Barbour Dogs: How to Train Your Human by The Dogfather’s Dog, Lily

Barbour Dogs: How to Train Your Human by The Dogfather’s Dog, Lily

spring summer 2020


Calling all Barbour Dogs to attention! With many dogs spending much more time with their humans, we’ve got some expert advice not from Graeme Hall (aka the Dogfather), but from his pawfect pet pooch Lily. She can help you cope with the extra time spent together with tips and tricks to combat boredom, how to keep up your human’s training, and how to get the most out of your daily walk.

Friends, roamers and country dogs: lend me your floppy ears. It’s LilyDog here. We’ve had far too much dog training advice from Dad the Dogfather, so it’s a good job I’m here to offer a little wisdom on how to keep your humans on the straight and narrow. I’ve put paw to keyboard to proffer advice on how to get the very best out of your humans right now.

Dogfather Graeme Hall with his dog Lily

Keep yourself entertained

You’ll be spending quite a bit of time together, so while your owner is busy working (yeah, right!) make sure you have toys to play with. Footwear, laundry, curtains: you know the kind of thing. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to seek and destroy. Seek attention; destroy slippers.

Nip Attention-Seeking in the bud

What is it with humans constantly pestering? Is it because they feel they need to entertain us all the time? Don’t they know a happy dog sleeps all night and half the day too? Let snoozing pooches lie, I say. Instead of that, what do they do…? They rev us up and then complain we’re not calm enough when they do a Zoom call. Crazy. And what even is a Zoom call? It’s not proper work like herding sheep or retrieving game. No zooming around at all, in fact.


Dogfather's dog Lily Dogfather's dog Lily

Bark at the window occasionally as though someone’s there

Hours of fun. Humans are convinced we can hear things they can’t, so use this to your advantage. If you’re lucky they’ll give you a pat on the head and say, “thank you”, in the belief it stops you barking because you’ve done your guarding job. If someone thanks me for barking, I always thank them, in turn. By barking.

Daily exercise

Remember that the objective of taking your human for a walk is for both of you to get as dirty, wet and smelly as possible. You’ll invariably be more successful than them, but don’t let this stop you showing them the best places to roll around. (Fox poo? Marvellous darlings!) Oddly, they’ll often ignore the good places you showed them only yesterday. Humans ‘live in the now’, you see.


Dogfather Graeme Hall with his dog Lily

Never forget who is in charge of the walk

They may wear the trousers, but we don't carry their poo around in little plastic bags. When your human pulls the lead out of his pocket, it may mean he wants to be dragged home. Remember that it’s not called a ‘lead’ for nothing. Some lead, others follow, and I think you’ll know which way round this works best. Give him the run-around first, though: They all need off-lead exercise.

Reward your human by helping with the gardening

Pull out weeds and suggest new planting spots by initiating the digging of holes. You may notice that your human’s idea of what constitutes a weed differs from yours.

Dogfather Graeme Hall with his dog Lily Dogfather Graeme Hall with his dog Lily

Brush up on your obedience training

With plenty of time to get your training back on track, here are two of my favourite exercises and a guide to what their funny words mean:

“DOWN!”: Means 1) Lie down or 2) Get off the sofa. If you ARE on the sofa, see 1.

“SIT!”: Means “Treat”. If you can’t see or smell one, they’re trying it on. Ignore the bad behaviour and it will go away. Whatever you do, don’t reward them accidentally by sitting.

So, make the best of your extra time with your person. Keep yourself entertained and don’t give in to their incessant attention-seeking. Train them the way you want them, and you’ll reap the benefits. But don’t expect too much, friends. They are lovely, bless them, but they are only human.

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