We all have off days. Dogs, too. A dog trainer once told me this and I felt heartened. I reminded myself of it recently when Ted forgot that ‘leave’ doesn’t mean ‘chase squirrel’. Fortunately we were on Hampstead Heath at the time and luckily the resident squirrels are far too speedy for this feisty little Schnauzer.
Watching your fluffy companion ignore a cue and gaily run off in the opposite direction is a salient reminder: you never stop training your dog. What are the options? You can pore over dog training manuals once you get home (I did), you can call in a dog trainer to go over the basics (I have done), but what about getting a piece of timely advice on the spot, right there and then?
Enter Dog Trainer in Your Pocket. It’s a marvelous idea from Mark and Gillian Thompson, the couple behind The Dog House. Over the past twenty years, they have built an exclusive, incredibly loyal following centered around their dog activity holidays and training courses (puppy socialization, gundog training, general companion courses, refresher courses and one-to-one consultations for specific problems) that all take place on 400 acres of Welsh farm and woodland.
Dog Trainer in Your Pocket aims to be a practical, easy to use dog-training app with helpful video tutorials, animations and troubleshooting tips that you can access instantly on your smart phone. They have launched a Kickstarter project in order to gather the £50,000 required to get this sophisticated training aid up and running. Look at the Dog Trainer in Your Pocket Kickstarter page for a breakdown of all they hope to achieve and the rewards on offer for pledges large and small.
“We are trying to impart experience and knowledge,” says Gillian. “Mark’s whole cause is the preventative rehoming of dogs. If everyone had better tools at their fingertips, they would not have badly behaved dogs. We don’t have enough time to help every single person with their dogs, but if we get the funding we need, people will be able to access it free with this app.”
If their £50,000 goal is achieved by 10am GMT on Friday, February 26th, then the free app will go ahead. “Training dogs is probably a lot easier than it’s made out,” says Mark. “It’s about communication and bonding. So many dogs are rehomed purely because of ignorance and old-fashioned training techniques.” Wouldn’t it be good to help more people train their dogs easily? Wouldn’t it be good to have less dogs ending up in dogs’ homes? And wouldn’t it be marvellous to have a Dog Trainer in Your Pocket?