Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New events! Rally-O competition and APDT Good Companion Awards

Some information on our forthcoming events below. I would also like to thank the fourteen very kind people who responded to our request for puppy socialisers with York RSPCA - you know who you are! 

We are exploring the options for more outdoor classes including groundwork and socialisation opportunities to be held on weekends and I will keep you updated!

Wednesday 29th June 2011: Fun Rally-Obedience Competition
Levels I and II classes
Food rewards allowed in some classes
On and off lead options
Entry on the day: £2 per class
Q&A and course walk through from 6pm


Please see for more details
Please register your interest by email to

Wednesday 6th July 2011: APDT Good Companion Award Test Night
Companion Puppy (6 months):                  6pm
Companion Dog (level I):                            7pm

£5 per dog (includes test, certificate and rosette if successful)

Please contact Morag to register ( and to receive the criteria

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

May 2011 Class Schedule

Wednesday 11th May
6pm Beyond the Basics - Getting Started (ideal class for those who have completed basic training)
7pm Beyond the Basics - Rally-Obedience (for fun and competition, working Level 1 and Level 2 exercises)
8pm Confidence Course II (for dogs who have been assessed and/or completed a set of classes with us previously, suitable for dogs who wish to learn competitive dog sports but still struggle with focus)

Thursday 12th May
6pm Perfect Puppies (for puppies up to 6 months of age) or Adolescent Angels depending on demand!
7pm Beyond the Basics - Heelwork to Music (for all levels)
8pm Confidence Course I (for dogs just starting to learn how to relax in exciting or stressful situations)

New events

Positive Training for Ringcraft Success Seminar (using rewards based training, TTouch and groundwork to improve your dog)

Competitive Obedience with a Rewards-Based Perspective Seminar (will be taught by an experienced teacher and handler)

Chase recall sessions: working with a small group of dogs and handlers to improve chase recall from prey

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Companion Awards Scheme: recently launched this Spring, these awards allow you and your dog to progress through the scheme based on achievements in class with your regular trainer. These will be incorporated into our regular classes but we will be holding an assessment day in June/July for those who are ready to take home proof of their progress!

As always if you have any questions about the course content or suitability of your dog please do contact me by phone, text or email.

Best wishes
Morag, Finn, Farah and Bronte: our newest family member from Lizzie's Barn Sanctuary, a very special deaf and partially sighted collie girl

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Aversive training methods and why they might work

This is a place holder - based on some experiences at Crufts 2011 and reading "remote collar training" websites (i.e. shock collars) I've been doing some thinking about why these methods can appear to help, and why sometimes they do. This does NOT mean I advocate their use!

I'll be back to write more shortly, but one of the key concepts that keeps popping up for me is that we have selectively bred animals that are pretty darn forgiving of us no matter what we do to them. Its really not that surprising that dogs continue to seek out affection despite abuse, or obey handlers who use aversive methods - while we might think it demonstrates blind loyalty, or the ability to forgive, these are characteristics we have selected for. The dog that responded to violence with teeth will rarely have been bred in many cases we get away with our behaviour because we have set the situation up in this way.

That doesn't mean its the morally right thing to do, and just because it 'works' doesn't always make it okay either. Sometimes I wish the dogs I see would respond more obviously when they dislike something, so the owners can't tell me "oh he doesn't really mind when I smack him over the nose"....