I think everyone would agree that training a toddler is a lot easier than retraining a teenager.

Toddlers just soak up anything you show them. Everything is new and working with a young child is like painting on a blank canvas.

Not so with teenagers who have established habits that can be difficult to break.

That’s the reason schooling starts at four years old to enable children to develop good habits instead of bad ones.

Generally speaking, parents understand that and strive to teach their young children good manners and respect from a very early age.

For some reason, I’ve never quite understood owners who do not always apply the same principle to dogs.

Puppies are fussed, petted, stroked to distraction but taught very little in the way of manners.

Respect for many puppies is non-existent as they jump up, nip and pull whenever the mood takes them.

Unless your pup watches the Open University, these are habits that will not improve with time.

They have to be taught with simple and consistent training.

It’s not difficult once owners understand the consequences of neglecting their pup’s education.

Most owners are pretty good trainers when they know how to go about it.

It’s good to get all the family singing from the same hymn sheet so the pup learns quickly.

I encourage this at all my classes and often find the children to be as good as the adults once they understand.

I loaned my new dog Shadow to an eight-year-old girl in class last week and she ‘got it’ right away and had him sitting and staying in no time. She had authority.

There is no age limit for trainers or dogs to learn but it’s a lot easier to prevent bad habits developing in a dog than changing them later.

I have new puppy classes commencing this month and additional outdoor classes for older dogs.

You can find details on my website vicbarlow.com or text me on 07590-560012.

Let’s get started.