Belfast City Council has just announced (7th Sept.) that it is reopening its centres, so we are hopeful that we will soon be able to reopen our training classes, once measures have been clarified that will allow them to reopen safely.
We will post more when we know more.
STAY SAFE, REMEMBER OTHERS, BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR.
HELP and ADVICE during this Covid crisis
DogsTrust has a useful HELP and ADVICE page for anyone wanting to know about getting a dog, dog care, behaviour and training ... https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/
KEEPING YOUR DOG ENTERTAINED AND STIMULATED (... from the Kennel Club website.)
We are all being asked to stay home and although this may be difficult and frustrating for us and our dogs, it is temporary and there are many things that we can all do to help make it easier.
Bored dogs are unable to cope with a lack of stimulation and may show signs of behavioural issues, so it’s important that you supplement their normal exercise routine with activities in your home and garden to keep them entertained.
If you or a member of your household show signs of coronavirus it’s important that you stay inside. You should not take your dog for a walk yourself and if you are unable to exercise them in your home or garden then you can ask someone else to walk them for you, but you should take precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Keep a routine.
Try to ensure that both you and your dog have a regular routine. If possible, make sure that they get up and go to bed at roughly the same time each day and that they have regular times for feeding and playing. This will help them know what to expect from their day. Try to encourage your dog to have some regular time and quiet periods when they are left by themselves. This will prepare them for when you go back to work and leave them for short periods.
Use a food puzzle to make meal times more stimulating for your dog, these include bases to put food on, making it more difficult to get to the food, or toys to hide food into. If you do not have one you could order one online or ask a friend or neighbour to pick one up for you.
Scent work can be a great way to keep dogs busy for ages. Try hiding treats around the garden or house and send them off in search of them.
Play with your dog
Most dogs love playing, so a good game of indoor fetch or tug of war can keep them entertained. If you are playing with your dog inside the house try to ensure that they play on non-slip surfaces to avoid injury. Make sure your dog isn’t overdoing it and give them regular breaks and access to fresh water at all times.
Use toys and dental chews to keep your dog stimulated and stop them chewing on things. If you have a number of toys why not try a toy rotation and put one away one day and bringing out another. This may stop them getting bored as quickly and will keep their toys new and exciting.
Think outside the box
Try creating an obstacle course inside your house or in your garden using toys, cushions, blankets, towels or anything you can think of. Get them to jump over a scrunched up blankets, or weave through towers of cushions. Use your imagination and take the time to teach your dog how to run the course.
Dog’s love to chase bubbles, so if you have any in the house get them out and see what your dog thinks of them.
Teach them a new trick
Learning a new trick or command is great mental stimulation for a dog. Get out the treats and try to teach "roll over", "sit" or "paw". YouTube is full of advice and videos on how to train your dog. We have also worked with Adem Fehmi on some fun games you and your dog can play during this difficult time.
Let them go outside
If you have a garden then play outside to give them more things to investigate and smell to help keep them stimulated.
Give them things to watch and listen to
Keep the curtains or blinds open so that your dog can see what’s going on in the outside world. Put a cushion or a chair by the window to let them see outside.
Look for dog friendly podcasts for them to listen to, or TV for dogs on YouTube to provide them with other types of interest and stimulation.
... and when this covid-19 lockdown is all over and classes can resume in some form ...
Have you a bad dog, a problem dog? If you think you have a problem dog at the end of your lead then stop and think - your dog has a problem person on the end of its lead - someone who is not sending the right signals to the dog, someone who is not communicating to the dog what is wanted.
This is where dog training classes come in - to help with the communication - to train the person to train the dog!
We hold classes on Wednesday evenings in Braniel Community Centre, Warren Grove, Belfast BT5 7JN. (There is a car park behind the centre, at the recycling point.)
Remember: pick up after your dog - bag it and bin it!
All dogs are expected to start in either the Puppy (7.30pm) or Bronze (8.15pm) class.
The Other (9.15pm) class covers exercises for those pursuing the Kennel Club Silver and Gold Good Citizen awards, and for those with an interest in competition obedience.
The first week is free, a "taster."
If it appears to do any good you can join on your next visit; if not, and you and your dog don't gain from the experience, then walk away and try elsewhere.
If you decide to join then membership requires an annual subscription fee (£15) and a weekly fee (£3) for classes attended. (Reduced fees are available for those aged under 16, or 65 or more: subscription and weekly fees are both halved.)
You will be given an application form to complete, but if you want to complete one in advance you can download one here: Membership Application Form
There is no need to sign up to a set number of classes, there is no distinct starting week, and booking-in is not necessary. Just bring the dog along.
Don’t wait until you have problems, bring your pup to the puppy class as soon as you can (after it has had its jabs.) If it’s no longer a young pup, join the “bronze” class.