hanging limply and sadly. Carry pins with you and replacement posters. 29 Position your poster on the right hand side of the notice board, and slightly above eye line – even if you have to re-arrange the whole notice board to do it. Twice as many people will notice. Places for posters: 30 Gardening Centres
31 Vets 32 Grooming Parlours 33 Animal Feed Merchants 34 Riding Schools 35 Equestrian Centres 36 Pet Shops 37 New Age Shops (they all have pets!) 38 Adult Education Centres 39 Health Centres 40 Doctor‘s Surgeries 41 Church Notice Boards 42 In Your Venues (can you believe there‘s people who don‘t put a poster up in their own venue??) 43 Community Centres 44 YMCA‘s and YWCA‘s 45 Church Halls 46 Shopping Centre Notice Boards

Cards & Business Cards By Cards I mean post card sized portable ads. 47 Look at the cards you‘re currently placing. Are they clear, exciting, professional? Using colour? Telling people what to do? If not, re – design them as soon as possible. 48 Whenever you finish a class, ask them if they enjoyed themselves, if the class was valuable to them. Then ask if they thought not more people should learn how to control their dogs. Then give everyone a card to place in their local post office or corner shop or pub or club notice board. People like to be involved if they feel something is valuable and enjoyable, and they will actively help you – but you‘ve got to ask them!
49 Remember to do this with every starters class you have. 50 Many supermarkets and pet food hypermarkets have notice boards. Some won‘t allow commercial advertising, so this is what you do: Hand write the following “Unused Gift – Set of Dog Training Lessons at local Top Dog Training School – sadly can‘t attend because of business commitments – cost £35 for eight weeks, will accept £30, starts Monday, October 6th.” and a handy assistant‘s telephone number, who sadly tells them sorry it‘s gone but do you want the telephone number of the dog training school direct?

Business Cards 51 Make sure you have one and that it complies with all the same requirements that hold for posters and all advertising – ie it‘s professional, clear, tells people what to do. 52 Look upon your buisiness card as more than just a bit of paper with your name on, but as a mini ad that may be passed from hand to hand. 53 Give them out freely and everywhere you go! 54 Leave large stacks of them wherever you can near the posters you‘ve put up. 55 Have some special ones laminated for long term use such as in Vet‘s surgeries and pet shops – this prevents them being used for scrap paper because you can‘t write on them!

Flyers 56 Flyers are pieces of paper of either A4 or more usually, A5 size. I‘ve just ordered 5000 and they cost me £29 incl. VAT and postage – you‘ll see ads for this in your local paper. 57 Flyers can be sent by mail with your application form as an added listing of your benefits. 58 Because of their low cost, you can leave hundreds of them at dog shows and just about everywhere else you can leave flyers for people who might own dogs.
59 I had a riot on my hands when I sent a bunch of assistants to put flyers under the windscreens of cars parked outside a rival club – not cricket, I suppose, but that club‘s been history now for a few good years and my conscience isn‘t only clear, it‘s jubilant because of what they were doing to the dogs in there (see 86). By the way, that isn‘t illegal – go for it if you‘ve got the nerve!

Other Ways Of Virtually Free Advertising 60 Have you got the name of your dog training school, and the reason why people should come to you, and your phone number professionally painted on your car yet, and if not why not? Are you worried people might find out what it is that you do?? NB If you‘re driving a badly banged up jallopy, ignore this piece of advice! 61 Make a sandwich board, using a pasting table as the basis, which you put out whenever you are holding a training class anywhere. Remember to keep any wording brief and use massive letters so people can see it from their cars. One of our furthest and most in the stick venues was saved by this tactic alone from being closed due to lack of support. 62 If you do dog behaviour counselling, have a big sign saying “Dog Problem Specialist On Call” that you place in the windscreen. 63 This same tactic also works tremendously well to advertise yourself at ASDA, TESCO or wherever you go. All you need is a BIG Custom Made piece of card board with a poster stuck onto it – I am not talking about one of these sad little bits of paper stuck to the rear passenger window with Sellotape. 64 Yes, you‘ve guessed it – I have parked a car with a special message near competitors venues … (see 86)

