Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
6:00 PM 5th June 2017

Why It's Important To Train Your Pet...

Training is a huge part of my life. Having 13 pets I have endless hours of fun teaching each and every one of them something new!

I think when people relate to 'training' they often see it as training a pet to be 'obedient' or being the 'dominant' leader. Personally I don't see it that way, training for me is to create a bond, trust and understanding; it's a great way of communication and learning all about your pet.

For me it's not about teaching them the 'right' way, as over the years I've learnt there is no right way to behave. Alfie for example is incredibly cheeky, he loves unzipping things, grabbing things he shouldn't, teasing the other horses and pulling people's shoe laces.

I'm not really sure why he loves shoe laces so much, but they have always been something he has been drawn to! Rather than telling him off for his cheeky behaviour and antics I've adapted these into training methods, as I didn't want him to lose his personality.

Why would you want your pet to lose who they are? It's no different to humans. Everyone should have the right to show who they are.

When Alfie first began to grab people's shoes as they were walking, I started to 'reward' it with clicker training. I must admit I looked a bit mad and people probably thought I was crazy, but long term I knew it was going to work.

After he learnt to pick up the shoes, I began to teach him the word 'off' and to only pick up the shoes once someone had taken them off their feet.

It was quite a slow process at first, but he eventually began to understand what I was teaching him! He now quite happily walks around with trainers in his mouth which is quite comical to watch.

When you are training you have to be so patient as some pets will take longer to learn than others and by being patient this grows the bond you have together and creates a lifelong friendship.

It's incredibly important to be positive with your pets.

If you're having a not so good day I would suggest not to train that day as this could reflect in the training and you don't want your pet to pick up on that!

There seems to be a great misconception that positive trainers never like to say 'No' and people allow their pets to get away with everything, and there is also a misconception that positive trainers 'stuff' their pets with food to train them.

Positive training helps to build a relationship with your pet by understanding each other, and by using training without the force of fear and negativity.

If you take time to teach your pets, you are fulfilling your life with a long term companion and building a healthy balance of learning manners and trust.

Teaching your pets is really enjoyable and fun. There are some amazing tips, knowledge and advice out there in the world to learn from!