Everything we do in the presence of our dogs trains them how we wish them to behave, whether we realise it or not.
There are many books and articles available on training your dog. Whilst being useful for new ideas, I really believe that the most effective way is to go to classes. This way you get the immediate support of a trainer if you have any issues and you are slowly pushed to extend boundaries. Even if you have trained dogs before, no two dogs are identical and what worked for one dog, even if the same breed, may not work for another. Additionally, classes provide regular goals to work toward as well as the opportunity to meet other dog owners at the same stage of training.
Choosing a class is just as important as choosing a school for your children. You should visit before signing up for classes. Decide if you like the style of the trainer(s). Look at the range of breeds that attend, if they concentrate mainly on collies, they may not be able to adapt to the needs of other breeds. Is the class well organised or chaotic? Do they give “homework”? Does the class consist mainly of dogs with agression or other behavioural problems? Make sure you are happy with the class before you sign up.
The problem with learning at classes is that they are mainly held indoors. Many people forget that dogs understand that they can do different things in different places. Just think about house training, your dog knows that what is not acceptable indoors is required outdoors. In the same way, if you do not teach your dog how you want it to behave outdoors, you cannot be surprised if he does what he wishes.
However, there are rarely outdoor training classes, so you typically are on your own. Some training clubs do train outdoors in the summer months and novice gundog training classes will typically feature outdoor obedience, so you might want to look into either of these options. Some gundog clubs may accept your dog even if it isn’t a gundog – you can always ask.
Put some work into your dog’s outdoor training and soon your garden will thank you.