Advertising Deals 65 You can strike deals with about everyone else who is earning a living from dog owners by co-operating. For this to be a success in the long term, do not strike deals with people or businesses which don‘t
give quality service or products. Examples: 66 You give out a grooming parlour ad with a voucher for 10% off to everyone whose dog needs a haircut and in return they give out a similar deal to all their clients. This basic model works with: 67 Pet shops – choose a big, busy one over a teensy one, else it won‘t be worth your while. 68 Animal Aunts type dog sitter services 69 Dog Walkers 70 Boarding Kennels 71 Pet Insurance People 72 Small local food manufacturers (there still are some left!) 73 Anyone who manufactures anything to do with dogs in your area (look at the ads in the canine magazines and newspapers for such people, they‘re usually quite small family run businesses who will be happy to co-operate). 74 Vets (oh yes! They too need to get people through the door!) 75 Nutritionists and Holisitic Practitioners 76 Dog Food Delivery Franchisees (in the little vans) 77 Another kind of advertising deal involves any dog shows or special events you organise – offer free trade stands or stands at a reduced rate to those who advertise you in return – a great bargaining chip. 78 Whenever you see a flyer, brochure or anything of that nature which has nothing on the back, you‘re looking at cheap wasted advertising space! Call them up and offer a bit of money or some help in return for your ad in that wasted place – it‘s the easiest and cheapest way to get your name posted to every house in the district, or included as an insert with your local newspaper. 79 A cooperative advertising effort we do is to sell booklets on dog behaviour to obedience instructors at the near cost price of £1.75
including Postage and Packing. These are printed to order and are personalised to carry advertising for that particular club, and they also carry advertising for our other books. What makes this particular deal so irresistable to instructors is that the booklet sells for £3 – so they make £1.25 on each one, can rest assured that the booklets have good advice in them, save time explaining basic stuff over and over, have their advertising out there, and in the end, if they set off the booklets as an advertising expense, pay absolutely nothing for them! A three way win – good for us, good for the clients, and good for the instructors. That‘s the kind of thing you‘re looking for – if someone looses out even slightly, the whole thing probably won‘t work in the long run. 80 Following from that, when you‘re doing deals or trying to get someone to put up a poster for you, you have got to have some convincing answers to the questions Why should I bother? and What‘s in it for me? So, what‘s so good about what you do that would convince the receptionist in a doctor‘s office or holistic health centre to permit you to put up a poster about dog training? Once again, know your product. Look at all the benefits possible from all possible angles – in our example above, dog training helps prevent sweet little children from being mauled. I don‘t want to sound too sarcastic, but when I ran that one by a very negative and unfriendly doctor‘s receptionist, it was as though the sun had come out of the clouds – and the poster, flyers and business cards came out of the bag!

Soliciting Referrals 81 It‘s unbelievable but it‘s also true that most people don‘t think of recommending you unless you specifically invite them to. They either think you‘re too busy already, or they don‘t think at all, which is more often the case! You don‘t have to whinge or weasel or beg for referrals – simply tell everyone who is pleased with your service to make sure they tell others about this training school. 82 If you cannot bring it over your lips yet, give them the cards and write down what you cannot say without sinking into the ground!
83 A trick that was pioneered by the APBC when it first tried to get referrals from vets was to ask owners of problem dogs who their vet was, then send the vet a letter which basically thanked them for the referral (which they never made) and give a brief description of how the problem was overcome. The vet will remember that, especially if they get quite a few over a period of months. Mark the envelope “Private and Confidential”. I am still getting referrals from vets who‘ve never met me after running that little scheme briefly 8 years ago. 84 Sometimes you can offer a kind of head hunting fee for referrals. If you give someone 10% for each person who books in with you, after the first cheque they receive from you, they‘ll be sending them in droves. 85 Once again, also make sure that if there was someone who referred a client to you, that client gets in touch and tells them how pleased they were with your service. Competitors 86 There‘s two kinds of other dog training providers where you are – there‘s the “not as good as me, of course” type and the “they ought to be shot” type. This second variety you may make mince meat out of with your superior marketing and superior classes if you desire and thereby make the world a better place. The first type should be looked upon as a fellow professional who are also doing their best and with whom you should co-operate for everyone‘s benefit. 87 Take the scary step of ringing up your nearest fellow professional, swallowing all nonsense and talk with them. There are many ways in which you can help each other, for example by cross-referring. As there is so much suspicion about, you might have to take the first step and start the process. 88 For example, if your class starts in 7 weeks time and you get someone who‘s desperate, sending them to the competitor creates all kinds of good vibes – and you would have lost them anyway because they wouldn‘t have waited that long!
Once you‘ve send them a few people, they‘ll start sending some back – there‘s a lot to be said for give and take. 89 Similarly, if someone cannot make your dates, refer them on, and also if they would find the competitor‘s locations more convenient, or be more suitable candidates for them than for you. You might be dubious, but in our fairly small town there are three professional dog trainers who all co-operate in that way, support each others special events, send their assistants to learn from each other. They all end up making more money each in a more friendly and relaxed environment – and the clients benefit dramatically. 90 Finding fellow professionals who are not direct competitors can be an interesting exercise in cross referral and combined marketing. To help a local person start her agility classes. I found a gun dog trainer, a general obedience club, and a private trainer who shared an advertising campaign which was succesful all around and cost very little indeed.

