SDOS: Episode 3 – A Dog Training Challenge For Alex the Video Guy

Episode 3

In today’s show Dom takes his Dogue de Bordeaux Barry and his Cocker Spaniel Sidney on a trip to the bakers and teaches you the effect of concequence and association can have on how you train your dog. We also join Alex the video guy as he takes Otis the Jack Russell out for a walk and tries to keep control using Otis’s kryptonite. Does he succeed? Find out in the show…


[1.08] Why it’s important for you to find your dogs kryptonite [2.07] The importance of consequence and association [ 2.55] What Toby’s jam sandwiches have to do with dog training [4.05] How free sausages will help you keep your dog coming back for more [5.57] Why Alex was apprehensive about walking Otis [7.36] Meet Otis! [11.15] Retrieving with Otis [13.15] Playing Find it with Otis [16.00] Did Dom’s training work?[17.00] How Alex became Otis’s Superhero [17.58] How to quickly get any dog interested in you [18.30] Why you should buy How to Be Your Dogs Superhero and become your dog’s superhero [ 19.50] Why you need to be consistent with your dog training [21.28] What’s happening in next week’s episode when we will meet Dom’s dog training mentor

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Alex Wardle

Full Transcript

Dominic:              Hello me bonny barins and welcome to the Super Hero Dog Owner Show. This is the show that helps you have more fun and less stress with your pet dog. We are the only podcast to be broadcast live from a white van, that we know of. It’s certainly the only white van in Sunderland that’s broadcasting a podcast, I can tell you that without a doubt, yeah.

Today, we are at Costa Del Hendon. This is one of our favourite beaches that we spend a lot of time at, that you guys saw us spending time at in episode 1, actually, wasn’t it, trip to the beach. That was Costa Del Hendon too. The tide is in today. The seagulls are a-squawking, but hopefully they won’t interrupt the podcast. We talked last time about finding the kryptonite, and why it was really important for you to find out exactly what it is that your dog likes so that you can more easily control him and get him to do what you want him to do. It’s really important that you do that because you need to know. For your dog to find something rewarding, it has to be rewarding to him. Yeah, it’s no good giving your dog chicken if all he wants is hot dogs, and it’s no good giving him a squeaky tennis ball if all he wants is a tuggy toy. Yeah, but if you can find out what it is that your dog likes, then it’ll be easier for you to get him to keep coming back and doing exactly what you want him to do. To demonstrate this even further, then I’ve got a nice little story to show you now. This is me, Barry, and Sydney having a trip to the bakers.

The main way the your dog learns anything is by association and consequence. That means if they do something good like sit, yeah, and then they get rewarded for it, then they’re going to much more likely to want to do a sit again. This applies to anything that you want to teach your dog, yeah, be it a sit or a down or a stay or a heel, or if he jumps up at people and you want to make him stay down, or if he barks and you want to make him quiet, if you make the thing that you want your dog to do pleasurable for him, then you’ve got much more chance of making it more pleasurable enough for him to want to do it again for you, and it’s going to be more likely that he’s going to do it again you. That’s exactly what’s going to happen when we go to the baker’s right now. Come on, Baz, come on. Good boy.

Tobey, my youngest son likes to have his jam sandwiches on the morning for his breakfast. He’s a real jam eating child, but he doesn’t just like any jam, it has to be raspberry, seedless jam, and he doesn’t like just any kind of bread either. He likes to have a nice white bun from the baker’s oven, which is our local baker’s in the town. Because Tobey likes that bread, we keep going back to the same bakers time after time. It’s pleasurable for him, so we keep repeating the experience. This is exactly the same thing as what you can do when you train your dog. If you make it pleasurable for your dog and rewarding for him, and you use something that he likes, then he’ll keep coming back again and again, and he’ll enjoy it more and more.

We have our free sausages. Lovely, Barry. Remember to make whatever you’re asking your dog do, make it very, very, very rewarding for him, just like it is for Tobey with his bread. Like today, it was super rewarding because we got some free sausages as well. We’re definitely going to go back there next time. Aren’t we, Barry? Aren’t we, Sydney? Yes.

That was trip to the baker’s, and I hope that nicely demonstrated to you why it’s important for you to find out what it is that your dog likes so that you can use it to keep getting him to come back again and again exactly the same way that we keep going back to The Baker’s Oven again and again to get the nice, white [stubbies 00:04:48] for Tobey to enjoy his jam sandwiches on a morning. You can apply this to anything that you do with your dog, you know. Anything that you do with your dog, you need to make sure that the dog is finding some part of it rewarding because the more rewarding that he finds it, the more he’s going to want to do it, and the more he’s going to look to you like he’s this dog superhero.

