The Office Dog

Dog Training FAQ

Frequently asked questions about office dogs, training, walking and other canine related topics

Sharon’s can do attitude has given us the confidence boost we needed. A lovely friendly woman, full of excellent advice, who we could honestly share our insecurities with over our new little terror of a Parson Terrier. Vivien and Tippi
Great training We really enjoyed it and Sunny has come on leaps and bounds in just a couple of days Jane and Sunny
Sharon is a miracle worker! When visiting Butternut Box offices she taught one of our puppies how to ‘down’ in about 5 seconds Hannah and Reya
Definitely booking more Lessons! I couldn’t have asked for someone more knowledgeable about dogs and also very good with transferring knowledge over to humans. L Bauer and Leia
Great value for money Sharon was great… Definitely helped with the training of our puppy. Thank you for all your help guys! Adene and Ozzy
Excellent! Sharon was great – as good at training me as at training Asta, and the Training Notes are fun to read. Elizabeth and Asta

The Office Dog

Why should I choose you?

We are members of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), which means we’ve sworn to use force-free methods for all of our training.

Sharon, our CEO and Head Trainer is a VSA Certified Dog Trainer – having graduated with Distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behaviour.

We are canine first-aid trained.

We are fully insured with Cliverton.

We have glowing testimonials and reviews from our past clients.

What areas do you cover?

For all of our Dog Training, Puppy Training and Walking Masterclasses we cover the following areas:

W2 – Bayswater
W3 – Acton
W4 – Chiswick
W6 – Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook
W8 – Kensington
W11 – Notting Hill
W12 – Shepherd’s Bush, White City, Wood Lane
W14 – West Kensington, Barons Court
W1K – Mayfair
SW5 – Earl’s Court
SW6 – Fulham, Parsons Green
SW7 – South Kensington
SW10 – Chelsea
SW1X – Knightsbridge
TW9 – Richmond, Kew

When are you open?

Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm, and Saturday 10am – 4pm.

Our availability for different services will differ, and you’re best off looking on the page for the service you are interested in to see the availability.

Do you offer group training classes?

We don’t.

The reason being that not every dog is suited to that environment, and it can be detrimental to everyone at a group class if there is a dog present who would really rather not be there.

Private, 1-2-1 training is suitable for every dog though, and gives each dog the best chance of success. With private training your dog will have the complete attention and focus of the trainer.

Office Dogs

How do I train an office dog?

Training a dog to be well-behaved in an office has similar steps to training a dog to do anything. The three key areas to focus on are:

  1. Working with your dog to make sure he knows what behaviours you require of him (being quiet, staying in his crate etc)
  2. Ensuring that your dog is both physically and mentally stimulated enough to not be bored or have ‘cabin fever’
  3. Ensuring that your workplace is set up in a way that facilitates having your dog there.

How do I make my office dog-friendly

There are many aspects to consider and ways to make sure that your workplace is a suitable environment for dogs.

Some examples:

  • Tidying cables away
  • Ensuring any bins on the office floor have covers
  • Having a dog-friendly policy in place
  • Identifying suitable areas where dogs can have comfort breaks

For more info have a look at our blog post: What to consider when inviting dogs into your workplace.

What is the best breed for an office dog?

Some breeds are better at some things than others, but you have to remember that every dog is an individual, and you’re not guaranteed any particular ‘personality type’ just because they are a certain breed. This is why Breed Specific Legislation doesn’t work, but don’t get us started there…

Breed can be a good starting point for selecting your dog, but keep in mind that there are no guarantees. Training and behaviour management are always an avenue that you can explore if your dog doesn’t seem to be compatible with an office environment

Dog Training

What is positive training?

The four pillars of positive training

  • The use of positive reinforcement
  • Avoiding the use of intimidation, physical punishment or fear
  • A comprehension of the often misunderstood concept of dominance
  • A commitment to understanding the canine experience from the dog’s point of view

Take a look at our blog post What is Positive Training? by Victoria Stilwell’s Positively team.

What dog training method is best?

Positive training, no contest.

Positive training is fear-free, force-free and gives your dog as much choice as possible.

Why would you want to use methods that rely on pain and fear when there is this as an alternative?

For more information on Positive Training, see our post What is Positive Training? by Victoria Stilwell’s Positively team.

Do I need a dog trainer?

If you’re asking the question, then quite probably yes.

If in doubt, a good trainer shouldn’t mind discussing your issue if you give them a call or send them an email.

The question you now need to ask is ‘How do I find a good trainer?’

How does dog training work?