Free Advertising In the Media 91 The easiest free advertising is in the form of press releases – amazingly, an editor‘s worst nightmare is to have a blank space in their publication! 92 Making a press release is dead easy – address it to the news desk, write press release in big letters, and then tell them something that makes their little hearts beat faster. 93 The more exciting, unusual or topical, the more chance they‘ll either print it, or even better, send someone round with a camera and do a big story about it. 94 Radio stations also have a news desk, and the same applies (bar the camera in this case). 95 Local TV stations are often woefully short of news stories – if you didn‘t realise so far, just think of some of the rubbish they have to resort to, along the lines of “cat stuck up a tree”, “Frogs spawn more than usual” etc! That‘s the sort of thing you have to compete with to get on TV!!
96 Always put on your press release – expert available for interviews and – in case of radio – would be happy to do a live call in on (a particular aspect of dog training, such as barking when left, aggression, or whatever your favourite topic might be). 97 When live on radio or TV, don‘t plug your club or yourself. The interviewer will give you a chance to tell by asking. Use the rule – how can you benefit the TV or radio station and it‘s viewers/listeners? If you take that tack, they‘ll like you, reward you with plugging you for free, and most likely have you back again. 98 Learn to create media events. Look to the kind of thing politicians get up to – think of it from the point of view of the TV or magazine/newspaper/radio. For example, we once had twin little girls with twin bichon pups in a puppy training class. That brought three newspapers, 2 magazines, an international press agency (!!!) and the local TV station running to our door – because it would make a pretty picture. Similarly, a friend of mine recently organised a training with livestock day (livestock being a couple of chickens, two sheep and a pony on a local small holding). Apart from the telephone nearly exploding with calls and 35 people paying £5 each so their puppies could meet the animals, once again the local press just loved it and printed a whole page of pure advertising and lots of pretty pictures for my friend. 99 You cannot buy this kind of positive publicity, because any reporting seems impartial and people still believe what they read in the paper. Putting your thinking cap on and actively looking out for what would make a good picture – and this could be as simple as a Yorkie clearing an agility jump – can get you thousands of pounds worth of advertising for the price of an envelope and a postage stamp. 100 Make sure you‘re listed in whatever Activity or Community listing you can get in for free. Once again, lots of local papers, radio stations and TV stations will probably give you a free mention if you just bother to write to them and tell them when your next lot of courses are starting.

Converting Phone Calls Into Paying Clients 101 Keep a giant bound Minutes Records type book by your telephone and record all your conversations – time, who, what it was about, dog‘s name breed and age, and any other information that might come up and prove handy – and you‘ll never have to hunt for “that piece of paper” again. 102 Stand up when you answer the phone and smile before you speak. Test shows that people pick it up from your voice unconsciously and are more likely to trust someone if they‘re standing whilst on the phone (?!). Bear this in mind for radio interviews also, by the way. 103 Train people in your home to take down details of enquiries in a professional and friendly way. Three year olds lisping “mummy in the bath”, or grumpy husbands going, “Oh it‘s my wife that does that dog training stuff and she‘s gone out to a hen night” lack that professional feel! Something even most teenagers manage to remember is along the lines of: “You‘ll want to speak to the course instructor, Sheila Miller. May I take your number so she can call you back? What would be a good time for you?” 104 Unless you have a sensible person to answer the phone when you‘re out, you‘re probably better off with an answerphone. 105 If you have an answerphone, make sure your message is clear, that you have a decent machine, and that you sound professional yet friendly and inviting. To hear a really super answerphone message, call Fran Griffin‘s answerphone on 01908 666485 (current to October 1997) – it‘s about the best one I‘ve heard from a dog trainer. 106 Check your answerphone messages once a week by phoning yourself – often bits can get erased or cut off and it sounds awful – and you‘re left wondering why there‘s so few messages.

