Quick Guides for dog training and behaviour

I've written these as a companion to my books 'Help! My Dog Has Issues' and 'How to Cope with your Puppy' to help you train your dog, and also to help you make a plan for improving their behaviour. They work best once you have a basic understanding of what upsets and motivates dogs, and how our behaviour can sometimes get in the way. 

I've kept them as brief summaries in order to give you the basics. There is plenty more information out there in books and on the internet if you wanted to delve deeper into each topic. But as I have the principle of 'reward first' I'm always planning training and management to build a dog or puppy up for success, while preventing them from making mistakes. This means I do not have to correct bad behaviour - and if the unwanted behaviour does happen, it's likely to have been my fault (eg because of a planning error) so I don't want to tell off a dog for my mistake. If mistakes do happen, just move on quietly, and resume the rewards for wanted behaviour. The more you reward and encourage wanted behaviour, the less unwanted behaviour you will see without having to do anything about it directly.

If you have any questions about anything you read in these help sheets, please let me know...

I'm gradually adding more all the time, but if you'd like to suggest one, please get in touch...



One of the foundation behaviours that can cause a lot of stress and upset when it doesn't happen. This guide goes through the basics of how to achieve a great recall, and ensure it's a rewarding experience for you and your dog.


There are so many things we don't want our dogs eating or chasing. 'Leave' should mean 'don't touch it' - this guide explains how to teach it.


We can have great fun with our dogs when they bring back a toy for us to throw again, or play tug with. It also helps keep their mind off other things around them that they might find more exciting (other dogs, joggers, wildlife etc). 

Loose lead walking

One of the 'biggies' - why is it so hard for a dog to walk by our sides with a slack lead? Because they'd much rather be going faster and further than us, and would much rather be investigating smells/ other people/ other dogs/ things to chase/ things to explore. For a dog, walking by our side at our pace is usually a boring experience, but there are ways to make it more rewarding.

Separation anxiety

Dogs love our company, and many struggle when they are left on their own. Separation anxiety is really a phobia - they are desperate to be reunited with their family again, and fear the worst. This guide explains the route to helping a dog cope alone.

Toileting issues

Maybe you have a young puppy who is just learning where and when to toilet, or you have an older dog who's still having accidents. This guide will help you understand why it's happening, and how to improve the situation.


Barking can be very annoying, but it's a dog's way of communicating with us (and other dogs and people) that something isn't right. The first step to stopping unwanted barking, is to understand why it started - and then change something in our dog's life to ensure they don't need to shout about it next time.

Travel sickness

Travel sickness, like in humans, can be a very distressing experience for your puppy and dog. True examples of motion sickness may require help from the vet, or through the use of supplements. But many cases of travel sickness are routed in fear - and if you reduce the fear, you can reduce their distress considerably.

Guide to collars/ leads/ harnesses etc

It's very confusing to know what's the best equipment to use when walking your dog. As a reward-based trainer I'm always aiming for comfort, and to make sure we're not inadvertently teaching a dog the wrong thing.

Gundog games

Many working dogs have a lot of mental and physical energy, and can develop bad behaviours if their needs aren't met. Although lots of dogs love to fetch, this guide will explain how to take it to the next level - games you can play with your dog to improve their fetching skills, and meet their mental and physical needs. This is much more fun than just endlessly flinging a ball in a park!

Fun things to try

There are many sports and activities you can experience with your dog. As I'm a reward-based trainer, it's important to find clubs and trainers who use rewards to train, and to avoid those who use fear, force and intimidation to get results - this is not needed, even in high-level competitions with highly energetic dogs. Also, remember that even if your dog can do something, that doesn't mean that they should do it, or do it repetitively. Always keep in mind your dog's physical and mental wellbeing, especially if you decide to compete.