This article covers only the basics to get started in training. However it is important to understand the difference between training and obedience. Training is the formal tuition given to the dog usually at a club, sometimes but not often enough, away from a club. Obedience is the dog’s willing compliance to the taught commands in any situation.
When and Why training is advisable
In short – as soon as possible, for you and your dog’s sake. Most clubs will accept puppies for training once they have been vaccinated for ‘puppy party’ type activities, mainly socialisation, learning it’s name, handler tuition in what to expect from a puppy and how to proceed.
How and What type of training
For the best and fastest results it is important that training is fun and rewarding for both the dog and the handler. Whilst a dogs can be trained by dominance and aggression it will never perform as well as an enthusiastic and willing partner. Like humans, different dogs have different motivations, some work best for food, some work best for excitement such as chasing a ball or tugging a raggie. Broadly speaking Brittany pups and dogs are high spirited and wilful so will require a committed and determined handler, Brits are rarely timid so often require hard but never harsh handling.
As soon as the puppy has received the basic socialisation skills, proper training should start, and some breeders will encourage potential owners to start human interaction with the litter weeks before they are ready to leave the mother. The earlier the puppy is introduced to real life the quicker it will accept everything as normal ; traffic noise, electrical appliances such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines, fireworks, gunfire, thunder, postmen/delivery people, people in uniform, other animals, bicycles, children in pushchairs, to name but a few.
The Kennel Club have devised a training pathway called the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/training/good-citizen-dog-training-scheme/
This starts with a 4 session puppy training course, short sessions which includes the handler’s responsibilities then continues with more socialisation, checking the puppies response to it’s name, and covering the basic commands and techniques to sit, stand or lie down, controlled walking and short stays, and food manners.
The next stage for a bronze certificate reinforces the puppy training with longer stays, control at doors/gates, grooming, walking on lead and amongst other dogs and people, returning to handler, and examination of the dog.
It is generally accepted that once a dog has achieved this level of obedience it is okay to diversify to specialised skills whether that is field sport, agility or Flyball or competition obedience. Of course the dogs also benefit from further training to Good Citizen Silver and Gold award if other training regimes permit.
Where to train
Wherever you decide to train you must take that training home and continue daily putting it to effect otherwise the dog will understand obedience only applies at the training club.
NOTE: Many of the following clubs provide more than one discipline.
For Clubs registered with the Kennel Clubs for Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme;
To find any Kennel Club registered dog training club, whether, obedience, breed showing, agility or field trials;
For Agility Training Clubs, trainers and further information;
For Flyball; (see also the section on Flyball)