107 Answerphone messages cannot be too long – ONLY TOO BORING!! 108 If you‘re really serious, get a mobile and have BT re-route your calls to you. If you don‘t take the call, it goes to the answerphone
instead. This kind of thing is income tax deductable. 109 Always ask the dog‘s name as soon as possible into the conversation and then use it as in “Fido will be learning how to etc. etc. etc.” This creates a clear future image for the owner. 110 A great way of getting people to come to you is to ask them what the problem is, or what they want from the class. Hardly anyone ever does – they usually start rambling on how good “they” are! Once you know what specifically they want, you can tell them specifically how you are going to help them. 111 Book keen people in there and then and don‘t keep them waiting for any application forms. Tell them to send a cheque right away – don‘t ever turn good money away! 112 People who are nervous and unsure are very relieved when you offer to send them some further information in the mail. 113 You are much more worried about quoting prices to your customers than they are hearing about them. Don‘t quote your price until you‘ve had a chance to tell them about the benefits of coming to you, then always go for the “just £x for x weeks” phrase. 114 People who baulk at that price can benefit from the line, “We have special arrangements for very poor people and those on state benefits. Would you like me to send you the relevant form?” If they really are poor, I‘m sure you‘ll sort something out for them. 115 Never book in people who you suspect you cannot help – refer them and they will be grateful and recommend you to others. 116 Never book in people whose attitude you hate – refer them to someone in your area whose attitude you also hate – they‘ll probably be a match made in heaven! 117 When getting a client to commit themselves, remember to “close the sale” at some point, else you can either waffle on forever and get lost, or the person on the other end is left without clear instructions as what they have to do. 118 Use the line, “Are you ready to book (Fido) for the class, or are there any more things you would like to discuss first?” If they‘re ready
they will then book in, if there are any further objections, you get to hear them and can deal with them there and then.

119 In regular classes an objection that comes up a lot is someone working shifts and having to miss some of the classes. Use the line: “Don‘t worry, this happens a lot. What we do is have an assistant personally take you through the most important exercises so (Fido) can keep up with the rest of the class.” 120 A trick John Fisher used to use was to ask, “Who referred you to us?” knowing full well that they were most likely to have called from a classified ad! This helps you test your advertising and target your resources (by this method I learned that in a year a £256 Yellow Page ad brought in one enquiry whether I had Rottweilers for sale for export to South Africa, a call from a bored dog breeder on a stop-over at Heathrow, and one lady who lived about 60 miles away!). With that money I could have bought a classified ad for 12 weeks and have enough left over for 15 000 flyers. I wonder which would have brought more clients …

Application Forms Many prefer to send out application forms so they have money coming in all the time, and more importantly, they know who to expect at the venue. 121 With the application form, you should send at very least a letter. If you do, re-read your letter now and ask yourself if it is as professionally presented, clear, specific as to the benefits people will get from coming to your classes, omits any I‘s and Us‘s in favour of You‘s and Your Dog‘s and makes you want to pick up a pen and start filling in right away. If not, it‘s time for a re-write. 122 A little scarcity scare never goes amiss. Make sure you have the words Book NOW to Avoid Disappointment on your letter and your application form as well, together with your maximum class size so “you and your dog can be sure of individual help and personal
attention”. 123 Make sure you sign each letter properly and with a flourish in blue ink only. Tests have shown that small or weak looking signatures are a major stumbling block to building faith and that any colour other than blue for a signature leads to people thinking you‘re a weirdo. 124 On the booking form, have two spaces, one to list any problems the dog might have, and what it is they want most from the classes, phrased along the lines of What is most important to you that your dog should learn during this course? That‘s a clever little way of finding out how to really please this owner (by making jolly sure if they don‘t learn anything else, they‘ll learn how to do that!) and secondly of linking this achievement with booking in on your course in preference to anyone else‘s in your area. 125 If you are in a situation where you really need every single soul who raises their hand to send you a cheque asap, enclose a stamped addressed return envelope for the completed form and cheque. This return envelope must be addressed by typewriter or typewritten label, or at a pinch, with a rubber stamp, not handwritten, else they‘ll think you‘re desperate rather than just immensely curteous. 126 A little used trick in the UK is rather than just mail someone who enquired once, to mail them up to seven times! This might seem a little excessive for a dog class, but mailing them at least twice always lifts your return rate by a minimum of 20%. 126 On repeat mailing, send different letters stressing further benefits. 127 You might include a so called “lift letter” which is something someone else wrote in praise of your classes. It‘s most effective if someone either well known, or from a respected profession, signs the lift letter with their full name. This is easier to do than you think – go through all your existing satisfied clients and find a doctor, or a judge, a vet or a university professor. Failing that, just a wholehearted approval by an ordinary but very enthusiastic member of your class can do as well and can raise response as much as 50%.
128 Always include PS‘s in both your lift letters and cover letters, giving one last overwhelming reason why they should come to you. In tests, people read PS‘s first and remember them better than everything else they‘ve read.


