Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Think again! In this month’s DogBlog, you will learn step by step how to make your dog sit, lie down, turn around, crawl and even play dead. Of course a younger dog will learn more quickly due to “not yet learned” bad habits and also a bigger desire to please its owner. However, dogs always strive to please, so even at a mature age they can still learn how to earn treats, a cuddle or just a lot of fuss. Meet Mala Bissoon!

MALA BISSOON – Dog Training Hobbyist

Lola is almost 10 years old and not as keen on jumping as she used to be. But if you show her a treat she will try out any number of her cute tricks in order to earn it. And if that doesn’t work, she will try to bark it out of your hand and into her mouth. 

Anything you train your dog to do can be thought of as a trick – sit, down, come, stay. Any of these actions can be built upon to become a more impressive show-piece. Sit can become ‘sit pretty’, down can be developed into ‘roll over’ or ‘play dead’. A reliable ‘come’ or ‘stay’ is already quite an impressive thing to witness.

I started training Lola when she was a rascal of an adolescent dog. She was fearless with a nose for trouble. She made her way into the Imperial War Museum twice, and when a couple was trying to eat their fried chicken at one of the picnic tables in the park they managed to attract a circle of five hungry dogs, but only Lola jumped onto the table. It was hilarious but embarrassing.

We worked on basics like recall (‘come’) and walking politely on a lead. I felt we reached a high point of achievement the day that Lola pulled a thick slice of ham out of a discarded sandwich, I asked her to drop it – and she did! 



When you need to teach your dog anything, always reward her for the smallest measure of progress towards your desired outcome. Your rewards mean that your dog is encouraged to keep on learning and earning more food (or play, or praise – whatever your dog finds rewarding).

A complex trick may need to be broken down into smaller parts which are taught separately, then brought together when the dog can confidently perform each part. When your dog successfully completes the trick or behaviour, have a celebration, shower her in treats and maybe do it again, maybe try it again the next day or maybe try again from an earlier stage as she might not yet be absolutely clear about what all the fuss was about. I taught Lola to roll over at home on a mat. It took ages and I was really chuffed when she managed it. But then she simply would not do it outside.


 A year later I was sitting in Battersea park, when I realised that she was wriggling around on her back on the grass. I quickly went back through the steps of the trick and she got it really quickly. Teaching her to play dead after that was – equally difficult. 

I always maintain that the greatest benefit of teaching your dog anything is that you are creating a basis for understanding each other better and building a bond. They learn a bit more about what you want and you learn something about your dog. 


Mala has looked after Oscar since he was a 4 month old puppy, sometimes walking him when we were working, sometimes boarding when we were away. When Oscar reached 18 months, Mala started training him for obedience, recall and a few tricks which he still remembers now at the age of 8. My biggest praise for her style of teaching is that she only ever uses positive training, encouragement and reward. This reassures us that, whenever we leave our dogs with Mala, they’re in good hands! But training your dog should be fun. So when things go wrong or not quite as you planned them, celebrate and laugh anyway! Your dog only ever wants to please you and make you proud…

“Outtake” laughing

My 2020 DOG calendar is currently under construction and will be available shortly. 10% of the profits of this calendar will go to The Dogs Nobody Wants Sanctuary.

The calendar costs £14 and will be available from me directly but also at A Dog’s Life Co in Eton High Street and Let My Dog In. It is A4 when closed and A3 when open. If you would like to pre-order one then please message me and I will send you payment details. Over the next 12 days I will introduce you to the dogs that feature in the calendar.


The Dogs Nobody Wants Sanctuary is based in Slough and looks after 19 disabled dogs of which 18 are in wheelchairs. Some of these dogs were involved in car crashes and are either paralysed from the waist down or had to have legs amputated. Most people, shelters and rehoming programmes would give up on these dogs and put them down however Matt who runs the sanctuary has dedicated his life to ensuring that these lovely dogs get to live out their best life. As you can imagine it costs a lot in food, vets, wheelchairs and washing machines to keep the sanctuary going so please donate through buying my calendar or directly to the sanctuary by clicking on the Facebook link below:

You can pay the Sanctuary directly through their PayPal account – – or myself by bank transfer. Get in touch!

Alternatively, order it through the Let My Dog In store. Coming soon…

For more ideas and recommendations, try:

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And if you have suggestions, reviews and feedback, please drop us a line: or 07932509737

Photos and videos of your dogs, as well as business reviews, are always welcome on our Facebook and Instagram accounts

Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.


… we’ve had a total of 979 Posts, Comments and Reactions
… we’ve welcomed 14 new members
… and said goodbye and RIP to Pantufa ? and welcome to little Nala ?

Top contributors in the last month:

1 – Angelique Larue-Hill
2 – Regina Cocito
3 – Abel Cruz Talavera
4 – Anitta Autumn
5 – Lynda Weatherhead



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