Dog Training Club


Upper Hutt

Canine Good Basics classes


Teach your dog to walk nicely beside you when on lead, and when in the park (once he is reliable)  teach him to hang around you, go where you want to go and come back immediately when called.
Please do not let your dog run up to other dogs he does not know. Even if you think your dog is friendly, how much do you know about the other dog? Its thoughts? Its feeling" and those of its owner.  Read this article "He just wants to say HI" for more information on this subject. 

Things we teach in class

Prepare your dog for class

We want you to have the best chance of learning new things at club, and putting both you and your dog in the best frame of mind for learning is the way to achieve this.

In regards to your dog this means:

  • Do not hand out food for free - food has value, and can be used to train our dogs in many different ways which is why we say to "Ditch the Bowl"
  • Bring a hungry dog to training. Your dog should receive no/little food on Tuesdays.
  • Bring a dog with energy to training. Tired dogs dont train well.

What to bring to training classes

Please bring to class each week:-

  • Great food rewards e.g.  Possyum or Chunky dog roll (available from PaknSave or Upper Hutt produce), liver cake, luncheon chubb etc. cut into small pieces about the size of your little finger nail) 
  • Food rewards in a belt bag OR in a solid plastic container with a lid  (NOT in a plastic bag)

  • Do NOT bring any dried food or treats or chicken or other meat that crumbles and falls apart.  Read more about food....

  • Clicker . You receive this in week one. Use it to train your dog and bring it every week. Attached it to your belt bag or dog lead. More info on how to use the clicker.

  • a Mat for your dog to lie on (like a car mat or small piece of carpet)

  • Poo bags

  • a box your dog can sit in – Low sides so they can easily step in, and big enough for the whole dog. eg. banana box from Supermarket.

  • A toy your dog likes

It's handy to put everything in the box. This makes it easy to carry

Attention/Dog name Game

The first step to having a well behaved dog is to have your dog’s attention. If when you say their name they look towards you, you are a winner!! 
You can beat the smell in the dandelions, the dogs running free in the distance and the cars and bikes wooshing past. Its the start to a great time with your dog.
How to do it.

1. Throw a piece of food away, one way then another, then stop. When your dog looks at you MARK it, and throw food again.

2. Throw food. Just as he finishes eating it say his name and as he looks at you, MARK IT and throw another piece of food away.

This is also exercise for your dog and a good way to feed him some of his dinner! 

3. Repeat many times. 

4. Go to a different place and repeat - and another, and another..

5. When your dog starts offering the behaviour only treat when you have said his name.

Timing of the Click is important. Ensure you click as your dog is looking towards you (not away from you)

What if he is so distracted that he wont look at you?

1. Move to a less distracting place.

2. Show him the food (wave it in front of his face) and lift it to your eyes, and as he follows "click" and give it to him.

3. Use tastier more luscious treats so he really wants them and this overcomes any other distractions.

Sit in a box

This is one of our activities in Canine good Basics. Why?

  • It ensures all handlers and dogs stay within their own safe space.
  • It creates a focus for the dog
  • It is a safe place for the dog
  • Allows an easy way to practice stays
  • Practice waiting before getting out of the car, going through a door, down stairs etc
  • Teaches dog to interact with an object - improves confidence
  • Handler can try different ways to train the dog - luring and shaping etc
  • Helps dog become more coordinated
  • A place to store all your training stuff!!

Get a box and make a start today!


Hand touch is important as a start towards loose leash walking and come training.

Dog touches hand (or looks at hand.) and follows hand everywhere!!

Practise during the week and remember at the start not to use a cue word just yet or lure your pup to touch your hand. Keep your sessions short and fun. Here is a short video clip of the action for you. Put your clickers away for this and practise giving the reward quickly into the hand your pup has nose touched. The action you want is a nose press as if he is pushing a button hard to open something - no licks or 'cruise bys' allowed :-). Practise hand targetting with your pup lying on his mat (you don't need to use the bed)

Collar grab

Here is a video clip to show you how you can practise the collar grab at home - minus the box to get some movement going. This is a skill that you really need to enforce so practise it anytime during the day when you are together, at the clothesline, before getting in the car, at the park, before they are allowed at their food bowls, try putting a toy on the floor and hold his/her collar and make them wait before they dive forward to "get it" - make it fun. Then practise calling them to you and grab hold of the collar then treat.

Recalling the dog

Life is so much more fun if your dog  comes to you when you call him/her. Be a fun companion for your dog.
You can use a long line and toy to practice getting dog to come back..
You need to be a fun thing to develop that joy in the dog of wanting to be with you!

Puppy lie down on a mat, go to a mat.

This is a training session with Zinc, 4 month old Border collie. It shows the dog going to the mat, and lying down on the mat. It shows the food reward being thrown to different locations. It shows the handler moving as well.

If you have a new puppy you will be spending a lot of time together. In order to prepare for  life that gets back to normal, make sure you spend some time apart, with the puppy alone in his crate in a different room etc

The Canine Good Basics assessment.

The aim of the Dogs New Zealand Canine Good Basics (CGB) is to provide a relatively simple test to encourage more people to participate and which can be undertaken as an assessment within a normal class or club situation.

It is intended as a stepping stone towards CGC and is based around goals already commonly developed in basic dog and puppy classes.

