Our Mission Statement
We are dedicated to promoting responsible ownership of dogs and at the same time improving the overall image of the dog within our communities.
In doing so we are advancing public education with regards to care, health, management, control of dogs, law and training of both owners and dogs, not only for the safety of the general public at large, but also for the dogs themselves.
We are concentration on the protection and preservation of public health and a more general protection from the nuisance of dog’s/dog owners by promoting the highest standards of responsible dog ownership within the community.
This is being performed in order to bring together dog owners within a strongly supportive and friendly group in such a way that they can identify with a common purpose.
We are working with other animal welfare and training organisations in order to promote training and welfare strategies and methods that are purely based on humane practices and that are promoted and supported by these organisations.
Our three principle mission goals are therefore:
- Supporting dogs and their owners
- Raising training standard overall
- Encouraging & Promoting dog training
At its core, Norfolk K9 Training is an educational group, providing resources that promote understanding in dog training methods that focus on using positive reinforcement. Canine Life and Social Skills is not just about training dogs; it is about training people, too.
Education is essential, as dog behaviour is often misunderstood, and myths have been perpetuated regarding their behaviour. Dogs are not furry little people, and problems can arise when humans apply human characteristics to explain dog behaviour. Dogs should be studied and understood as a distinct species.
The more we understand dogs, the better the relationship we can have with our dog. For instance, most dogs are not behaving “badly” in a dog sense; they are just using normal dog behaviours to get their needs met or to resolve conflict. They use those behaviours because it’s what they know, and in dog culture, they usually work. Dogs do not feel guilty in the human sense of the word since dogs do not think in terms of right and wrong, but in terms of what works and what does not work for them. Dog behaviour is driven by doggy needs, not human emotion or judgments.
Through the Norfolk K9 Training program, students will find resources for learning about dog behaviour, including locating training professionals dedicated to advocating dog-friendly techniques.
Norfolk K9 Training is more than an assessment of real-life skills, to which we feel we have bought up to modern day living standards throughout our training and assessment program. To which we intend to develop in time where training techniques improve, and changes take place.
Here is an explanation of additional components and objectives through which students and dogs can benefit.
Promote Positive Reinforcement Training
Norfolk K9 Training through its evaluation, curriculum, and training resources, advocates the use of reward-based training. Positive, reward-based training minimizes the use of punishment and is fun for you and your dog! Norfolk K9 Training promotes healthy relationship-based training, training in which the communication is two-way, the mutual trust is strong, and the student (i.e. dog owner) gets to know the dog as an individual to help him/her reach his/her potential. It is training that is instructive, telling the dog, without anger or force, what we would like the dog to do.
The human tendency is to notice and react when a dog (or person) is doing something we don’t like. Yet we would have much better relationships if we rewarded the dog (and person!) for doing things we do like. Help set the dog up for success by giving feedback and rewards for behaviour you like, and by arranging the learning environment to make it easy for the dog to do the appropriate behaviour as well as NOT to do the behaviour you dislike.
Positive, reward-based training does not mean that your training is indulgent or without restraint. Clear boundaries and rules still need to be set for our canine companions. For one, dogs feel more secure with clear boundaries, because they know what is expected of them. Two, boundaries are necessary to maintain harmony in the human household. With positive, reward-based training methods, those rules and boundaries can be established without creating a confrontational atmosphere.
Does Positive, Reward-Based Training Work?
Positive reinforcement – rewarding a desired behaviour – is an effective and reliable method of teaching new behaviours or changing current behaviours in any physically and mentally healthy animal. Dogs are most likely to repeat behaviours that get rewarded, which is why positive reinforcement works.
Furthermore, learning occurs readily in a reward-based training program in which the dog feels safe and relaxed. Training that relies on the use of physical and emotional punishment creates stress, hinder the learning process, and can harm the relationship.
Positive reinforcement training is not based on using only food as a reward—it is about understanding the science behind positive reinforcement. It is a simple rule that behaviours resulting in pleasant consequences will be repeated, and behaviours with no payoff will decrease.
Positive consequences can be anything from massages and belly rubs, to going for a walk, to sitting next to you, to playing games. The trainer who understands dogs as individuals with unique personalities, likes, and dislikes, can effectively use a variety of rewards in addition to food in training.
Strengthen Dog/Student Relationships
Another objective of is to strengthen relationships between students and their canine companions. A positive approach develops and safeguards harmonious relationships by maintaining a mutual trust between dog and student. Norfolk K9 Training program strengthens relationships through effective communication, understanding, and quality time spent together.
Effective communication is essential to any relationship.
Training is communicating to help a dog learn what we want him to do, not forcing him to do it. Dogs and humans are born speaking different languages. When a dog is brought into a human household, it is up to the human to communicate in a way the dog understands. Similarly, dogs have an expressive and well-developed system of body language for communication. If we expect the dog to listen to us, we should listen to what the dog is telling us.