Dog training uses a balance of management and training. Management is how you deal with your environment, so if you have a dog that barks when the doorbell rings, the management side might be putting a sign on the door asking people to knock instead, preventing the problem from occurring. The training would then come in, ringing the doorbell at controlled times in combination with rewards, to extinguish the barking.

The Office Dog uses positive training methods which uses rewards to encourage desired behaviours displayed by the dog.

Why do you use a clicker in dog training?

The clicker is used to mark a wanted behaviour exhibited by your dog. It is NOT used to get your dog’s attention.

The benefit of using a clicker over a marker word is that it is a unique, consistent sound. A marker word can convey emotion, sounding different. It will also sound different from different people.

Can dog training help with separation anxiety?

It can, however it is not a quick process – it will require commitment from the whole family to tackle.

Some people think their dog has separation anxiety when in fact it’s just boredom. A dog trainer can also help with this.

If you have a puppy, you can put training in place from the start to try and prevent the likelihood of separation issues occurring in the first place.

How do I find a good dog trainer?

Unfortunately dog training is not a regulated industry, so anyone can claim to be a dog trainer without having any experience, knowledge or qualifications.

Your first step should be to search on the Victoria Stilwell site for approved trainers.
If you can’t find anyone on there, check for things like being a member of the PPG, having dog trainer insurance, being canine first-aid trained, and that they use positive training techniques.

How do I train my dog without treats?

Some dogs find playing with a toy more rewarding than food, but unless this is the case, why would you want to train without treats? Would you work in your job for no salary or bonuses?

If you’re worried about your dog’s weight, just decrease the amount of food you give your dog at mealtimes to compensate for the treats. You can also use mealtimes themselves as times for training.

Puppy Training

What are puppy training classes?

There are different types of puppy training classes, and the type and quality of training will differ from class to class.

The Office Dog offers Private, one-to-one puppy training classes in your own home, as opposed to group classes. The main reason for this, is that group classes are not suitable for all puppies, but every puppy can benefit from the one-to-one training.

As we use positive training methods, and because there are no issues with vaccinations, our puppy classes can begin as soon as you get your puppy. With Puppy and Me you and your puppy will learn the basic skills such as sit, wait, lie down etc, but you’ll also get information on things like leash training, crate training, potty training and how to deal with nippy puppies. All in the space of four weeks.

With Puppy Singles, you can pick up to three topics to cover with your pup in each session.

For more information see puppy training from The Office Dog.

Is puppy training necessary?

Yes.

How do you expect your puppy to behave well or walk nicely on the lead if you’ve never trained her to do so?

You might be of the opinion that dogs should be allowed to be dogs, and don’t need to learn a million tricks, and that’s fine. However, if you use positive training methods then dogs actually enjoy learning new things! Cognitive exercise is just as important for your pup as physical exercise.

Puppy and Me puppy training from the The Office Dog also goes through essentials like how to teach your puppy his name, getting your puppy prepared for being handled by a vet, and, most importantly of all, a solid recall. These are things your pup will need, even if you’re not into tricks.

How early can puppy training start?

Historically it was recommended to wait 6 months to start training your puppy, and But using the positive training methods that The Office Dog employs, you can start training a puppy right away.

To start with, you want to teach very simple things, like teaching him his name (something often overlooked by new owners), keeping training sessions short (5-10 mins max).

If you’re going to a group class, you may need to wait until after one or both sets of vaccinations. But with the private puppy classes, offered by The Office Dog, you can start training as soon as puppy gets home.

How much does puppy training cost?

Prices for puppy training will vary around the country, and will also vary dependent on the experience and qualifications of the trainer.

Group classes will be cheaper than private, but you may not be able to start as early as you could with private, and you also have to deal with distractions of other dogs and people, as well as just the fact that you’re not in the familiar surroundings of your home. With private puppy training classes you get the full, undivided attention of the trainer for the whole time.

See the prices for private puppy training from The Office Dog.

What are the best puppy training treats?

The best puppy training treats are moist or semi moist, and in pieces the size of your little finger nail – or even smaller for teeny tiny puppies. They need to be easily swallowed so that you can get a lot of repetitions in a short space of time. Hard, dry treats will take longer for your pup to chow down.

The Office Dog uses plain poached chicken or cheese for training sessions, but check out our Recommendations page for training treats that you can buy.

How do I train my puppy to walk on a leash?

Great question! So many people just expect a dog to walk next to them without ever teaching them to do so.

You’re best off starting inside, not just because there are fewer distractions but because then you can start before your pup has had all of her vaccinations.

