Training Your Dog
What is the Top Dog Challenge?
The Top Dog Challenge is for business leaders and their dogs to work as a team to help raise funds for Scotland's animals.
Throughout the challenge, you'll receive coaching on how to teach your dog some new tricks and show off what you've learned together.
What do you mean by 'business leaders'?
If you have a role in business that best describes you as either a business owner, chief executive, director, head of department or manager then the Top Dog Challenge is for you!
We are also welcoming participants who are public figures or media personalities.
How does the government guidance on social distancing affect my challenge?
This is a virtual challenge, meaning you can take part in the challenge any time and anywhere that suits you while being able to stay safe within current social distancing guidelines. You can find the government’s current guidance here.
Is it free to sign up?
Yes, it’s free for business leaders to sign up. Everyone who signs up is being encouraged to fundraise for the Scottish SPCA.
What happens after I sign up?
Once you complete the sign up form, we’ll review your information before you start your challenge. You’ll then get an email to confirm your place in the challenge. If we need any further details, we’ll get in touch with you.
When does the challenge start and finish?
The challenge will run for three weeks from Monday 31 May to Sunday 20 June. A virtual awards ceremony will then take place on Monday 28 June.
What time commitment is needed to take part?
The challenge will be flexible to fit around your schedule. After you take part in the virtual coaching sessions, you can fit in your dog training whenever it works best for you.
Sharing your progress with your network can also be done at a time that suits your schedule. There will be live zoom sessions to attend, which will be recorded to view later but we’d encourage you to attend them so you can ask our dog training experts any questions.
Can I get a T-shirt?
Yes, everyone who is taking part will be offered a T-shirt which they can choose to receive if they wish.
Can I do take part in the challenge as part of a team?
The challenge will be for you and your dog to work together as a team. While you won’t be able to add extra people or pets to this team on your fundraising page, you can of course get a team to support you from your business contacts, friends or family.
You may want to get help from people to record videos, share posts on social media or drum up support across your business network. If working closely with other people, please always do this within the current government guidance on social distancing.
You can also join the wider Top Dog Challenge community in a dedicated Facebook group where you can share your achievements and get inspiration from others taking on the challenge.
Can children take part?
Children won’t be able to sign up to take part in the challenge. Family members can however assist you and your dog in the challenge by being part of the action or helping behind the scenes.
How much do I need to fundraise?
We’re asking you to aim to raise £1,000 to help care for Scotland’s animals. Get support from your business network, friends and family to reach your target. By raising vital funds, you’ll be helping ensure animals in Scotland get the care they need from the Scottish SPCA.
- £5 could help feed a dog for one week.
- £50 could help care for a hedgehog for one month.
- £100 could help towards keeping Scottish SPCA animal rescue officers on the road all year round.
When can I start fundraising?
You can start fundraising as soon as your fundraising page has been set up. Raise as much as you can before the challenge ends on 21 June 2021.
How can I raise funds?
Once your application to take part has been accepted, you will get access to your own personal fundraising page. You will then be able to personalise the fundraising page and share it with your business contacts, friends and family to let them know that you're taking part in the challenge.
Share with them how important it is to you and tell them the difference their support could make. You’ll also find fundraising tips to help you on the resources page.
How do my funds reach the charity?
All the money you raise on your fundraising page is transferred automatically to the Scottish SPCA.
What should I be sharing on social media during the challenge?
Document as much of your progress as possible during the challenge. Video would be best for this but photos can also be used.
Every time you are practising your training with your dog, record what happens. Even if things don’t go to plan, share this with your network to show the effort you and your dog are putting in .
What should I do if I have never made videos or don’t use social media regularly?
Don’t worry, a smartphone will be all you need here. Ask a family member to help record your videos everytime you and your dog are training together. You can then use your smartphone to share any action shots or funny moments.
Social media will help you share your challenge far and wide. If you don’t use social media often, ask a family member or colleague for some help and start letting people know privately that you are taking part in the challenge in advance. Ask them to help share your challenge on social media when you post. You can also use other methods to help promote your challenge by contacting local press or writing a blog for your workplace.
Having some extra help from your business contacts, friends and family can make this easier for you, so do reach out to your network for help.
My company offers matched giving, can that be included in my fundraising?
Yes, you can also include matched giving from your company to help with your fundraising. If your company needs to see your fundraising total for matched giving, share your fundraising page with them. Confirmation of the total amount that your company will be providing matched giving for will have to be received by the Scottish SPCA by Wednesday 23 June to be included in your final total.
Matched giving can still be received after this date; however, it won’t be included in your final total when awards are being considered.
What are matched donations from CALA Homes?
From 6pm on Friday 18 June, CALA Homes are generously matching all donations you receive in the Top Dog Challenge. So if someone donates £10 to you, CALA Homes will match this donation and donate £10 to you too. CALA Homes will match all donations from this time until £1,500 had been matched or until 5pm on Monday 28 June, whichever comes first. The maximum single donation that will be matched is £100.
Training Your Dog
Can any dog take part?
The challenge aims to be as accessible as possible to dogs of all abilities. The coaching you receive will use techniques that will help you teach your dog new tricks in short sessions and focus on both of you working as a team.
Some dogs (or even owners) may take a little longer to learn the steps involved but you will receive top tips throughout the challenge so it is as enjoyable as possible for you and your dog.
Can I take part with more than one dog?
To take part in the challenge, only one person with one dog can officially be entered into the challenge.
If you have other dogs, you can certainly get them involved in any of the videos you make or try out your new dog training skills on them too.
What training will I receive?
The challenge will start with an introduction to training your dog from our dog training experts. During this live Zoom session, you will also get to hear from our judges on what they will be looking for, as well as ask any questions you may have.
Once the challenge starts, you will also be provided with a series of videos to help you progress your training step by step.
A second live session with our dog training experts will also take place to support you further in the challenge.
What equipment will I need for the challenge?
For training your dog, you will need some of their favourite treats and toys but no equipment will be needed as all training will be done using verbal commands.
For documenting your challenge, all you will need is a smartphone to record your progress. Asking a family member to record some videos will also be helpful so you can get steady shots from different angles while you are training your dog.