The dog/student relationship is also strengthened through shared activity. With positive, rewards-based training we spend quality time with the dog, resulting in the dog learning so that he has the social skills to spend more time with people.
Dogs are living, emotional beings who thrive on social interaction; they require human attention to be well-adjusted, not to mention to learn appropriate social behaviour. A dog left out in the yard is not only deprived of required human attention and a sense of belonging, but the skills needed to live with humans, as dogs will do whatever works for them if left to their own devices.
Encouragement of Ongoing Training
With its emphasis on teaching and maintaining reliable life skills as well as opportunities to earn certificates Norfolk K9 Training program supports continual training and encourages owners to engage in more shared activities with their dogs. Dogs are continually learning with every behaviour, so why not use training to be proactive in what your dog does learn?
There are so many reasons to continue training with your dog:
Training redirects your dog’s natural behaviours to acceptable outlets
- Training builds your dog’s behavioural repertoire
- The more acceptable behaviours a dog learns, the less room there is for undesirable behaviours
- Training is fun
- Training increases the odds that a dog will stay in the family for his lifetime rather than be given up due to behaviour issues
- Training makes it possible to engage in many more activities with a well-trained dog, such as:
- Advanced training classes
- Dog sports and games
- Animal-assisted activities (i.e. visit nursing homes)
- Search and Rescue
The Community Code for Canines
Dog behaviour in the UK is changing dramatically:
- Animal charities report more and more behaviour problems with dogs that they take in.
- Dog attacks in England increased by 76% in 10 years and appear to be still rising rapidly in frequency and severity, according to British Health & Social Care Information Centre data, released to media on May 28, 2015. Children: 16% of victims, 2/3 of fatalities.
- The numbers came from Hospital Episodes Statistics, based on records of all patients admitted to National Health Service hospitals.
- There are increasing numbers of control orders restricting or banning dogs from certain public areas.
How does this affect dog owners?
You may think that it is only dogs that display aggression in public that cause problems. This is not the case! In a recent court case a dog was playing with another dog in a public park. During the game it ran into a person, knocked them to the ground and injured them. The owner of the dog was ordered to pay compensation to the victim because of the injuries they sustained.
The Judge, in summing up the case, stated “The owner was not able to demonstrate any control over his dog which basically ran around doing as it pleased”. Dogs off lead in a public place and out of control may be dealt with under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. This act has recently been tightened up by the government.
Your dog does not have to act aggressively for you to fall foul of the law. If it is out of control, and as a result, a person or another animal is injured you could end up in court or even go to prison. We already have four banned breeds – we don’t want more added to the list. We must ALL act in our communities in order to improve the image of dogs in the UK.
Improving the Image of Dogs in Our Communities
How do we do this?
It is up to ALL of us, as dog owners, to try to stop dogs getting a bad press because of lack of control. We need to demonstrate that our dogs are not a nuisance to the public at large. We are asking all owners who take their dogs into public places to abide by a voluntary code of conduct. This Community Code for Canines would apply to you and your dog when you are in a public place:
- Do not let your dog off lead unless you can demonstrate a really reliable recall. If you cannot call your dog back to you instantly, it means your dog is out of control. This is the first thing a court appointed expert on dog behaviour will look at if you fall foul of the law.
- Do not allow your dog to approach dogs who are with their owners and under control on a lead. Your own dog may well be friendly, but you should never assume that the owner and dog it is approaching would welcome this. The law allows the owner of the dog on a lead to take whatever steps are deemed to be necessary to prevent another dog bothering them!
- When walking on public footpaths or pathways you should keep your dog in sight all of the time. Out of sight means out of your controlling influence. If you cannot see the path ahead, then your dog should be walking closer to your side or else on the lead.
- Only allow your dog off lead to play with other dogs if the other owners have agreed to this and all owners can demonstrate good control over their dogs.
- Reserve dog treats for your own dog. Feeding other people’s dogs can encourage them to approach you and others in the expectation of getting food and can encourage some to jump up.
6. Be polite and put your dog on a lead when you see another person approaching either with or without another dog so that your dog is under control as you pass by.
7. Respect the rights of others to use public areas for recreation. Never allow your dog to bother others. Train your dog to be under good control both on and off the lead.
8. Find out what public areas do not allow dogs and, those which impose lead restrictions.
9. Abide by these laws and bylaws. Your local dog warden should be able to advise you.
10. When walking your dog in town, always position your dog closest to the building line when possible, with you closest to the centre of the pavement. This allows other pedestrians to pass freely without having to manoeuvre past your dog.
11. Dogs should not pass one another nose to nose. When walking on the lead and passing other dogs always position your dog so that you and other owners pass with the dogs on the outside.
12. Take out third party insurance on your dog to guard against situations when things go wrong in which case you could end up with a hefty bill.
13. Please take with you some means of cleaning up after your dog but DO NOT take your dog into a public area in the hope that he will eliminate in public! Your dog should eliminate in an appropriate place, preferably on your own property before you leave the house.