Feeding your Dog

What to feed your Dog ? I am not an animal nutritionist or any sort of expert on the feeding of animals but get asked this question a lot.

Some people give there dogs unlimited quantities of dry food to graze on all day and another meal at night most feed there dogs once or twice a day a balanced diet.

Some dogs like humans are naturally greedy others are not motivated by food. Most people when training their dogs use food to reward the dogs for following the cue. The success of this varies from dog to dog based on how much they want that particular treat (how tasty yes they do have preferences) or how hungry the dogs is.

In the wild do you not think a hungry dog is better motivated than a well or even over fed dog? After all if I paid you well or even just enough to allow  you to sit at home with your feet up would you want to go to work?

There are generally two ways to train a dog either with reward known as positive reinforcement or by compulsion known as avoidance training or a combination of them both.

Most trainers these days use positive reinforcement utilising prey drive (for toys) or food drive though praise should not discounted.

One of the best ways to motivate a dog with food is to mix up their daily ration in a bowl then put it in a bag and feed him it through out the day every time you train with them that way they work for their food.

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Dog to Dog Aggression

One of the most frequent issues I and many of my colleagues now get asked to address is dog to dog aggression.

I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the theory on how most of this occurs and why it is on the increase.

If we look back 10 to 20 years ago very few people owned more than one dog now this is much more common. Sometimes people (but before everyone shouts not all)  buy a second dog because they don’t have time to spend and devote to their first dog. This logic is totally flawed one dog can not train another monkey see monkey do does not work with dogs.

The young dog comes from the litter and meets a new dog (owners existing dog). The only experience the young dog has had up until now with other dogs is its mother and the play fighting that was done with its litter mates. So how does it react to the older dog of cause it wants to play and play fight but what is it learning.

In my opinion the young dog is learning how to fight with other dogs and how it is supposed to interact with other dogs by play fighting with other dogs especially if left unsupervised.

So the first time it meets another dog it goes up to them and wants to play or play fight with them but not every dog wants to play some are aggressive.

We now have the required ingredients for a dog fight. If the young dog is hurt or very frightened after this encounter it can ruin a young dog for life.

I am not saying don’t  have more than one dog or never let them play fight together. I am simply informing you of a theory that is held by a lot of dog trainers as to why we get asked to deal with dog to dog aggression problems so much these days.

What ever you decide make sure the young dog bonds with you first not the older dog as it is you that needs to train the young dog.

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Working Trials Rottweiler 6ft Scale

In the Working Trials Stakes dogs are expected to do the 6ft Scale here is a video of my little Rottweiler Bitch practising at our dog training facility in Darlington with some good success.

Click on the link below to see the video



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Stopping a dog nipping or mouthing

Stopping a dog nipping or mouthing out of excitement


At Black Banks Kennels in Darlington as people who follow our blog are aware we don’t just do fun holidays for your dogs and cats. We also do dog training in Darlington, Stockton on Tees, Middlesbrough and across the North East we also try and write useful tips about training and modifying dog behaviour. This subject of dogs nipping is something we get a lot of calls about.


In some puppies and young dogs the urge to bite or nip does not  fade away once they leave the litter. Most puppies will bite at there litter mates in games when they bite too hard there litter mates will let out a little scream a noise like “eek”. This will tell the puppy he or she is being to rough and the intensity and frequency of the bite is usually adjusted.

We can use this natural way of controlling the puppies biting instincts  in our training technique to modify this behaviour. Every time your puppy bites at you or someone else simply let out a little scream and show with your body language displeasure to the puppy for a few seconds then go back to normal with them.


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Dog Inoculations for Kennels & Catteries

At Black Banks Kennels our Darlington facility insist on Inoculations for the safety and welfare of everyone for dogs and cats.

For dogs we do not insist on Kennel Cough but the standard inoculations with anual boosters are an absolute must.

The main things these inoculations together with anual boosters help prevent are Parvovirus, Distemper (Hardpad) , Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parainfluenza Virus, Leptospirosis and can also give protection against coronavirus.

The vast majority of our customers are aware of this and get these things done as a matter of course there a few that don’t understand or realise that this is essential some understand that there is need to get a puppy done but then do not continue with the annual inoculations.

For cats, Feline Infectious Enteritis, Feline Calcivirus and Feline Rhinotracheitis.

It has been quite distressful for us to as well as the parties concerned to have to turn away customers who are ready to go on holiday because there dogs are not inoculated. We have a duty of care to all the other customers and animals that have kept the inoculations up to date and despite been offered bribes we have kept to that policy. If a kennels does not even ask you for proof of vaccinations then what other short cuts will they be doing with the care of your animal.


Posted in Boarding Dogs and Cats, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Building Drive for Dog Training

I often get asked by clients why does my dog not do this or that or do this or that quickly ie will not sit every time or will slowly walk back instead of running. One factor that has a great influence on this is the dogs drive or interest. Why should your dog come running quickly back to you when you call him/her when they have found an interesting smell to sniff or another dog to play with. They need a reason you could probably get them back quick if you produced a roast leg of beef but that’s a bribe and not the sort of thing you carry in your back pocket. You could get them back if you went over attached a lead and pulled them back but by the far the best way if to have them wanting to run back as soon as they are called because they want to.