Eligible dogs: Any puppy over the age of 6 months Any adult dog of any breed
Minimum age of handler: Handler must be a minimum of eight years old.

Canine Good Basics Assessment Exercises

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS MET: Handler to present registration tag and show they are carrying a poo bag

RESPONSIBLE OWNER KNOWLEDGE: Handler to answer Standardised Questions

ACCEPTANCE OF RESTRAINT: Dog to accept its collar being taken by its handler and then

moved 1-3 steps. A basic test of response to restraint. Dog must not attempt to struggle or bite.

DEMONSTRATION OF MOUTH MANNERS: Dog to demonstrate it is not food aggressive by politely taking a treat offered by its handler when presented on an open palm.

Handler is to provide the treat – if they do not have a treat assessor may offer one for use.

Snatching, attempting to bite or show any form of aggression is not allowed.

OWNER HANDLING AND INSPECTION: Owner to handle ears, mouth (by revealing teeth), feet

and use hand as if grooming without the dog showing resentment or objection by mouthing.

FRIENDLY WITH PEOPLE: Dog when approached and then petted by assessor shows

friendliness with no fear or aggression.

FRIENDLY WITH DOGS: Dog remains calm when another friendly dog walks past at a distance

of 2-3 metres.

ATTENTION ON CUE: Dog responds to a positive cue from its owner and pays them attention

without a leash jerk or physical prompt.

This would normally be done as use of dogs name and dog turns to acknowledge it.

WALK ON LOOSE LEAD: Dog on lead to walk a short distance and change direction without

dragging its owner.

While a loose lead is preferred, some pulling is permitted, but dragging is not. Not to be done as heelwork, but as a casual walk.

COME WHEN CALLED: A recall of approximately 5 metres on an 8-10 metre long line (held by assessor).

Dog may be held by assessor or left in a stay (if it will do this.) If left in a stay this is not the

purpose of the exercise, so dog is not failed if it breaks the stay, provided it comes when called.

SIT OR DOWN ON CUE: Dog will willingly respond on a verbal and/or visual cue to change

posture within a reasonable timeframe and without physical manipulation.

THIRTY SECOND STAY: Dog to remain in one place while handler moves 1-2 metres away. Can be done as a sit or a down, retries are permitted, as long as the exercise is achieved within a reasonable time frame and without physical manipulation.

After Canine Good Basics...


This class builds on the basic skills gained from the CGB class as well as introducing a range of new activities which will improve your relationship with your dog as well as giving you skills to continue with other activities at club and beyond.

We work on Canine good Citizen exercises, Obedience and Rally-O exercises as well as balance and fitness exercises using some agility foundation exercises. 

Click here to be directed to the Dog Sport Basics page.

Clicker training benefits

Clicker training uses a distinct and consistent signal to mark a desired behavior in real time and then follows that signal with a motivating reward. Because animals understand precisely which action earned the click and their reward, they learn new behaviors quickly, easily, and enthusiastically

Teach your dog to touch a target

This teaches your dog to press/hold a target which can be useful in a variety of ways.
The target can be put in different places and used to get your dog to go to those places and press their nose. For example you could teach him to close cupboard doors!

Getting prepared.
Choose your target. eg. a small piece of carpet, a yoghurt lid, cut up an icecream lid, use a lid from a plastic container etc. ideally it will easily fit in the palm of your hand.
Get some treats ready (but dont make them too obvious).
Get your clicker ready
Prepare your learning space. (ideally quiet with no interruptions at first)

Start Teaching a Behavior:
  1. Prepare your dog for something good (ooooh what have I got for you??? etc)  He should prick up his ears, come on over and look interested.
  2. Start with the target behind your back or otherwise out of sight. Hold the target and the clicker in the same hand. Then hold the target out to your dog. Your dog should show some interest in it (look at it, sniff it) and if he does CLICK and give a treat. Try a few times.
  3. If he isnt interested then place a piece of food BEHIND the lid. That should get him sniffing the lid and then you are away!
  4. Put the target behind your back while your dog is eating her treat. Then repeat. Do that about 10 times or so.

What next?
  • Hold the target  in different places so your dog has to move to touch it.
  • Make sure he is actually touching it (delay the click so that he presses it a second time and presses it harder)
  • Hold the target in the air or up against surfaces. This is how you can get him to close cupboard doors etc.

Gentle leader head collar

If your dog is headstrong and you find it difficult to keep him with you, or he pulls like a train and you are worried he might pull you or the lighter members of your family over - Buy a Gentle leader Head collar.

They work incredibly well on calming dogs and they simply cannot pull you when they are wearing one. This means you are free to concentrate on the other aspects of your training.

You can buy them from any Pet shop.

We recommend Gentle Leader headcollars because they can be adjusted easily to suit your individual dog.

Its your choice

"It's your Choice" here's a lovely little video of teaching this. I like that the handler takes one treat out her open hand and gives it to the dog - he is not allowed to help himself. This will work well for all of you

Canine Good Basics graduates.

Below: Canine Good Basics graduates, June 2018.

Tania/Rocky, Tony/Moose, Alistair/Holly, Kelsie/Carter, Darren/V, Karen (assessor), Lucy/Matilda, Anne. Kerry and Abbie also passed.

Above:  Essential skills #1 class who sat and passed the Canine Good basics assessment, September 2017
Below: Term one graduates, Essential skills 1 2018