I doubt there’s a dog owner on the planet that hasn’t been out walking in the countryside and seen the sign: ‘Dogs must be kept under control at all times.’

We understand that don’t we?

Yeah, of course we do.

OK now try this. Take off his lead and have your dog sit against your side without jumping up. Order him to ‘heel’ and walk forward 20 paces turn around and return to your original spot.

Is he still with you? Good, now ask him to lie down.

Tell him to stay as you walk around him.

If another dog runs by tell him to ‘leave it’.

If your dog will obey these basic commands every time without fail, you have the making of a reliable, steady dog and can progress to off-lead work.

If however your dog is not obedient when next to your feet what’s the point of turning him loose?

A dog that ignores you when you are stood next to him isn’t likely to listen when he’s romping through the park 100 yards away is he?

When you let an unreliable dog run around off-lead you are playing Russian roulette with him and simply crossing your fingers and hoping nothing goes wrong.

If he gives chase to a duck on a frozen pond or runs into the road after a cat or another dog whose fault will it be?

Just like children, you have to train your dog to obey sensible rules that protect him and all those around him.

When he is truly reliable and obedient at your feet you can start playing off-lead games with him, replacing the lead whenever he becomes distracted.

Make yourself the best game in town, have him believe your are the fount of all his fun and your dog will always be ‘under control’.

Join one of our classes and we will show you how. See my website: vicbarlow.com or text me direct for details at 07590 560012.

By The Dogfather