Last week we mentioned that we set up a little bit of a challenge. Alex remembers this very well because he was the one that was going to take part in it. What we did this for Alex was that, it’s very easy for me to sit here and say, “Ah, you should do this with your dog, you should do that with your dog. It’s dead easy to do this. Find out what he likes, play with him, job’s [inaudible 00:05:24].” It’s another thing for people who haven’t done much dog training before to get the confidence to have a bit of a play with their dog and to push themselves out of their comfort zone a little bit. That was why I thought it would be a good idea if you went and did what you did with Otis. Before we have a look and see how you got on because Alex being Alex the video guy, obviously he videoed the whole bloody thing in like 12 different cameras, complete Hollywood production. How did you find it? How were you feeling before, before you took Otis out?


Alex:      Before I was feeling quite apprehensive, to be honest, because we’d been filming the previous day, hadn’t we, and I said, “Oh, I’ve got Otis tomorrow.” You had the idea, you said, “Why don’t you film it? Why don’t you see if you can make something of it.” I thought, “Oh yeah, yeah, great.” As it kind of got closer, I was thinking, “What if this just doesn’t work?” It’ll just be the cliché of the dog just looking at me and being like, “What? Who’s this guy? Why should I listen to this guy?” In actual fact, it turned out to be quite the opposite, and it went really, really well. Otis isn’t a particularly naughty dog. He’s not a bad dog or anything like that. He’s not aggressive or anything. He’s just a bit, you know, he’s the boss most of the time. He does what he likes.

Dominic:              Little bit head strong.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah, that’s it. The biggest challenge, I knew from the start was going to be getting him looking up at me and not being distracted by all these things that were going on around us and stuff. I do feel like by the end, well, you’ll see in a second. By the end, he was looking up at me as if to say, “What next? What’s the next thing we’re going to do?”

Dominic:              Brilliant. I can’t wait to watch it.

Alex:      Yeah, and I think it’s exactly as you said before, for people who are new to dog training or new to dog ownership and stuff, it’s just about that comfort zone thing. It’s about being a bit silly and not being so serious about stuff all the time.

Dominic:              Yeah. yeah. Dog sit.

Alex:      It’s just about having fun. You do that. You break out of the shell a little bit, and then everything else follows much more easily, and you get the results as well.

Dominic:              Brilliant. All right then, well let’s check it out then. This is Alex and Otis on the road.

Alex:      Where are you at? Hey. Hey you. Good boy. Are you excited? You ready? You ready to go? Yeah. All right. Where should we go? Okay, so we haven’t actually set off yet, and we can already tell what kind of dog Otis is and what he’s motivated by. He’s sitting here next to me, and he’s staring up at the the top of the houses up here because there’s a few birds knocking about. I do also know that Otis is very toy motivated, and Joanne, Naomi’s mom, has given me 2 special toys this morning. We’ve hidden them from him so far, 2 special toys that he really, really likes. We’re going to use them as his kryptonite when we get there. We’re going to use that to get him interested in me make me the most interesting part of his walk. Shall we go?

Come on. How’s that for a perspective view. I’m taking my bag with me because we’ve got quite a lot of stuff, but I’m going to keep this ball very handy because I know that’s his favorite. Okay, let’s go. Come on Oti. Hey, good boy. We’ve come a little bit down the path. Before we go any further, I’m going to get him a bit more interested in me with that toy we talked about. Otis. What’s this? Ah-ha, what’s this? Thank you. Good boy. Good boy. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Hey. Ha, ha, ha. Bless him, he tried to avoid the camera, but he knocked it over anyway. Otis, get the ball. Get the ball. Good boy. Good boy. Come on then. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Otis. Otis. Give it. Give it. Good boy.

Already here, we haven’t come too far from the car, and Otis is kind of leading the walk. He’s the one who’s pulling on the lead and sort of demanding where he goes. Otis, come here. Good boy, good boy. Come on, this way. This way. Yeah, so he’s quite responsive to commands and stuff. He does what I ask him. He is a good lad in that respect, but as I said, he kind of decides from the start where he’s going to go, and so we’re going to have to work to get him interested in me. I’ve got to be the fun part of the walk. I’ve got to be the thing that he is most interested in, and the part of the walk that is the most exciting, not his environment which is currently what he’s finding to be the most exciting thing.

