Now don't get me wrong. I like dogs. I really do. I like their cute faces and floppy ears, their wet noses and comical behaviour. But not all their comical behaviour.
Like, not when they start eyeing up my leg as if it's a potential mate. And I appreciate their stunning sense of smell, but not
when they start trying to stick their conk in places they really shouldn't.
Dogs make wonderful pets, and are great for companionship. But just like children, they need to know where the boundaries lie.
Sometimes, dogs exhibit various behavioural problems, like rearranging the furniture in a house whenever their owner is out, or becoming aggressive when left in the company of children. This may be due to some trauma early in life, such as cruel treatment, or neglect.
I had a dog once that barked crazily whenever she saw someone with a really big tight-curl perm. If she'd seen Kevin Keegan in his heyday, who knows what carnage might've ensued.
A happy, obedient dog is better for all concerned. The best time to train up your cuddly canine is, of course, when it has just arrived in theworld. Having said that, the old adage that you can't teach an old dog tricks isn't actually true. You can, though it's not quite as easy as teaching a puppy.
In London, there are many places where you can go with your dog to get training advice from experts.
So if you've got a little yappy puppy running out of control about your house, or an old dog that's still doing things it really shouldn't, you might want to take it along to a special training class.
Here are a few places to help you get started:
- Bark Busters, based in Croydon: Run by two dog behaviour therapists, Bark Busters specialises in dogs with behavioural problems. They can also help with dog obedience and general training.
- The Dog Training Club, based in Barnet: This place runs special courses for training dogs, lasting six weeks. All puppies (and their owners) are welcome.
- Dog Training and Behaviour, based in south London: Stephen and Louise offer a range of services, including home visits for puppy training, classes teaching basic obedience, and problem behaviour consultations.
- The VIPs, working in and around London: Besides dog training for puppies and older dogs, other services are offered such as dog walking, dog day care and dog boarding.
- Winkie Spiers, based in London: Dog expert Winkie may be just the person to turn your mayhem-making mutt into a perfect little angel. Winkie holds puppy classes (no more than four in a group), as well as one-to-one training, and can also help with dogs with behavioural issues.