Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More Snow

Today was a bit of a mission for walking and have cancelled classes tonight! The Roads are terrible!! When I got to Phillips park today it was snowing, I again made the decsion to park up and walk into the park. It was far to deep for little Ollie today and he got full of snow balls on his fur so I carried him home where he was much happier.

Snow !

Well it looks like we are going to have a white Christmas this year.
We decided to postpone the Christmas Party on Sunday due to the weather conditions and people not wanting to venture out.
Dog walking was fab, I had to park up and walk to 2 of my customers houses, one in phillips park and the other up Castle Hill road. Decided it was safer to walk than get stuck in the dog bus.

Everyone is liking the new heaters alot and Im off to purchase the rest today. We close tommorow for Christmas but I still have lots of work to do especially with organising the daycare. We have lots of enquries and dogs are coming in for assessment ready for when we open. I also need to employ someone to take over the dog walking for me in the new year so need to sort out a job ad for that and catch up on emails etc!!
All my assignments are completed and the next one is due on January the 8th. We have also started 2 new modules, Comparative Psychology and the History of Cynopraxis. Looking forward to getting my teeth into those assignments.
Im also hoping to work put plenty of work into my practical assessment for the Advanced Dog Training which is in January too!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Paws and Parties

Jayne picks up her new Springer Spaniel Puppy on Sunday, we cant wait!!! Also Bobbies owners are getting a new Whippet Puppy and also Freddies owners have a new puppy too that is also a whippet!!
We had our Christmas Puppy Party on Sunday which was Judged by Dog trainer Keith Davis. Boris won Young dog of the Year, Mollie won Puppy of the Year and Freddie was the Obedience Winner, well done to you all and everyone else who attended. Pictures and a full list of winners will be uploaded onto the website over the Christmas Period.

Its the Adult Dog Party this Sunday, can't wait.

Finally we had heaters fitted inside the training area on Wednesday with the rest to go up on Tuesday, just in time for the freezing temperatures!!!

Saturday, 12 December 2009


Well I have a bit of spare time so will do some updates over the next few days. Firstly Matthew took Teal to Leeming Bar last weekend and took the Gundog Club Grade 1 Hunting Retriever Test and passed with a distinction gaining a faultless 100%.

Saturday was a training day and Sunday was test day. The tests were organised and set up by some of the Bishop Burton tutors and students and I managed to get Matthew a place. Matthew plans to take his Grade 2 in March 2010
Matthew has also been accepted and offered a place on The Bishop Burton Foundation Degree in Canine Behaviour and Training starting September 2010.

On the 28th of November we had a staff training day and both Jayne and Matt successfully completed Part Two of our Instructor Development Program.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Wolf Dog Weekend and Update

Its been a while since I posted, finding the time to anything these days is a mission!
The centre is really busy and all classes are full. We have no places for beginners till January now. Puppy places are getting booked up again. Saturdays are proving popular and we have just set up another class for the puppies in the socialisation classes to move into. The pre puppy agility course booked up in 2 days! We may think about another one.

Last weekend I went to the annual CAPBT Personal Development Event and CABPT launch in Exeter. I took Jayne and Stewart along as a treat. The Saturday was all about wolf lookalike dogs and wolf dogs, mainly the Saarloos and the Czech Wolfdog. As well as the behaviourist speakers there were also some breeders who brought their dogs and we got ask them about the breeds and what they are like. It was really informative and educational.
Saturday evening there was a meal which we attended, it was good to catch up and meet new friends everyone was really nice.
The Sunday was for CAPBT members only so Jayne and Stewart were taken on a day out by Kirstys husband Alan. We had to do some practical work and our group had to work on a Hedonic Budget for the Czech Wolfdog, we then has a lecture on Savannah Cats which was really interesting and then a talk on the future of CAPBT and some case studies.

I’ve been practicing my routine and Dinky has got backward circles off now and keeps doing them all the time, I’m going to improve on confidence and balance before I put it under stimulus control.

We had a staff training day the other week and both Jayne and Matthew passed part one of our Instructor Development Programme with flying colours. Part 2 is next month!

The Kennel Club contacted Stewart again to provide dogs for the Silver Assessors Course, however it was on the weekend we were away. A couple of the dogs from the club attended though, Cath and Biscuit and Dee and Diesel, a big thanks to them.
We have our Good Citizen Tests in November, Bronze Silver and Gold!

Sarah and Samson are in the Bury’s Got Talent Final next week doing canine freestyle, so we are wishing them the best of luck and can’t wait to hear how they got on!!

Oh and Jayne is waiting for puppies to be born!! If all goes to plan she will be adding a Working Springer to her family!!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Doggy Fun at WaggaWuffins

Dinky, Teal and Jed having a play session after our Staff Training Day on Saturday

Friday, 25 September 2009

Bronze Assessors, Assessments and Teamwork

Well Saturday after puppy class we met up at the centre ready to head off to the Kennel Club Bronze Assessor Course, there was me and Dinky, Matt and Teal, Stewart and Storm and Dee and Diesel.
As there were only 4 of us and there are 4 cages in Stewarts van we all piled in there together. Getting Diesel the Rottie on the top bunk was fun! We arrived at the new Guide Dog Centre in Atherton, very nice place I must say. We met a few others dogs and owners who had volunteered to come.

