Top tips for successful dog training

In any training relationship there are two parties – the trainer and the trainees (you and your dog). For training to be successful both parties play a role.

Teamwork Dogs’ role is to show you exercises on how to train your dog skills like relaxing on their mat, walking on a loose leash, and coming when called. We will also give you homework exercises and reading to follow up outside of class.

Your role is to lead your training team (you and your dog) so you are well on your way to having a great family dog.

Here are some tips for getting the most from your Teamwork Dogs course.

1. Be prepared

Ensure you and your dog’s training gear is ready for class. Things you may want to have ready and packed include:
  • Your training shoes (enclosed shoes)
  • Hat
  • Drinking water
  • Training jacket
  • Treat pouch
  • Dog treats chopped into small pieces ready for training.
  • Cooler (ice packs) to keep treats fresh
  • Dog’s lead, collar and/or head halter plus car harness, if required
  • Poo bags
  • Dog’s bed / mat
  • Dog toy, if required

2. Leave plenty of time

Closely linked to being prepared, is leaving plenty of time to drive to the training grounds, unload the dog safely and get them onto the training grounds calmly. If you are rushing you don’t have time to maintain your loose leash walking criteria or support your dog around distractions. So for success in class, please give yourself enough time to walk to your training area.

Despite the dogs training in the same area every week, give you dog enough time before class to sniff around, investigate, and go to the toilet. If they are not comfortable in the training area, the dog will not be able to concentrate in class.

Also, give yourself enough time before your class starts to get the dog’s bed set up and your treats ready.

3. “Give it a go”

Teams that successfully complete our courses are those that participate fully in class. We encourage you to listen to your trainer’s explanations and attempt the exercises in class. By attempting exercises, we can help you and provide feedback so you and your dog are successful.

There are a myriad of ways of training basic skills to dogs. Teamwork Dogs’ trainers will show you the way they train their own dogs. Even if this method is different to what you know please give it a try. At best, it may work for you and your dog and at worst you have learnt a new training method.

4. Ask questions

We encourage you to ask questions during and after class. If you missed an instruction or don’t understand what you need to do, please ask us. We are here to help you and your dog be successful.

If we offer a solution to a problem that you are not sure will work in your home situation, please ask us to provide an alternative that may suit you.

5. Give yourself a break

There are plenty of distractions when you are working outside in a group class situation. If you are frustrated, then it is likely your dog is having a hard time too. In this case, we encourage you to take a break. Ask your dog to relax on their bed while you both listen to your trainer and observe your class mates. You and your dog are still learning while taking a break.

6. Train, don’t blame

When our dogs don’t perform it is easy to blame them (e.g. call them stubborn, stupid, lazy) or to make excuses (e.g. “it is because they are a ”, “they are crazy because they didn’t go to the park before class”, “they just want to play with that dog” etc)

Classes are not just about teaching skills like sit, stay and come but also training our dogs to focus and respond to us around distractions. So please use your classmates (people and dogs) and environmental distractions (e.g. smells on the ground, birds, buckets, training equipment etc) as an opportunity to teach your dog how to behave around things that may be distracting to them.

7. Do some homework

Teamwork Dogs’ courses are designed to build on the previous week’s skills. Practising between classes will ensure you and your dog are ready to attempt the next step in class the following week.

In our courses, we provide homework sheets with instructions, videos and reading to support your practice at home.

8. Celebrate your success

Each week we encourage you to set you and your dog a small, achievable goal. It may be as simple as your dog staying on their bed for 10 seconds in class, waiting before you release them from the car or walking into class nicely.

If that is all you and your dog achieve one day is your small goal, then celebrate and congratulate yourself and your dog. Many small successes, build on one another and before you know it, your dog is performing for longer time periods and distance.

9. Don’t compare

We all learn at different paces, so please don’t compare you and your dog with other teams. We (us and our dogs) have unique backgrounds, home and family situations, work commitments and skill sets. Comparing your progress with other teams is a waste of good training time. Stay focussed on your team’s goals.


Most importantly, have fun in training. Dogs are playful, social creatures so find ways in everything you do with them to bring out their true nature. Think of each training exercise as a game, bring your personality to delivering a food reward and throw a trick into your skills training. This will make training more enjoyable for you and your dog. Also, if you are fun and interesting to be around, then the distractions of the environment are diminished in your dog’s eyes.

Teamwork Dogs offers puppy training and basic skills training for dogs of all ages. Our training grounds are located at Taigum, Redcliffe and Caboolture.

Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay