The right food is critical for enabling your dog to be at its best but training is vital too.

The breed, size and age and temperament of your dog, along with the level of activity he is involved in, all need to be taken into consideration and then the food itself should always be made from high quality ingredients. For example, protein can vary in type and protein sourced from high quality meat is far preferable to protein sourced from grains.

In particular, if you have an active working or agility dog, you should provide the best food possible to enable them to work or perform at their best. After all, they are the equivalent of a human athlete and will need fuel for energy.

If diet does not provide the correct nutrients, energy and concentration levels will drop, so ensure the food you choose contains high quality protein and fats.

Ryan Kay of Farlavale Gundogs said: “Our spaniels work on shoots and compete at different levels and they are fed on VetSpec Calm & Focused Formula. We feel this really suits an active breed like this. A young cocker uses endless calories from expending excitable energy! They’re often wired to the hilt when it comes to training, but with the ‘Calm & Focused’ supplement already added to the food in the right quantity, it feels as though it lends a hand thoughout the exercises; with the high quality proteins and fats further contributing to their overall performance. We also feed this to our Hungarian Vizsla, and have noticed a huge difference in her concentration.”

Mr Kay has shared six top tips for training your working dog and the advice is useful for training dogs who will not be working, too.

1. Don’t move on before it’s nailed on. Ask any dog trainer worth their salt, and they will tell you that the most common reason for failure is moving on before the basics are fully established. Make sure the basics are solid and the foundations are cemented before moving onto the next step. For example, if your dog won’t sit to the whistle in a training environment, it most certainly won’t sit to the whistle on a shoot day when exposed to the delights of game.

2. Don’t bore the dog! This goes hand-in-hand with number one. Yes we want things nailed on, but equally we don’t want to bore its socks off - so keep it fun! Doing the same thing day in, day out, won’t train your dog, it will simply bore it and it will start to switch off and begin to invent its own game.

3. You’ll hear it time and time again - all dogs are different. So if they’re all different, why do so many of us train every dog the same. You need to try and recognise what sort of dog you have, is he a hard-headed or soft natured dog? Is she completely biddable or perhaps a little detached and aloof? The next thing is to adjust your training accordingly to bring out the best in the dog. Unsurprisingly I’d recommend involving a good trainer to help recognise the different positive and less desirable traits and tailor a training programme accordingly.

4. Sieve through the advice. If you’re the kind of person that can collect data in your mind and sieve through it, separating the good advice from the rubbish, then you’re onto a winner. Take it all on board. Listen to everyone, read the books and watch the videos but, in the end, being able to filter through information and then applying what is relevant and helpful to your dog will undoubtedly develop you more as a handler and it will also enrich your training experience.

5. Measured exposure. Don’t just throw your dog in at the deep-end. Literally! I’ll take introduction to water as an example. I hear of folk who just chuck their dog in and then wonder why it’s developed a fear of water. A warm day, some clean and still water and an inviting and gradual entry will do the trick. Wander in with your wellies or waders on and then encourage your young pupil to follow suit. Then slowly increase the level of exposure. He’ll be leaping in from the bank in no time. I say this many times to my customers – “If you go forward very slowly, enabling your dog to achieve everything you introduce, you’ll actually find yourself progressing very quickly.”

6. Remember your objective. I’m sure you started off with a requisite for your dog, but as time goes by, things can slip a little and you end up putting the dog into situations that are not conducive to achieving your end goal. Try not to make excuses or lose sight of that. Always have your objective in mind and ask if what you’re teaching him right now is contributing to your end target.