We joined the group while they were having lunch and then spent the afternoon doing Bronze exercises over and over and over again as all the wannabe examiners where assessed. Everyone was really nice and friendly and there were also some dogs from a boxer club too and they were all lovely.

We went back to see the awards and certificates given out and Heidi from the Kennel Club asked if we would be available for the Silver in November and we said yes.
We set back off to Waggawuffins and let the dogs have a good play there before we all set off home.

Sunday was clicker Sunday with Lynda and we did mainly heelwork to music stuff. It was great to see the Sunday people again. I got through quite a few things and Lynda gave me some good pointers. There are Progress awards in November and I need to get cracking with a routine for it.

I headed home and got in at 5pm to leave again at 5.30 picking up Sarah and Samson and set of to the centre for the Bronze Good Citizen tests.
There were 5 dogs tested and all 5 passed, our assessor was Dog Trainer Keith Davies. So well done Dee and Diesel, Sarah and Samson, Lisa and Ripley, Jackie and Cassie and Jayne and Jed.

Keith also took 2 dogs from another club through their Gold at the centre and they both passed so a big well done to those two.

Our next test dates are in October and we will be doing Bronze, Silver and Gold. Due to my ever growing schedule of work Stewart is now in charge of all the Good Citizen stuff.
I’ve started back at college and we are doing Work Based Learning and Counselling Skills and Case Histories. I managed to miss the first live online lectures due to some technical difficulties but it’s all now fixed thanks to Matt’s dad.

The centre is growing from strength to strength all thanks to my team, we all have the same passion, beliefs, we all support each other and get on so well. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Its staff training day tomorrow and I’m looking forwards to a day off on Sunday!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Classes, Courses, Days Out and Free Stuff!!

Wow how busy have I been! New Puppy Classes started on a Saturday two weeks ago and are now full, it’s the first time I have taught in the day and keep having to remember not to say ‘tonight’!!.

We have a new helper at the Club, Matthew who has been helping me on a Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Matthew has trained his Springer Spaniel up through the club since a puppy so has really good experience and knowledge of how we do things at the club and is a great clicker trainer, he also has a great natural ability and understanding of dogs and good empathy with people. Matthew took Teal his own dog through his Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze, Silver and Gold before he was 12 months old with us, has experience in gundog training and is now doing agility. Matthew has been looking at some courses to help with his development.

Jayne has started her Dogwise course with COAPE and is really enjoying it, she has access to the Waggawuffins library of over 200 dog books which is proving quite useful.

I’m halfway through reading Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor which I would highly recommend to anyone. I’m trying to get it finished before I get my reading list next week when I start back a college for my final year.
Next weekend we have a staff training day on Saturday afternoon where we will be covering training equipment, operant and classical conditioning, learning styles, understanding stress and practical instructing.

This weekend is packed with dog stuff, The Kennel Club contacted Stewart the other week to supply some dogs for the Good Citizen Scheme Assessors workshop on Saturday in Atherton, so we are all off up there Saturday afternoon with dogs after morning classes. Sunday it’s a Clicker Sunday with Lynda and then our first bronze good citizen tests at Waggawuffins on Sunday evening.

I also have to get some dogs together for a photo shoot for a large pet company’s advertising, this is still in negotiations though at the moment.

We have set up a youtube channel where we have already uploaded some videos, there will be more to follow. http://www.youtube.com/user/WaggaWuffins

As a member of the APDT I received some free samples of James Wellbeloved and money off vouchers for my customers. Four boxes arrived this week, WOW there are small sacks of food, training treat bags, carrier bags and treats!! This alone is worth my membership costs. I have also ordered some clickers as I’m running out.

We started a new agility course and again have some really nice dogs, Sarah and Samson who came to our puppy classes joined to have a go at agility, Sarah is competing in Bury’s Got Talent on Saturday with Samson, we are sure she will do well and are wishing her the best of luck.
That’s all for now!

Monday, 31 August 2009

College Soon for Two of Us!

Daniella got her GCSEs this week, she got 4 Bs and 5 Cs which is more than she needed for college, I was very proud. She enrolled on Thursday after she got her results. She is doing Business, Accounting, Economics and Psychology! Daniella has been helping me dog walking over the Summer but she will be in college now from next week. I start back at Bishop Burton at the end of September.

I went to the RSPCA last week to assess a couple of dogs and I’m back there tommorow. We discussed putting together some rehabilitation programs for each dog and also reducing the barking in the kennels using a clicker method by Karen Pryor. They have some really nice dogs in at the moment. They have a show this weekend coming at Clarence Park so we will be there.

We have been working on the daycare rooms at Waggawuffins this weekend and also finishing off the artwork. Jamie, Wordsworth and Hong Kong Phooey are complete. One rest room is complete and the main room just needs a couple of finishing touches. Dinky, Snoopy and Taz have been with us at the centre playing all weekend.

I have been arranging with a couple of students to have a clicker training weekend at the centre which we plan to do in October. Really looking forwards to that, it will be good to catch up on where everyone is up to with the Advanced Dog Training Module.

Friday, 21 August 2009

APDT Assessment

On Saturday I had a practical assessment with the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).
I set off to Bradford around 12pm, my assessment started at 1.45pm. Along with the stress of having assessment it decided to leather it down and driving over the Pennines on the M62 was not much fun.
My assessment was in an equestrian centre, once I got there everyone was really nice and friendly, I met my class and their dogs and chatted with them for a bit.

The assessment!
I had my class plan and notes, loads of treats, clickers and some cones. I’d put a little note on the top of my sheet reminding myself to breath! I was really nervous.
I taught a down, leave and loose lead walking. All with clicker, as the dogs and owners had not used clickers before I had to do a quick crash course at the start. I then progressed each of the exercises.
After the practical assessment I had a 15 minute break before the oral assessment which took 45 minutes. After that I had another brew and set off back home. They told me that it can take up to 2 weeks for me to receive the results.

I’ve been staring at my email account ever since lol waiting for that email!!!!

Yesterday I was just printing off stuff for training class wondering how I was going to survive through the weekend without knowing and the email popped into my inbox……….

I Passed!!

The feedback said that they would Highly Recommend me for membership, so my application form is in the post!!! I was so pleased and relieved. The waiting was driving me insane.

The APDT is the biggest dog training organisation in the UK and has a strict Code of Ethics regarding the use of positive methods only. Their assessments are very thorough and members must have demonstrated not only that they use positive methods, they truly believe in them and also have excellent training and teaching skills.
This means that people looking for a dog trainer know they are going to get a skilled dog trainer and their dog is not going to come to any harm.

Of all the things I have achieved in studying dogs and training, this to me is my biggest personal achievement.

I’m really proud to be able to become a member

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Rain Drops, Clicks, Ducks and Petitions

We it doesn't seem to have done much other than rain over the past few weeks!! I seem to be carrying most of my clothes in the van with me. The other week I got caught in a shower and went into sport soccer soaked and bought a T shirt and pants to change into. I dont mind the rain or getting wet its when the weather changes and I get caught its not much fun. Non of the dogs I walk mind the rain at all except for Ollie the Shitz Tzu he would rather stay on the sofa and watch TV. Ive added a short video of some ducklings me and Xanthe the Cocker Spaniel were watching in the rain the other day, very cute!!

I went on Lynda's Clicker Saturday this weekend which was great. We had to free shape Lynda to do a behaviour we had written a training plan for and then did some targeting. I got Dinky to touch the side of a tiny cone out of a toy car set with the bottom of her paw. The cone is about an inch tall. This got me a beautiful ballet type move so going to do the other foot, fade out the cone and use it for my HTM routine. I've decided to do my routine to Mudfootball by Jack Johnson. We also made some progress on spinning on the box as I was struggling to get Dinky to turn her back on me to get a full turn, but I free shaped her to look away from me. My homework is to get a backwards circle round an object.

Sunday I popped down to the RSPCA show, it was great to see everyone and catch up. I also saw one of the dogs from classes Ozzy, he managed to get himself a free bath in the Dial a Dog Wash Van and his picture taken by the local press. Steven from Dial a Dog Wash has just set up his business and I had a good chat with him, he seems really nice.

Dinky slammed into a parked car a few weeks back, well she tried to fit between a parked car and a post that was only half as wide as she is and damaged her shoulder so I havent been doing anything with her for a while as she has been resting. She is much better and getting backinto things

Finally CABPT that I am a member of have set up a petition against harsh dog training methods, please take some time to sign it and support positive methods . Its called Ask Why Say No.


Sunday, 2 August 2009

Wagga-Wuffins Activity Centre Update

Well a long awaited update!

I think this has been one of the hardest things I have done in my life.WaggaWuffins is open!!! My office/consulting room is still a work in progress and there are still some bit and bobs to do and the Daycare chill out room is still a work in progress too. The Environmental Health sent me a huge document by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health with regards to Pet Sitting and Daycare which has enabled us to make sure we meet all their requirements in the building work.

The new Windows and Front Door have finally been fitted!!!! Its looks smart from the outside now and the grills will be fitted this week. There was a little accident while removing the old windows and I am now minus a toilet lol!! A new one is being fitted tommorow. The posts are all padded up too in florescent orange water proof material.

I took my dogs for a test run before we opened and they loved it. Snoopy was running round with a ball in his mouth, he never plays with toys. Everyone who came really likes the place and are very impressed especially those who have already been training with us. The dogs really like it to.
Quite a few people have come to watch the classes before they book on too, it’s great to have the space to do this. I love having my own place, its been hard but so worth it.

We filled the beginner’s classes on the Wednesday with some really nice dogs and have just one place left for the August course.

I picked up the agility set last Sunday which is all painted in red and blue to match the centre colours, its looks really smart, the instructors gave it test run Sunday afternoon, after I gave them a team building exercise to put it together! The first course starts on the 4th August which is fully booked. Next one will start at the end of August.

Then I will focus on getting the RingCraft going on a Friday. Saturday training will start at the end of August as I have other things booked in August on some weekends.

I’ve finished my second year degree and have a bit of well needed rest now until September when I start my third and final year.
Promise there will be photos this week I keep forgetting the camera

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Blackpool Championship Show

As you can imagine I have been really busy so just a quick update for June and more news on the centre to follow soon.
I took Snoopy to Blackpool Championship Show,which was our first show this year since Crufts. Snoopy got 1st prize in Limit Dog and then went onto win the Reserve Dog Challenge Certificate. This is his second reserve CC.
As you can see his coat is looking much better than at Crufts

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Last Block Week and Gianni's Herding Day

Well I’m back from College and the Herding Day and back working on the centre

College was great and good to catch up with other students. We had lectures on Separation related disorders, training plans and using stooge dogs. There was lots of opportunity for training and Dinky is really coming on I’m very pleased with our progress, especially as we haven’t done much over the past weeks.
I had my Behaviour Counselling assessment at 9am on Wednesday morning, the first one, that’s what happens when your Surname begins with A!
I was quite nervous as this was my first practical assessment at Level 5, but I sailed through getting a total of 91%. What a swat!!!

