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The first training session — how to prepare

So, you are the lucky owner of a four-legged friend and have arranged with the instructor for your first training session.

In our previous articles, we discussed how to choose a Training Center or Trainer and determine the type of training you would like to engage in. Today, we will talk about the first session at our Graciano Training Center.

Since we mainly focus on sports training such as BH-VT, IBGH, IGP, and FH, our primary clients are people who want to independently prepare their dogs for these disciplines with our assistance and pass trials with them.

Our center regularly hosts trials in these disciplines, and our main goal is to guide handlers and their dogs through the process in the shortest and most effective way possible. Along the way, we teach the basics of building relationships with the dog, turning your joint activities into an interesting process.

What will we do in the first session?

The instructor will get acquainted with your dog and you, and choose ways to work with the dog.
We will discuss how to make your dog want to train and apply the new knowledge in practice.
We will go through the basic stages of skill formation that your dog will need to master in the training courses.
You will receive homework to accelerate the learning process.

What to bring to the first session?

Whatever you plan to use as a reward for your dog – food and a toy.
Food: Dry food is not suitable for the first session. It’s better to bring something more interesting and tasty for the dog, like meat (raw, boiled, or dried) or cheese. Treats should be cut into small pieces for the dog to swallow easily without chewing. At the same time, the treat should be convenient to hold in your hand without crumbling onto the ground.
Toy: Typically, it’s something your dog likes to play with at home. Suitable toys include a ball on a rope, a roll, a Bumbon, or a cloth.
Leash: It should be comfortable to hold, not too long (2-3 meters). Biothane leashes or burlap leashes are suitable. Do not use a retractable leash or a chain leash.
Collar: The dog should wear the collar it is used to on the first session.
Harness: If you plan to engage in protection work with your dog, you will need a harness. For the first session, you can use ours to determine the best size for your dog. For subsequent sessions, you will need to have your own harness.

How to dress for the session

Wear comfortable clothing suitable for the season.

It should have pockets where you can put treats without an additional bag.
It should be something you won’t mind getting dirty if the dog jumps on you.
Ideally, a dog trainer’s vest is suitable for the session.

You can also use a waist bag for treats if a suitable vest with pockets is not available.

❗️ Another important point, especially for the first session: your dog should be hungry. We do not encourage starving your dog, but you don’t need to feed them before leaving for the session. If your dog has a sluggish appetite, you can skip the morning feeding. This way, you can be sure that the food in your hands will interest the dog, and the trip to the session will not be a waste of time.