The equipment that you use is also important – don’t use extendable leads, they are accidents waiting to happen, and use harnesses rather than attaching your leash to a collar – if your dog pulls on a collar it can damage their neck. A leash is not a steering wheel, and you should not use it to drag your pup around. A leash is there purely to attach your dog to you in case of emergency.

Work through exercises where your pup gets rewarded with training treats for being close to you, and build up from there.

Puppy and Me private puppy training classes from The Office Dog include leash training as part of the package.

How do I crate-train my puppy?

Adult dogs shouldn’t be left in crates for more than 3-4 hours at a time, and less for puppies, as they need to toilet more often.There should be room for bed and water only, and enough space for them to sit up, turn around, and to stretch out fully. Any bigger and your dog will feel happier about peeing in there!

Do not force your dog into the crate to start with or lock him in before he’s ready. Don’t push him to go in, let him investigate in his own time – he’ll end up much happier being in there.

Put the crate in a quiet part of the house, where he can be undisturbed while sleeping in the crate.

Puppy and Me private puppy training classes from The Office Dog include advice on crate-training as part of the package.

How do I house-train my puppy?

A puppy’s bladder is tiny, and he’s going to be drinking a lot so they need to go out regularly. Rather than reactively managing the process, a better way is to be proactive.

A lot of owners get frustrated at trying to reactively manage the process – they wait till they see the signs and rush to get the pup outside, or to a training pad, often with poor results. A better way is to be proactive. Set an alarm and take your pup out every hour to start with, every 2-3 hours during the night. Always treat your puppy for a successful trip outside.

Also make sure your pup gets a toilet break after eating, drinking, playing and after any naps.

As your pup gets older, and his bladder grows, you can extend the amount of time in between toilet breaks.

Puppy and Me private puppy training classes from The Office Dog include advice on toilet training as part of the package.

Dog Walking

Can I walk my dog in the rain?

Yes! Although your dog may disagree… Some dogs just don’t like rain, so it’s up to you to balance out how much they hate it vs their need for physical exercise – you can always substitute for a stimulating training session or some brain games instead. But most dogs will be fine when you actually get them outside.

It’s a good idea to get puppies out in the rain when they’re young, and give them a lot of treats so that they see rain as a good thing.

Can I walk my dog in hot weather?

It depends on your dog, and how hot it is.

Hot pavements can lead to burned, blistered paws. As a general rule, put the back of your hand to the floor, if you can’t hold your hand there for 10-15 seconds, it’s too hot for your pupper to walk on.

In terms of heatstroke, the point at which temperatures become unsafe depends on the breed, age and weight of your dog. Up to about 20°C is ok for most dogs. 21°C or above can start becoming dangerous for large dogs, 23°C for medium and small dogs. Obese, senior, puppy and brachycephalic dogs all add to the risk.

If in doubt, stick to walks in the early morning and later in the evenings and substitute in some non-strenuous brain games instead

How do I find a good dog walker?

Make sure you always accompany any potential walker on a trial walk with your dog. See how they interact with each other.

Don’t choose someone on price alone; the cheaper walkers are likely taking out a large group of dogs, and so will have less attention on your pup.

Check insurance, and whether they are a member of the PPG.

For more info have a look at our blog post: How to find a good dog walker.

Can anyone offer dog walking?

Unfortunately, yes. Like a lot of the petcare industry, dog walking is not a regulated industry.

To find out what to check when looking for a good dog walker, check out our blog post, How to find a good dog walker.

How much is dog walking in London?

Prices will vary around the city, but don’t choose someone based on price alone; the cheaper walkers are likely taking out a large group of dogs, and so will have less attention on your pup. They may also not be insured, and will be unlikely to be a member of a professional organisation such as the PPG.

For more info on finding a good dog walker, take a look at our post How to find a good dog walker.

What is dog walking insurance?

Dog walking is, unfortunately, not a regulated industry, so walkers do not have to have insurance. However, having insurance is one of a number indicators of a good walker.

Dog-walking insurance covers for things like emergency vet fees due to injury to your dog while in the walker’s care, or for replacing lost house-keys that you’ve given to them. Although we hope that these things never happen, that is what insurance is for. The Office Dog is insured with Cliverton.

Other

Can you train my cat?

We’ve never actually tried training cats ourselves. Yet. However the beauty of positive training methods is that they can be used on anyone or anything. You just need to find out what’s reinforcing for the subject in question. For our CEO that would be wine, or a new pair of shoes, for the CTO it would be a hot curry.

Check out this book by renowned animal trainer John Bradshaw, and Sarah Ellis: The Trainable Cat: How to Make Life Happier for You and Your Cat

If you have a question that’s not answered here, then head over to our contact page to drop us a message – we’ll be happy to try and help.

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