We’re by the river now, and I think Otis is ready for a swim. Let’s go for a swim. Another thing that Otis likes to do is destroy sticks. I do have those special toys that he was interested in, so let’s try to use them to get him interested in me. What have I got? What’s this? Ha, ha, ha. Oh, what’s this? Ha ha ha, come on. Come on Otis. Come here. Ready. Ready. Go get it. Go on. Yeah. Good boy. Good boy. Yeah. Well done. Thank you. Thank you. Good lad. Good lad. There we go. Ready, go get it. Yeah, good boy. Good boy. Good boy, Otis, go on. Yay, well done. Yeah, this Otis’ big thing that he likes to do. He likes playing a game of tuggy, but I don’t want him to do that with sticks because it’s dangerous for him, so I’m going to try and use that other toy to get his attention back on me again.

Otis, what’s this. Ha, ha, ha. There we go. Straight away, attention back on me. I’m not going to throw this in the river though because it’ll just sink. We kind of discovered that that’s his kryptonite, that’s what he likes the most. I’m going to keep it handy. I’ll just say, I don’t mind throwing the sticks out into the water for him so much because they are buoyant, they’re going to float, unlike that ball. As long as I can get the stick back off him straight away, as soon as he comes back, then we’re okay with that, so let’s try that again.

You want to go for another swim? Ready? Go and get it. Good boy, Oti, come on. Yay, clever lad. What’s this? Oh, ha, ha, ha, there we go, straight away, dropped the stick. He doesn’t even care. Ha, ha, ha, well done Otis. Ready, ready? Go and get it. Go on. Yeah, I think that worked pretty nicely. We’re going to move on a little bit now and walk somewhere different. Good boy. Come on. Otis come here. Good boy. There’s a good boy. Good boy. There’s a good lad. Come on, let’s go.

What’s in here. Oh. This is quite handy, we’ve got a little enclosed area. We’ve got the gate shut now. This is the Roman Bridge of Piercebridge. It doesn’t look much like a bridge to me. All right, so let’s have a go at the find-it game. Good boy. Stay. Stay. Stay there. Good boy. Stay. Stay. Okay, find it, go on. Yay, good boy. Come here. Otis. Otis. Yeah, so Otis was being a little more badly behaved there. He was kind of just running off, doing his own thing with the ball, so I’ve put him back on lead now so I can get a bit more control of him.

Wait, wait. Okay, find it. Go on. Go on. Find it. Yay, good boy. Nice and easy. Nice and simple, but he’s into the game now, and he’s starting to listen to me a bit more. What’s this? Pretty ball. Ready? Shoo. Yay. Good catch. Otis, sit. Good boy. Good boy. Stay. Okay, find it. Go on. Where is it? Where is it? Yay, there it is. Ha, ha, ha, good boy. I’ve got Otis off lead again. Now we’re going to have a little fun, and we’re going to play some [inaudible 00:14:15] with the ball. Ready. Go. Come on Otis. Come here.

Bit of a problem with the leave it, so what I might have to do is get the other ball out of my bag, and use that to kind of tempt him to drop this one. Let’s see how we go? Ah, get the other one. I’ve got the other one now. Come on, let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Otis, sit. Sit. Wait. Sit. Otis. Stay. Sit. Good boy. Go on.

For a non-dog owner’s dog walk, I think that was pretty good. All I did was go through a few key steps of getting Otis interested in me before we went on the walk, using the resources that I know he wants the most, using those to get him focused on me, get him listening to me, get him to do what I want him to do, getting him to stay away from things that I want him to stay away from, and now he’s worn out. We’ve had a great walk together. He’s looking at me all the time now.

This is genuinely a really big improvement over most of the walks we’ve had before where he’s just been on the lead and we’ve just walked around the block with no toys or anything like that, and he’s been tearing things to shreds and sniffing everywhere and being interested in other dogs and other people and barking at bikes and cars and buses. We don’t have all of those distractions here, but again, that’s the key thing. We’ve come somewhere where there aren’t any distractions. It’s a nice place for me to walk and to chill out, and both of us to enjoy the scenery and stuff together. More than that, we don’t have any of those other distractions going on, and as I say, Otis is looking up to me now because he knows that I’m absolutely chuffed to bits that Dom’s training work, no that I had doubted it for a second. I think we’re going to head back to the car now, and have a drink, and go home. See you next time.

Dominic:              That was it. Well done, Alex. Wasn’t he bloody marvellous. That was really good. That perfectly demonstrates, exactly as I knew he would, perfectly demonstrates exactly what we’re talking about which is that you just need to be a little bit silly with your dog. If you find out something that your dog likes, and then you can use it to have fun with him, and you can really quickly build a strong bond, can’t you, you know, with your dog. Tell everyone what’s happened since. What’s been the reaction since you’ve had Otis out?