I trust you‘ve found this little journey through basic advertising strategies at break neck speed both fun and helpful. If you do everything listed here, you simply can‘t help getting more people into your classes. Whether they‘re going to stay, however, and with their achievements make your reputation in the long run, is up to your dedication, investment in on-going learning, and your commitment to excellence. Live long, train well & prosper!

Silvia Hartmann-Kent

PS: You might have noticed that there were 27 more ways to get clients to come to your classes than were promised in the title of this
special report. The reason for this is that I know if you make that extra effort and give your customers even more than you‘ve promised in your advertising, they‘re so much more likely to come back for more. And that‘s the Eighth Law Of Advertising!

Internet Advertising This was written when there was no Internet. It is questionable how useful Internet advertising is to a local school where people have to physically come along. However, if you have a website, why not make the most of it?

So here’s a few quick tips on Internet advertising:

1. If you’re a local business, be sure to be listed in all the local listings your council, county, city, trade organisation does provide. 2. Do a search on “dogtraining in Smallville” and see what turns up. Chances are you will get directory listings that you can join, too. 3. Join free Pet Banner link exchanges. This is more useful if you’re intent on becoming a world wide lecturer at some time to start building name awareness than actually getting customers for your afternoon classes starting next week that way. 4. Write articles and how to’s, put them on your site and then mail alt. newsgroups with the good news. 5. Make contact with other local businesses and get cross links on their sites. I’m thinking particularly your referring Veterinary Surgeon and local pet store, if they have a site. 6. Make sure that your pages state clearly the address of your venues in the real world in every variation and local convention. People do searches by region.
7. Also make sure you have a whole range of variations on the theme of “dog training in Smallville” such as Smallville dog training, behavior Smallville, dog help Smallville and so on and so forth. 8. Make a habit of knowing all the relevant yahoo, topica and listbot groups pertaining to dog training, especially the ones for newbies. 9. Use your site for a full colour amazing catalogue you can refer people to during radio interviews or just on the street. Thus: 10. Have pictures and maps of your venues on your site, lots and lots of pictures of happy dog owners, testimonials, prices, EVERYTHING. Would be nice if people could pay for your classes with their credit cards or paypal, too, in advance. 11. Encourage your best students to write into your guestbook. That is a very cool convincer for newcomers, indeed. Even if you have to go so far as to throw a dog party at your house and have them use your own computer to do it! 12. Make sure that everyone in your class who has any kind of web presence makes a link to your site. Link popularity counts a lot with search engines. 13. Remember to put your site address on your business cards, stationary and absolutely every piece of advertising you produce. There are more and more people on the web these days, it is worth doing for the sake of a little line extra. 14. USE your site to give indepth information about yourself, your methods, your own dogs, your classes, your assistants – everything. 15. In this way, you can make it into a community event. People WILL tell all their friends “Oooh there’s a picture of me and Fido on the Net!!” and pass the address along. The more you can do this, the more visitors you will receive and the more people will get to hear about you. 16. USE your site for press releases, press information, and also to collect these kinds of things to build up a portfolio. Someone comes and looks at that online catalogue and they are well impressed; takes all the persuading out of it when they get in touch
with you. 17. Make sure you have a mailing list, no matter how rudimentary. 18. Have your contact details on every single page of your site – phone and mobile and it looks good if there’s more than one number, so put an assistant’s number on it too. 19. Keep your site up to date and clean. 20. Invest in a decent domain name and decent provider – no freebie spaces with annoying pop up ads, please. That is excruciatingly unprofessional. 21. If you don’t have any decent traffic, do NOT put a page counter on your site or if you have to, re-set it manually once in a while. 22. Do NOT put a “last updated on …” notice on your site. The day after you’ve updated it, it is out of date.

Good Luck!

Titles On Dog Training & Behaviour By Silvia Anne Kent:

• Overcoming Dog Behaviour Problems • Your Dog & Your Baby • Dynamic Dog Training • Take The Class! • The Harmony Program

Available from – Instantly, World Wide!

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