BGT winner Ashleigh Butler says treating a puppy like a baby is a big mistake

The winner of Britain's Got Talent Ashleigh Butler has shared some invaluable rules for puppy training in her new book, Happy Puppy, Happy Dog, as she even details the one mistake we all make when training a puppy.

The paperback book is full of handy tips and easy-to-learn tricks for training your dog and is set to be released on October 7.

Happy Puppy Happy Dog also features expert dog care advice from Ashleigh, the award-winning dog trainer who won Britain's Got Talent in 2012.

All of Ashleigh's tips are inspired by her beloved dogs Buffy, Pudsey, Sully, Eliza and Vi as the book talks about landmark events in your dog's life, from getting ready for your puppy's arrival to learning how to lead walk and maintain a strong owner-dog relationship.

Author Ashleigh, 26, from Northampton, spoke to TeamDogs about all things puppy training, ahead of her book release.

“I have wanted to write a dog training book for a while, and when lockdown hit and everyone started getting puppies and rescuing dogs, it gave me the push I needed,” she said.

Happy Puppy, Happy Dog has been a year in the making and is aimed at young puppy trainers.

“There is a stigma around dog training books being long and boring. I wanted something fun, engaging and informative.

“It is targeted towards a younger audience, but anyone can read and learn from it.”

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Ashleigh shared her one golden tip for puppy training: “Make sure that you are the most fun thing around. Don’t be afraid to sound silly or crazy – as soon as your puppy starts learning that you’re the fun place to be, everything falls into place.”

Talking about her first puppy, Buffy, who she trained at seven years old, Ashleigh said: “Buffy was the world’s naughtiest dog and particularly headstrong. With every puppy, you’re going to have challenges.

“I would advise anyone struggling to persevere. Every puppy is really different, and you need to suit the training methods and techniques to your specific dog.

“If you get really stuck, don’t panic. Talk to fellow dog owners and don’t be afraid to ask professional dog trainers for advice.”

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Ashleigh shared a dog myth she doesn't agree with: "You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – I don’t think that one’s true. You can definitely break a routine and pattern and teach an older dog new tricks.”

Ashleigh said the one mistake we all make when training a puppy is treating them like a baby.

“People definitely treat their puppies like babies. Don’t get me wrong, my dogs are my babies, but I don’t treat them like that!

“It’s important to have boundaries in place and remain consistent at an early age.

“Often, people are a little bit too lenient and easily give in. But you should try not to break the learning cycle.”

Happy Puppy, Happy Dog will be available in all good bookshops and online retailers on October 7, 2021.

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