It's Crufts time! Can your pooch master these clever tricks?

Image credit: alexei_tm via iStock

Crufts, the most exciting event in the dog lovers' calendar, is taking place over the next few days, kicking off on Thursday March 8th and running until Sunday March 11th at the NEC in Birmingham.

Dog owners, trainers and groomers from across the country will be descending on the site to showcase what they believe are Britain's best pooches. If you're watching from home with your pet, it's hard not to feel inspired by the talented dogs on show.

So, once you've found out which star pooch has won this year's Best in Show, take your dog out, enjoy some quality time together and try training them to pick up a few new tricks. You never know, it could be you and your pet stood up on that Crufts podium one day…

You can teach an old dog new tricks

If your pooch attended dog training classes as a puppy, he or she has probably already got the basics of 'sit', 'heel', 'roll' and 'come' mastered. The dogs on show at Crufts are generally a little more advanced though, with their owners having invested extra time teaching them fancy tricks.

Before you begin attempting to teach your four-legged companion to do anything new, make sure you've got a good supply of dog treats to hand. Rewards are a tried-and-tested way for pooches to learn, and they deserve a treat after their hard work.

A good - and really fun - place to start is by teaching your dog to shake your hand and wave at people. Next time they place their paw in your lap or reach up to you, shake their paw and pass them a treat at the same time, saying 'shake' out loud. The treat will encourage them to repeat the action, and they'll keep going when they realise shaking your hand will earn them a reward.

Once you've mastered that little trick, repeat the same process but only let them have the treat after they've moved their paw from side to side. At first, they'll be doing this to try to grab the treat, so make sure to only let them have it after they've 'waved', and use the command 'wave' at the same time.

Keep repeating the process over the next few days until your dog has picked it up fully and you'll have a great little trick to impress with.

If you think your pooch could do with losing a few pounds and want to try a trick that'll give them a little extra exercise, teaching them to spin is also lots of fun.

Whiff Away is for covering up those pet smells that are less than pleasant

Take your dog out for a run around and place a treat on the end of their nose to tempt them. Gradually move your hand around in a circle so that they follow the treat. Say the command 'spin' at the same time and let them have the treat when they've done a full circle.

Image credit: Bill Chizek via iStock

Do this over again each time you take your dog out for a walk and they'll soon be able to spin on command without needing a treat - although they will surely deserve one occasionally.

Whiff Away: Perfect for the less-than-fresh pooch

After all of that energetic waving and spinning, it's likely that your dog will be feeling (and smelling) a little less than fresh - particularly if it has been rainy and muddy outside.

Bathing your pooch can be a bit of a challenge, but Heyland & Whittle has got a brand new solution that will help to leave your furry friend smelling and feeling fresh, without a battle in your bathroom.

Whiff Away is one of the new fragrances that form part of our Home Solutions collection. Each scent in the range has been designed with a specific smell problem in mind. Whiff Away is for covering up those pet smells that are less than pleasant - perfect for the end of a busy day's dog training.

There's a Room Spray, a Candle in a Tin and a Reed Diffuser in this scent, which features notes of bergamot and clary sage to cover up unpleasant odours with a sharp, fresh fragrance that you'll be wanting a hint of even when your pooch has been freshly washed.

Whiff Away is just one of six fragrances in our new Home Solutions range. Shop the full collection here