Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising


Latest Story

Carrots not Sticks

October 19th, 2018

I am celebrating…want to know why? At the end of August the Government announced that Electric Shock Collars for use on dogs and cats will be banned in England. This is great news as various charities, the Kennel Club and other Welfare organisations have been lobbying for this for a long time. This Ban will follow Wales which already banned the use of shock collars in 2010 and also Scotland earlier this year.

The Dogs Trust announcement ‘’We are delighted that the Government has announced a ban on the use of electronic shock collars. Scientific research has demonstrated that electronic devices which deliver an aversive stimulus have a negative impact on dog welfare, so this ban will have a major positive impact for dogs in the UK. ‘’

The key here for me is ‘Welfare’- with all of my training at Canine Connections the emphasis is always on the welfare of the dog and using training methods that promote kind, ethical and positive training. There is no need to train a dog through fear, intimidation or pain. So with that in mind lets look at the ways we can train our canine companions…

Basically you need to work out what motivates your dog. So that could be food, toys, praise or access to the environment. All dogs are different and have different motivators.

1 Food is always good, I regularly use chicken, sausage, frankfurters or mild cheese, liver treats, sprats to help train puppies and dogs. It is useful to find out what is the best reward. E.g one of our dogs likes frankfurters but his top treat will always be cheese!

Sometimes owners will say ‘well he will do anything for bribery’. Let me explain the difference between ‘bribery’ and ‘reward’.

With bribery we would be actively showing the dog the treat all the time to get them to perform a behaviour like a sit. With a reward, we ASK the dog for the behaviour and when he does it we say, yes! and then the reward follows from your treat pouch or pocket. i.e. it is out of sight until the behaviour occurs.

Obviously when we are teaching a dog a new behaviour we do use a treat as a lure to help them but once that behaviour is consistent we will be either using a hand gesture or a verbal cue.

2 Toys are great for recall practice as some dogs just aren’t motivated by treats. Chasing a toy after you have called them is a great reward and also if you are using an interactive toy that you can hold while your dog can tug all the better as you are increasing that valuable bond between you and your dog. ie we do fun things together! A quick tip here is to play with the toy at ground level with your dog, getting them to chase it along the ground rather than waving it in their face.

3 Praise is often enough for some dogs, you know those dogs that go all gooey and will have a bright look in their eyes.

4 The environment. Now this is a big one that most people overlook as a reward. The environment is full of exciting things for a dog to see, smell or chase ( safely) I know that two of our dogs find going outside very exciting and rewarding so in order to gain that reward of going outside I ask them for a quiet sit by the back door, get some eye contact and hey presto the door opens to the environment.

Some dogs you can mix and match, be creative and find out what works for your dog.

Also, its not just general obedience training that can benefit your dog, try your hand at Scentwork, Mantrailing, Dog Parkour, there are so many new activities for dogs to do these days! Two of our Dogs take part in Scentwork Trials and love it! (see picture of Kilo and Cliffie)

At the end of the day having fun is key with your dog and its welfare is always high on my list. Your main aim with your companion animal is to develop trust,have patience (remember they speak a different language than us!) and train using positive, kind methods.

Tracey Prall Canine Connections Dog Training

More Stories

Pets of Abergavenny

October 1st, 2018

Last month we asked you to post photos of your pets to Abergavenny Voice’s Facebook Page and, as ever, you did not disappoint! There were so many photos to go through and we couldn’t possibly fit all of your lovely pets in…but we tried to put in as many as we could. Can you spot […]

Monmouthshire’s local communities give dog fouling the red card

January 12th, 2016

Ask any community for their top three concerns and the list will often include dog fouling. Conscious of this, Monmouthshire County Council has been working with a group of town and community councils as well as local police community support officers to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets, and to enforce the […]

What About Fido?

July 11th, 2014

Booking a holiday is an exciting time – we decide on a location and then set about booking the time off work. The next thing to do is sit back and count down the days/weeks/months until the departure date arrives. Right? If you happen to be a pet owner, sorting out ‘Merlin’s’ or ‘Fatcat’s’ needs […]

Feeling Clucky

June 23rd, 2014

There are many benefits to keeping chickens, namely eggs, but a lot of pleasure to be derived too. Here, Liz Sivewright of Llanfoist Poultry & Game Group gives us the lowdown. There is an increase in people wanting to keep chickens in the back garden, and there are many reasons for this. They provide fresh […]

Cats behaving badly

June 22nd, 2014

Anti-social antics and the reasons behind them Cats are wonderful, curious and independent creatures and make fabulous companions. Nevertheless, most cat owners will have experienced a frustrating feline situation at one time or another – you know the kind of thing; going to the loo where they shouldn’t, scratching, hissing, clawing. While this can be […]

Quite Interesting: Canine Facts

June 22nd, 2014

As dog owners we all know that our dogs are clever, able to read our body language expertly and are affectionate social creatures, but you may be amazed to discover just how interesting your dog really is. We still have a lot to discover about this amazing species but here are a few tasters to […]

What’s Up Doc?

June 21st, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, lettuce is not that good for rabbits, and neither are carrots. Tell that to Bugs and Peter! Lettuce, particularly iceberg, contains laudanum and can be harmful. Likewise, light-coloured lettuce contains little nutritional content. While some lettuces, like Romaine, are safe, you are better feeding your toothy pal with hay, grass, cabbage, […]

Children and Dogs ~Stay Safe

June 11th, 2014

Tracey Prall has a raft of experience and qualifications when it comes to dogs and she also runs her own successful Dog Training business; Canine Connections. Here she provides invaluable guidelines about how to keep your children safe around dogs. “As a dog trainer and dog owner, I believe passionately that children should be educated […]

June is ‘National Microchip Month‘

June 2nd, 2013

The Welsh government recently announced that compulsory microchipping of dogs will come into force by March 2015.  The move in my view is really positive for dog welfare, especially because at its very simplest application it allows us to reunite lost pets so quickly with their owners. June as you should now be aware is […]