On Thursday me and another student has some free time as assessments where taking place so we took the dogs on the Westwood for a run. This is a large grassed area near Beverley Racecourse where cows graze. Denise’s dog had got spooked the other day and she thinks it was the Cows and he did not want to go out onto the Westwood so we left him in the car and took Dinky. When we headed back and got over the hill toward the cars, poor Brody was sat in the car surrounded by about 70 Cows!! We had to wait till they had moved so we could get to the cars.

Saturday was Gianni Canopoli's herding Clinic, what an experience. It was great. The place was lovely and so were all the people. Lynda and Pauline were there who are tutors at Bishop Burton. Lynda has already done some herding with her working line bearded collies and her young dog was amazing to watch work. Gianni asked if she was for sale! It was really interesting watching the dogs and seeing the natural instinct kick in and if it didn’t seeing how Gianni help to encourage it. There were mainly beardies, but also Pauline’s Spanish Water Dog, a Spitz, Border collie and Canaan dog and of course Dinky and Snoopy.
Snoopy was scared of the Sheep as I expected and ran away trying to get out of the field much to the rest of groups amusement. You can always guarantee wherever I take him he shows me up and makes people laugh! That’s why I love him, so I officially have a sheepdog that is scared of sheep.

Dinky however was really liking the sheep. What was good was when the sheep were out of the pen and she chased I was able to stop her and call her back. After 2 sessions I decided not to take it further as Dinky seemed to want to just chase or play with the sheep and Gianni said she may, but probably would not want to herd them as she is more of a flock guardian than a herder. As she has a strong drive to chase and have worked hard to control it I was pleased that even on full flight I could stop her. Gianni said he works a lot on the continent with dogs like leos training them not to chase and commented on the good control I have with her.
I’m planning to take my trainers on one of the summer ones as it is really educational just watching.

Now I’m back working on the centre and the classes are booking up fast!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Wagga-Wuffins K9 Activity Centre

The centre is starting to take shape now, still waiting for windows though! We have a new fire exit door and the wiring is going in this weekend then Jon can finish putting the ply on the walls. I’m off to college for 4 days on my last block week of the year and an assessment doing a behaviour consultation! Then Im back Friday and then Saturday I’m off to Gianni Canopoli's Herding Clinic in Scarborough!
On Tuesday I’m off to the Pet Behaviour Centre in Glasgow to see the Creche and how they run things up there. Then on the Saturday is the CAP2 and the week after is Blackpool Champ Show!

AND I have the centre to sort out, that still looks like a building site!

We are actually still on schedule at the moment. I have ordered the agility equipment and rubber floor, the website is now live http://www.waggawuffins.com
And we are having a fire risk assessment the week after next when I get back from college.

All the printing of advertising material is nearly complete. Alison at Sugarloaf Designs has done an amazing job with the logos, branding and design.
We also have a new addition to our team Jayne.

That’s all for now, I'll update when I’m back from college and herding!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Centre Update

Well we’ve been really busy and I’m quite shattered today. Jon my OH has put all the stud walls up, the plumber has fitted a new toilet and sink in the existing toilet. My dad fitted 23 meters of electric cable to the wall so the electrician can fit an electric box in the office. We have laid the office and kitchen floor and filled with insulation. I started to clean the loose pain off the walls ready for new paint! The windows have been measured up and the new ones will be fitted this week.
Next weekend we can start fixing the ply to the walls.

Also we found the little baby pigeon had died yesterday that has been squatting in the centre. I think it was probably the stress caused by all the building work but were not sure!

Well I’d better get on with my assignment, I have lots of dogs walking and training this week and an assessment to do for the RSPCA

Friday, 22 May 2009

Dominant Dogs?

There has been a research paper released link here http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2009/6361.html

This has also hit the newspapers today which is great! This is not something new and most good dog trainers have been aware of this for a long time and the reason why we use only positive techniques.
I am what you would call a cross over trainer which means I started out using old school check chains and correction years ago but have changed. Over time I have studied and tried many techniques and now only train using positive methods because it works the best and is safe and kind and I love dogs and don’t like being mean to them.

It is sad that I visit many homes where dogs suffer because people are led to believe by other trainers and TV programmes that they need to dominate their dogs and become a pack leader. This only leads to confusion and a dog/human relationship that is in permanent conflict.

Dogs are pack animals but they don’t have the structure that wolves do and are behaviourally very different to a wolf. The studies based around using rank reduction techniques was done on wolves not dogs. Humans love hierarchies, we are surrounded by them and probably the reason we bought into this theory even though there was never any real substantial research to back it up. Humans trying to behave like wolves to train dogs is as ridiculous as it sounds!

Recent studies question if dogs even understand what you are doing when make attempts to assert dominance and leadership over them. I could go on all day about the behavioural difference between dogs and wolves!