Alex:      I’m not going to blow my own trumpet, but Otis looks up at me now like I’m the best thing since gravy bones. He’s very loving of all his family, for sure, but whenever he comes over to my house or I go to visit him, he’s pretty excited to see me. The funny thing is though, you hear this a lot, don’t you, is that everyone in Naomi’s family now said, “Oh, he loves you. There’s something about you he just loves.” There is, but it’s nothing personal. It’s nothing that’s special about me or anything like that. It’s just the fact that he remembers this great day that we had and subsequent walks since then, and stuff. The fact that I’ve kept that up every time and tried to be interesting, just by doing little things, he just associates me now with that.

Dominic:              You know what works now, and you’re doing it consistently. That’s a really good point that you made then because a lot of people will say that to me about, “Oh, you know, you make dog training, you make it look so easy. You do this …”, and they don’t see all the days when you have put the effort in, and they have not been there. The truth is you can really quickly get any dog interested in you by using something that he’s already interested in. Without a doubt, it’s a fun, it’s a quick, it’s an easy way for you to get that first connection, isn’t it, and have a bit of fun. Like you said before, be your dog’s superhero.

This is the book again. I’m going to mention it again because if you haven’t got a copy, you really should get yourself a copy of How to Be Your Dog’s Superhero, and you can do that by going to You can see from the picture there, obviously, I have slimmed down a lot since my superhero days. I was a lot more bulkier then. No, the whole idea about me becoming a superhero was that anybody can become their dog’s superhero. Yeah, I was that guy who didn’t have any control over his dogs and wished he was a better dog owner and a better dog trainer to becoming a successful dog trainer who now helps other dog owners have more fun with their dogs.

Anybody can be their dogs superhero. Anybody can be the thing that their dog wants to be with and wants to follow around the park. You know, you can be more interesting than that Labrador or that Dachshund or that pheasant. You can be more interesting than that thing, yeah. You just need to find out what it is that your dog likes, make sure it’s something that you can control and carry, and then use it to have a bit more fun with your dog. That’s another plug for the book. If you’re not ready to invest in the book yet, then you should go to, and you will be able to sign up for my daily dog training emails. They will bring you a different tip, story, and little bit of help to just move you a bit closer to just having a bit more fun with your own dog. They’re free as well, yeah, you get one everyday.

That quite nicely ties in with what you were just saying, Alex, about, since you’ve obviously been out with Otis and you were up for you it and you found the kryptonite and you used it, obviously you’ve just done that every time you’ve seen him since then, haven’t you, as well? Every time you took him out.

Alex:      Yeah, that’s it. Just taking the … Not even the time, it doesn’t take any time to get the simple things in place every time. Every time you go for a walk, instead of treating your dog walk like, “Oh well, he needs to go for a walk around the block”, treat it more as, “How can I interact with my dog?” Just some little, simple ways, but they’re going to blow his mind, and just get him sniffing and things like that. Lots of mental stimulation. Now, I just make sure I take …

Dominic:              You do it every time, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alex:      Yeah, just take some toys out every time and some treats so he can play some find-it game, just like that. That’s all it takes.

Dominic:              That is really all it takes. It’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it …

Alex:      It is.

Dominic:              … to have a dog or a number of dogs looking at you like you’re the best things in his life. Quite honestly, it feels … My wife never looks at me like that, ever, you know. Maybe she did once upon a time. I can’t remember, but either way, at least my dogs do it now. Okay, so if you want to be important to somebody, be important to your dogs. Find out what that dog likes and use it, for god’s sake, use it. That’s it for today’s episode. I think we’ve covered everything. Thank you for going out with Otis and for videoing everything for us.

Alex:      Pleasure.

Dominic:              Please don’t forget to subscribe to the Superhero Dog Owner’s Show on iTunes. Just search for the show and press subscribe. You’ll get all of the episodes beamed into your phone or your iPad or whatever it is that you’re watching them on, your computer, and you’ll get each episode every week. Next week we’re going to be meeting our first guest, Alex. Our first human guest that isn’t even me or you.

Alex:      How exciting.

Dominic:              We’re going to be going seeing a guy who’s been a huge influence on my dog training career, my doggy education. He’s a big, big friend of mine as well. His name is David Davies, and next week we’re going to be hitting the road, and we’re going to be joining Dave at home in Hurworth, finding out a bit more about him, how he got involved with dogs, and how he helped with his dog training business every week. We’ll see you then, and if I don’t see you through the week, then I’ll see the window.

Meet the Author

Dom Hodgson