Most dogs have a drive of some sort discovering building and developing that drive makes for a better bond between dog and owner and encourages the dog to show the behaviours you want. We use the following drives in training as rewards (not bribes)


Prey Drive Chasing balls, Frisbees playing with tug toys

Food Drive Small training treats or jackpots for something special

Pack Drive Grooming Stroking tickling, verbal praise


Variety is the spice of life for humans and dogs if we give the same reward every time the dog does what we ask  or no reward the result is usually the same after a while the dog does not show the same enthusiasm as it did at first or does not want to do it at all. The same as a human if your boss stopped paying you chances are you would not bother going to work or if you put 10p in a slot machine and every go you got 10p back you would soon get bored .So what do we do we create a win win situation for our dog every time the dog does what we ask he/she gets a reward but that might be a stroke, a tug on a rope, a bit of fresh chicken, a biscuit, a smile and some verbal praise an unpredictable reward. It will excite your dog more not knowing which reward he/she is going to get and he/she will want to please you.


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Trained dogs for Sale

At Black Banks Kennels in Darlington we often have trained or partly trained dogs available for sale.

We have Security Patrol Dogs for sale, Personal protection trained dogs for sale these are usually  guarding breeds being German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweliers , Malinos, and Doberman’s

We also occasionally have Obedience trained companion dogs for sale Labrador’s, Spaniels, border collies/ Currently we have available a  Rottweiler male trained in Obedience and started on personal protection work.

Call us for more details

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Darlington & North East mobile Dog training services

Black Banks Training Service Goes Mobile

At Black Banks we listen to our clients needs and we have now expanded our training service to include a mobile service where we come to you to help train your dog in your own home or at a local park or walking spot. Our mobile dog training service covers the following areas Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Catterick, Northallerton, Stockton on Tees, Middlesbrough, Yarm and Barnard Castle.

We now offer three training packages

1/ Boarding & Training

Various packages available starting from basic obedience which includes 2 weeks boarding which gives great value particularly if you are going on holiday anyway We  will do a free initial assessment with you and your dog prior to the commencement of this training to work out the best method and check suitability. With all boarding and training packages if you are not satisfied with the training when we demonstrate the dog to you on your return you need only pay the boarding fee.

Basic Obedience

When you collect your dog he or she’s obedience will be at a good basic level and we will be able to demonstrate to you the following

1/ Walk on a lead without distractions and not cause any undue inconvenience or pulling

2/  Understand the commands Sit and down

3/ Control at gate or door your dog will your dog should be able to walk through a gate or door without pulling the handler through. The dog should wait at one side of the gate (on a lead) until called through by the handler then stay in place whilst the handler secures the gate or door.

4/ Controlled walk past people with other dogs (please note this can only be done if your dog is not aggressive with other dogs to start with dog to dog aggression is dealt with under a different program) The object is for the handler to remain in control of their dog whilst walking amongst people, dogs and distractions. The dog should behave in a quiet, relaxed and controlled manner whilst the handler holds a short conversation.

5/ The dog will stay on the spot while the handler moves away for one minute . The handler should remain in sight place the dog on lead in any position i.e. stand, sit or down and be able to drop the lead for 1 minute.

6/ Recall The handler will release the dog from its lead distance themselves away from the dog. And be able to recall the dog  Having rejoined, the dog should stop close to the handler in any position and the lead shall be replaced.

2/ One to One lessons at our Training  & Activity Facility

Come to our fully equipped and secure training facility where we have the choice to train in quite distraction free surroundings or as you and your dog advance we can train under the distraction of other dogs and humans walking about. The duration of the lesson is between 45 mins to hour depending on the dogs attention span. Learning to train your own dog is usually a rewarding and fun experience for both the handler and the dog and you will learn a new life skill. We will teach you how to communicate effectively with your dog using positive reinforcement to get your dog to show the behaviours you want

2/ One to One lessons at your home or place local to you

We will come to your home or a place close and convenient to you. The duration of the lesson is between 45 mins to hour depending on the dogs attention span. Learning to train your own dog is usually a rewarding and fun experience for both the handler and the dog and you will learn a new life skill. We will teach you how to communicate effectively with your dog using positive reinforcement to get your dog to show the behaviours you want


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Dog training in Middlesbrough

Sam was Bearded Collie we recently helped with mild behaviour problems. He was really nice dog but had a bad habit of chasing bikes and joggers in aggressive manner.

We worked with the owner and together we drew up a desensitisation programme which involved getting the dog used to seeing people cycles and joggers in a controlled (set up situation). Then refocusing the dogs attention onto something else in this case a ball. After just three sessions and a lot of work by Sams owner we had another happy ending.

Sams owner now reports the joggers and cyclists of Albert park in Middlesbrough can rest easy.

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Dog Training Course

Dog training has come a long way in the last 30 years and new and more efficient ways of training are always being fine tuned and developed.  At Black Banks Kennels in Darlington we like to be as up to date as possible. As part of our on going commitment to continuous professional development Andy Coates our senior dog trainer attended a 5 day course delivered by John Rogerson one of the worlds experts on dog training and behaviour this month.

The course was held at the Dogs Trust premises at Sadberge near Darlington and covered a variety of handling and instructing methods both in theory and in practice. Whilst there Andy worked with a rescue dog and in 5 days took the dog a Staffy cross through the Kennel Club Bronze Good Citizens test to get a 10 out of 10 score. The course also covered relationship building and remedial training

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