Also ignoring a dog and only ever giving it attention when you want is actually random positive punishment for any social species, meaning that it happens irrespective of the dogs behaviour and that causes stress. Research shows that if this type of social depravation is successful in reducing aggression it is because it is a variant of learned helplessness caused by the loss of control over social contact. Not a nice psychological mind state to live in day to day.

Also many of these techniques are confrontational and aggressive such as alpha rolls and pinning. If you have ever seen a true alpha/leader (wolf or dog) you will notice that they are totally non aggressive and don’t even have to make any physical contact with another to gain respect or status, why? because they were born with it!

If an owner has been aggressive or uses physical violence on the dog using correction techniques such as scruffing, hitting or pinning the dog will think this is the way to do things. Aggression causes aggression.

I have a relationship with my dogs where we respect each other, my dogs do things because they want to not because they have to. They don’t live with the daily fear that if they make a mistake they may experience pain or punishment which sadly many dogs do. They love learning and training because together we achieve great things. My aim as a trainer is to share my knowledge and experience with others and see more happy dogs.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Its All Go!

The work on my centre has begun. Ive attached a photo of the centre before anything was done and the new floor now partly laid. This should be finished tommorow and at the weekend the stud walls go in for the office, kitchen etc.

Then there is the toilets, new doors, windows, painting, padding for posts,rubber mats, carpets etc!!
Its going to be like Grand Designs for Dogs!

Im mad busy arranging stuff at the moment and trying to do assignments!! I also start my CAP2 on Saturday! I could do with cloning myself at the moment.
The new Website should be up the end of next week and we will be taking bookings for all new classes then too, we have Pet Dog Agility, Flyball, Games, Ringcraft, Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme and much more.
We plan to open on the 06/07/2009

Friday, 1 May 2009

CAP and Planning

A quick update, firstly I passed my CAP1 with full marks gaining a distinction and I’m now starting CAP2. For those that don’t know, CAP is a Clicker Trainers Competency Assessment Program run by Learning About Dogs.

The council have granted my planning permission for my training centre. So I’m going to be really busy for the next few weeks as there is a lot of work to do. We hope to be up and running in 6 to 8 weeks.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Heelwork to Music, Holidays, Herding, Hit something Hard, and Hubble

Well I haven’t made it to water training for 2 weeks! The first week I ended up Heelwork to Music Training, last weekend I did some more HTM Training and we decorated Jon’s Dining room, it looks fab!
We all had a bit of stress with our first inappropriate canine behaviour assignment but got a weeks extension as we all got the wrong end of the stick. It’s quite weird now working at level 5 and you’ve really got to put the work in. I’m enjoying learning from it though. We have a two week break for Easter but I’m hoping to use that time to get ahead with my assignments, especially my training plan.

I’ve booked Dinky and Snoopy in for beginner sheep herding sessions in June at Scarborough. First they get assessed for natural instinct and then if they pass we get to have a go. It will be interesting as Dinky’s breed should have no herding instinct.
My gut feeling is Snoopy will be scared of them and Dinky will scatter them or make friends with them like Babe! Baaaa Ram Eweee…..

This week I am back training with Lynda Edmondson and looking forwards to it I feel I have hit a learning plateau and need some direction, it’s also the last CAP1 training day this month. Its funny how you can train people, support them, identify problems and see things plainly but when you are doing it yourself it’s totally different as you’re not looking as an outsider. I’m finding videoing and watching back helps as I can evaluate my session then.

This weekend I also managed to bump or should I say battered my Granvia in a car park, I was parked next to the trolley bay and hit the barrier as I pulled out. What a Muppet! I have a great big dent and have scraped all the paint off the bottom of the side sliding door, I’m hoping that it can be repaired as opposed to a new door!!

The window is still in though!!

I got a bit of surprise last week when the Bury Times ‘exposed’ Project Hubble, they had obviously been scanning the planning applications for something interesting and picked up on mine. I knew nothing about it until one of my customers mentioned it, thankfully it is a good write up, and it has certainly set tongues wagging with the dog owning community. There is not much I can do except plan and prepare until I get planning permission so was keeping it quiet.
When I first looked into my own premise for training I had no idea it was so complicated, I thought I’d just lease a unit and away we go, it’s been an interesting learning experience and I felt I have prepared myself well, I knew I was going to come across obstacles in the way and had to take risks and fight my corner. I knew nothing about planning policy change of use and employment generating areas before this.
We expect a decision in May and it will be full steam ahead after that. I’m trying so hard not to get excited in case the council say no!

Why I called it Project Hubble? I’ll let you guess that!! A free brew at dog club for the correct answer!!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

College and Wales

Well college was great, made progress with practical training, Dinky does full backwards circles round me now. The Inappropriate Canine Behaviour Lectures were all on aggression, different types, identifying them and what you would consider in a treatment plan. We stayed at Robeanne House which is always nice and good to get together in the evening for a glass or wine or two and a chat with other students.

This weekend me and Jon when down to South Wales as I was asked to do a clicker demo and training session for the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club of Wales.
As we have not had a holiday for over a year and looks like we are going to be far too busy over the next 6 months to have one, we decided to make a weekend of it. So Friday night we set on the lovely journey down the M6 and M5!
Surprising the only bad traffic was coming out of Manchester and we arrived in Tintern Village at 9.30pm. We had booked in The Old Rectory B&B as they were happy to accept 3 dogs. The owners were really nice and have dogs or their own. Our room had its own entrance which led to the garden, this was very convenient. We also had Sky TV and a bath as well as a shower, I was impressed!!
We took the dogs a walk down the lane but didn’t go too far as it was very dark, then we settled down and had a few glasses of wine. The next morning we had arranged to have breakfast at 9am, so took the dogs a good walk first. When we went for breakfast it was really quiet and no one was up!! There was a bell so we rang it and eventually the owners got up, apologising for sleeping in. Then they announced they had no sausages and they would either give us extra bacon or if we waited they would go to the shop. We opted for extra bacon. Then the owner put on some music as she went back to the kitchen the CD started jumping. We were laughing by this time and I think Jon made some mention of faulty towers. Then the owner came back and asked about clicker training, Jon told me afterwards I was rather aloof with my answer. I told him I was thinking to myself at the time, my breakfast is late and I have no sausages and now you want some free dog training advice!
Anyway we went off to the next village called St Arvans to the AGM. I did a demo and then somehow we ended up discussing dominance and pack theory. I started with someone asking about the dog believing its in control of its rewards and is this good, I went on to discuss perceived control as a stress reducer and what learned helplessness is and then it went on to dominance and training. We had a short training session and I did some hand targeting with the dogs. I was a really good day and everyone was really nice and friendly. We then went for lunch in the pub and more chatting dog stuff. The secretary asked me if I would I consider doing the same for the UK Club and of course I agreed.
We took the dogs for a good a walk along the river, Tintern is really a lovely place. When we arrived back to our room, there were wine classes (we used cups the night before) and also some flowers, which was lovely, also in the morning we had a full breakfast with sausages and the owners gave us some Tintern sausages to take home as a gift.

Next weekend its water rescue training!!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Off to College

Well Im off for a weekend session at college tommorow, 9am start in Hull. We are doing advanced dog training and inappropriate canine behaviour. Our lecture on Wednesday was on Aggression and really interesting so looking forwards to this weekend.

My plan with Dinky is to work on going round out wide using the target stick and more duration on trotting, I may work on the foot lift but will see how we do with that this afternoon.

Ive spent £80 on grooming products for Snoopy from Plush Puppy and they have devised me a concoction for using on his coat to help growth and protect it from breaking. What a ridiculous amout of money, I must be mad..............................I hope it works!! Here is a picture of Snoopy's brother winning Best of Breed at Westminster dog show in the USA, this is how I want Snoopy's coat to look!!

As for the 'current climate' I must be on another planet, I have never been this busy with work!!

Whats really nice is some of the enquirys I've had have come by recommendation and by more than one person. One lady said 3 of her friends who dont know each other, from different social circles recommended me. A lady yesterday said said 2 different people in the park recommended me.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


As a trainer and also exhibiter of 13 years I was horrified while walking through the benches at Crufts to spot 2 dobermanns wearing prong collars. Also a friend of mind has told me she saw a shepherd wearing one too.
I have never in the years of showing seen these awful things at a show. I can’t believe in a time when dog training has moved forwards so much with the welfare of the dog in mind and so many positive methods out there to train a dog, I am now seeing show dogs on prong collars.
If these dogs are so out of control that their owners have to stick spikes in their necks to control them, should they be showing them!!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Crufts 2009

Well I was up at 4am after not much sleep. Got ready, Snoopy knew something was happening and he was going somewhere after all the grooming and faffing. I picked my mum and Sue up at 5am and off we set. We had a slight detour to Stoke on Trent where we picked Brenda from the ADTB and her gorgeous border collie Jade. We had a couple of u turns due to the AA directions having notes of Travelodge’s which confused my mum.
Anyway traffic was fine and we arrived nice and early and I went off to buy a show lead as about 10pm last night I realised it was in the box at dog club!

Snoopy’s first class was limit dog and there were 9 dogs in this class. Snoopy was impeccably behaved and shown beautifully winning 2nd place! We then went on to the Good Citizen scheme class where there were 2 entries, as Snoopy has already beaten the other dog in limit so he was automatically awarded 1st place.

The judge commented on Snoopy’s condition and muscle tone saying you can tell he gets good exercise which was nice.

It was great to catch up with everyone, Snoopy’s breeder came over from Poland and I got a lecture on grooming as Snoopy does not have enough coat. I need to be washing him every week and only brushing him when he is wet and has conditioner on so it doesn’t split his coat. So I spent a small fortune on coat care and we will see what happens!!
Did lots of shopping, Crufts wasn’t as busy as it has been but this made shopping a little easier. Thankfully we were not impacted at all by the protesters and managed to have a great day.

Anyway, I am shattered and off to bed

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Watch Crufts on the Net

Im currently watching the canine freestyle on http://www.cruftslive.tv/

The only chance you ever get to see the really good stuff at Crufts was by going there, this year the BBC ( who only ever show the breed judging and a bit of the sports) refused to air crufts because of all the controversy with the pedigree dogs exposed documentary. So Crufts/Kennel Club have decided to show it live over the internet.
So you can watch all the agility, heelwork to music, junior handling etc and even register and watch it on demand for a small fee.

And the whole world can see what crufts is really all about.

Im glad the BBC dropped Crufts :-)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The results are in

Ive just got home and had a letter from Bishop Burton. Its a notification of module results from Hull University for the last 18 months and I have passed all my modules for the first part of the course, this means I now have a total of 120 Credits at Level 4 and means I can continue with the degree and begin the study a level 5.


Sunday, 1 March 2009

Training Videos

Thought I would share a couple of training videos, the first one is Dinky learning a back foot target which will eventually (hopefully) be a leg lift.

This one is Snoopy learning to lip sync!!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

8 Days To Go

I cant believe a week tommorow we'll be at Crufts!

Im competing with Snoopy on the Sunday, so he will be being pampered this week preparing for the big event. Snoopy had a Reserve Challenge Certificate which means he is qualifed for Crufts for life.

We have'nt done much showing this last year in fact Snoopy's last show was Crufts last year so we're a bit rusty!!

Snoopy is entered in Limit Dog and also the Good Citizen Scheme Class.

Im looking forwards to it and I will also be doing lots of shopping.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dancing, Walking, Training and Swimming with Dogs

Well my Heelwork to Music lesson was rather interesting. The first thing we did was have 15 minutes to make a routine to 1 minute of Elvis and demo it in front of the group. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end and we don’t really have any moves as such. Anyway I did it, it wasn’t great or amazing but I got up and did it. This was I thought going to be my biggest hurdle and now really glad I have done it and wasn’t actually that bad.
Well Dinky wasn’t that bad however I think I might need to attend some dance classes!

I learnt lots about how to present your moves to the judges, using the space available and positioning, along with making sure you include time/beats to change from doing one movement to another.
So I’ve got loads to work on, I have decided to do leg weaves with Dinky and see what they look like. I’m also teaching her to go round out wide and to go round close backwards, I think the kitchen table is going to have to go in the shed so I have more training space in the kitchen, we will have to eat on our knees in front of the TV from now on so I can create my masterpiece!!

On Saturday I did some training with my dogs in Heaton Park Car Park which was busy with Dogs, Cars, People and Children, both Dinky and Snoopy worked really well with the distractions. I also did some videoing and saw I have started to turn into a serious silent clicker trainer. This just doesn’t do it for Dinky so I need to start being a bit more ‘fun’ again.

When doing heelwork I’ve found Dinky drops her head as we set off, only for a split second, I think its confidence thing to just look where she is going. I have been clicking as soon as I move, before her head drops, as she is following a hand target and she catches the treat from my hand so the click is keeping her head up to catch the treat. This seems to be working and reckon I just need to build duration. If anyone has any other ideas or tips for this, do tell.

I lost my first customer to the credit crunch this week but I have 3 new really nice dogs to walk that live in a beautiful area and the walks are just fab, I’m completely full now Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with walking. Monday is a long day now with 6 hours of walking then 5 hours dog training. I have to say my legs are aching a bit today.
My diary is full for the next 2 weeks with walking and training, all my Training Classes are full at the moment and puppy classes are booked up till April. Let’s hope it stays like that!

Last night we spent around 15 minutes playing Gena clicker games with the advanced class, I think some of the members are not to sure about it , but it certainly helps you to become aware of the importance of timing of rewards and withholding rewards regardless of if you are using a clicker or not. I will see what my Thursday advanced class think of it!

Water Training starts again at the end of next month and I have just renewed my membership with the Lancashire Rescue Bears. Like I have nothing else to do!!! I’m not looking forward to getting in the water though after such a cold winter brrrrrrrr

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dog Training and Wolf TV

This weekend I did my CAP1 first training day and on Sunday I did a full clicker training day. Tonight I’m off to a heelwork to music class. I would highly recommend CAP to anyone into clicker training.
Looking forwards to a weekend off!!

Dinky’s training is coming along nicely must get some video footage. I’ve also been working with Snoopy and I am free shaping him to mime, it’s really funny he can currently open and close his mouth 6 times.
I’ve been busy with dog club and walking but not much training although next week is busy. College is quiet and just planning my training plans at the moment and still deciding on what moves to do.

I have also been very busy with Project ‘Hubble’, can’t say anymore about this at the moment as I don’t like to tempt fate but all will be revealed in due course!!

I watched 2 wolf programs this week, the first was on Animal Planet and was called ‘Living with Wolves’ this was really interesting as it was a couple living close with a pack and studying them. They introduced 3 youngsters to the pack and one female was really bullied and stayed at a distance it seemed she was going to be an omega, then when they all come into season the alpha male picked her and she became the alpha. It was also interesting to see how the brother of the male omega stuck by him all the time. It was a good demonstration that their behaviour was not as black and white as we think. I like this a lot and would recommend it.

The other was Mr and Mrs Wolf, I’m not sure about this guy at all I think its more entertainment than educational. I’m not a believer in trying to behave like an animal, I respect that any animal can see we are a different species. I don’t think he is part of their pack, I think they tolerate him because he brings food. They were also very aggressive, maybe down to drama editing but the wolves I have observed did not show aggression like that.

Monday, 2 February 2009

I have the best Job in the world

Most people who work outside would not be happy with today’s weather. My only problem was getting to some of the places where I walk dogs. I just stuck to the main roads and walked the rest of the way where it was bad so my vehicle didn’t get stuck.
First this morning was Poppy and Lily who are in boarding kennels at the moment. They luuurrrved it and Poppy made lots of snow angels.

Then it was Charlie and Ollie who again had a great time and even took some time out to pose for a super photo.

Then Minnie and Ollie. Ollie the Shitz Tzu was not happy about the snow balls attached to his coat and would probably have preferred to stay at home in front of the fire.

Then there was Rosie and then finally was Kim.
So I spent most of my day playing with dogs in the snow and throwing snow balls for them to catch AND I got paid for it!!!!

Well 4 hours of training to do now.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Assessment Day

I have really progressed well with Dinky at college, she is walking back 2 meters and targeting a mat with her back foot. I have begun to elevate the target to 2 mats on wood, so it’s about an 2 inches high.
She is also targeting a box with her front feet and now doing a rear movement quarter circle to the left and right on the box. She is just the best dog ever!
Wednesday was assessment day, me and Dinky were stooges for 2 assessments. Dinky decided to do ‘dead’ in one when practicing down. I have free shaped Dinky to play dead and its kind of her default behaviour so if she’s not sure she offers ‘dead’. Dinky was also very well behaved and good demo dog for my fellow students.

My assessment was on Thursday. I woke up at 3 am on Thursday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep for ages thinking about my assessment. Then when I eventually managed to get to sleep I just kept dreaming about my assessment going horribly wrong.
At least in the morning I was well prepared for every eventuality of it going wrong. I was so tired, I’d been training (in my head) for hours!!

For my assessment I taught ‘Leave’ ‘Stay’ ‘Touch’ and Loose Lead Walking all with Clicker Training. Thankfully all went well and I passed, one of my tutors commented that she can see I really know my stuff and the other asked when I was moving to Hull so she can come to my classes. How cool is that!!!
Then my tutor asked if they could use my lesson plans as examples for next year’s students. I’m such a swat, I’ll have no friends left at this rate!!
Me and Dinky stooged again for 1 more assessment.

Ah don’t you just love that great sense of relief when it’s all over and it went well.

In the afternoon a vet came who does alternative therapies and we watched her do acupuncture on one of the tutors old shepherd with bad hips. Wow!!
It was really interesting as she explained how the needles work and what they do from a science medical point of view and how they create energy flows. She also explained it works well used alongside modern medicine and the importance of tests etc to diagnose a condition so the acupuncture is appropriate for the specific condition. She said used incorrectly could make a problem worse. The needles increase blood flow in the area they are inserted so an inappropriate example would be if the discomfort was caused by as tumour, the last thing you want around a tumour is increased blood flow.
Watching the difference in the shepherd’s movement afterwards made me well up a bit it was quite significant.

Our tutor then gave us a little taster of the inappropriate canine behaviour module which we begin in March. I’m really looking forwards to this module and I’m hoping I already have most of the books for this already in my ever expanding dog stuff book collection.

Well back to work, training and finishing those last few assignments before our short break in February.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Christmas, Cold, Courses, Cabins and Clickers

Well Christmas is over and all is getting back to normal, not sure I like this cold weather, its freezing, The good thing is as everything is frozen the dogs stay clean but I think Id prefer to be warm with muddy dogs.
We had dog club parties they were great, the atmosphere at the dog party was fab. Then 2 weeks off for Christmas. I got new walking boots for Christmas which I was in desperate need of.

Just before Christmas I attended Lynda Edmondsons obedience classes in Wigan. As Lynda is regarded as one of the best trainers in the UK I though I would go get some help with training for college. Lynda is lovely and I learnt loads it was fab. I took Dinky and I have been to more sessions this month including a full clicker training day on Sunday which was awesome. I now have to teach Dinky to spin on the box and also to do a back foot target. Lynda has also helped me alot with my competitive heelwork. I have direction now and I’m feeling motivated and positive.

I’ve decided Im doing HTM with Dinky for my advanced dog training at college.
College for the last few months has been hard and many of us have had low marks on our assignments which seems to have demotivated everyone. I feel I have hit a turning point and Im finding writing assignments a bit easier, but hey lets see what the tutors think about them lol.
Im at College now on a block week, I brought both Dinky and Snoopy with me. Stewart is holding the fort at dog club for me. Its freezing and rained all day yesterday which has horrible. Didn’t do much training with the dogs yesterday so took them for a run on the westwood at Beverley racecourse. They were filthy and needed a hose when I got back. My cabin was bit cold yesterday but has now warmed up nicely. The dogs settled and slept all night, got up in time for breakfast but was nearly late due to talking dog stuff at breakfast with other students.

I had a practice run at my assessment today which was good, it’s the real thing on Thursday. Today I got Dinky to walk back 1 meter and target 2 mats on top of each other with her back feet. She also is turning 1 pace to the left and right on the box. I was pleased as she only did this for the first time on Sunday and progressed in a different environment today.
Back at the Cabin now the dogs are crashed out and Im off for pizza in a bit

I have plenty planned for the first half of the year, Snoopy is at Crufts in March, I’m also doing my CAP 1 and maybe 2 with Lynda, Im doing a clicker demo for the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club of Wales and College of course always keeps me busy. I have also been asked by the newfy club to do an obedience session, but need to check my diary.
Ive had no internet for nearly 2 weeks as its broke, so the only access I have is when I visit my mums, I felt like I had lost an arm, but now I actually like and have begun to realise how much of my life wastes away in front of the PC. It’s a pain when doing course work if you need to do a search for info, but other than that lifes not that bad without it.