Radio, snow and dates!

January 23, 2013


With Steve Scruton leaving BBC Essex I did wonder if I would still get an invite as I would guess the show must be having a complete freshen up, new brooms and all! I did wonder if the sound advice would survive but I am pleased to report it has, though it will be different. Mark Punter the new presented came here this morning to record some top tips, it was really strange to be doing that at home, maybe it was because we were in the living room in front of the fire and not in the work room! (see below for times)

I have had Bonnie staying this week, Jo has been in India, soaking up some sun, though she did say on Facebook that she looked like a red lolly pop as the humidity was so high! We haven’t suffered with that problem  this week!

Thanks to Janice for  the photo of Riley enjoying the snow, he is so like Bonnie, she has looked just like that most of the week, not wanting to come in from playing with her Mum in the snow!

Here are some training dates, as normal all groups have a maximum of 5 dogs and handlers!

Recall training:

Taking place here at Bury Farm

  • Wednesday 30th January recall (beginner to intermediate dogs and handlers)
  • Saturday 9th Feb recall (advanced training for the more experienced amongst you, you do know who you are, if in doubt do ask me please?)

Group walk training:

One of these will be in Hylands Park the other to be confirmed according to demand, either Dunmow, Bishop Stortford’s Thorley Park or the Discovery centre on the A130 near Braintree.

  • Wednesday 13th February walk
  • Saturday 23rd February walk

BBC Essex Radio

You can hear me on Friday 1st February

A new format on BBC Essex Radio, with Steve Scruton off travelling the world and Mark Punter in charge, you can hear a dog training tip from me daily next week, culminating with me live in the studio, answering dog questions from listeners, on Friday between 2.15pm and 3pm, if you miss the show you can always catch up on the iplayer for the following 7 days!


Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013



photo photo(1)

Betsy, Bonnie and Jess! Oz came too but managed to not get in a photo!

I wish you all a very Happy, healthy and prosperous new year and may all your dreams come true!

I have enjoyed my time off playing more with my horse who always manages to remind me about my dog training! It is so good for me to have him as my hobby and in some ways he is more of a pet than my dogs! I often hear myself thinking or saying Red wants to go out, Red wants more hay, Red wants to pull his carriage today etc. In fact I sound remarkably like my clients, who fortunately often know exactly what their dogs want too! All of which is fine as long as we get what we want as well!

I am lucky that with my horse I am aware that if Red kicks the stable door to get my attention or to speed me up in getting his food, that if I respond to his demands his behaviour would get worse, and even in time he could break out of his stable door. I remember Betty doing something similar as a puppy when she very cleverly started carrying her food bowl round near feed time, I was very impressed and fed her, before long her bowl was whizzing past my head across the kitchen, it was then I realised that I must not be so impressed!! It took a some self-control to not respond to her demands, I so wanted to laugh as the bowl landed on the worktop beside me!

Remember this year it is great to know what they want, but be sure you only respond to the behaviour you want to encourage! Happy new year!



Puppies at five weeks!

October 5, 2012

Puppies at five weeks!

Are they even more gorgeous? They are 6 weeks old today, and every day sees them going further afield, yesterday was their first time going to the toilet outside. It takes a few outings for a litter to feel safe enough to toilet away from the nest, clever Mother Nature protects the young by inhibiting toileting on new ground before the ground is familiar to them. This is the reason, when dog owners first take puppies home, they won’t go to the toilet on walks to begin with, this behaviour is designed to keep the young safe from predators. But it is just the reason I want to get the puppies outside as soon as possible to get them used to going outdoors and speed up their house training.

Next Monday  I will start their training, sits downs and little recalls, regular grooming and a  car ride, the more normal this stuff becomes the easier they will be in their new homes! Not all sold yet!

Thank you to Jo at Jobo design for the great photo’s!

Thinking of a new puppy?

March 26, 2012

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A few questions from a client thinking of buying a new puppy reminded me that I haven’t written a blog on this vital time in you and your dog’s life! I am not even going to start talking about breeds on this occasion, I will assume you have chosen your breed and are looking for a good breeder.

Number one for me is a breeder that rears the litter indoors, this gives the puppy so much more exposure to normal life, giving the puppy’s a head start on the dogs raised outdoors. Having said that outdoor litters can be given this same exposure if the breeder is aware of the need, which many are, watch out for those that do not understand the mental and emotional needs of a litter and give them a wide berth.

Bitches can be softer but also busier, dogs more laid back and a little less sensitive! It is often a little easier if you have two of the opposite sex, generally they are more likely to get along okay.

When a breeder starts asking you questions be ready with your own!

Annie, my friend that bred both Pie and Betty, has one puppy left in her last litter, related to my two and well reared indoors!

A well cared for puppy from a great breeder!

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I just noticed that one of my classes were a bit stuck on improving their dogs stays, if the whole class are stuck it has to be something I am doing! Luckily I thought to ask them, if when practising at home if they had their leads on their dogs, the answer was “no”! This means that as dogs learn the whole environment when training that it was like we were asking them to do two different exercises! We did the stays off lead and the improvement was amazing :). As a result I have managed to ask all the groups and it seems the off lead version is popular at home, the main reason is the dogs get too excited when they see the lead to concentrate, so my handlers are all avoiding this issue by training off lead! How much more useful it is to have a dog that doesn’t get silly at the sight of the lead, I deliberately work hard at making my dogs not have an excited response to the lead, it makes for more peaceful walks also!

Some great dog photo’s

February 22, 2012

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Thank you to everyone that has been inspired to take photo’s and send them to me! I love to get your photo’s, I think I have a few more in my inbox to come next time! Do keep them coming, I am looking to up date photo’s on the web site and in my new brochure!

As I write this the sun is shining and I feel a touch of spring in the air, very different to when the snow was here just the other week! Great dog walking/training weather, no excuses this week for those of you at classes!

We have a dog problem in a nearby village that has come to light this week, there are 2 dogs in their garden, as yet young dogs, that are getting very upset at horses going passed. They may be the same with other animals, but it is the horses I have witnessed. My fear is that they will come over the top of the fence, one of them is hanging over the top of the fence and barking, the other is running up and down and banging against the fence. As young dogs I can see they are getting braver and more wound up. Sadly the owners are feeling very defensive of their babies, I do understand, they feel it is the dogs garden and they are just doing their job. As a dog trainer, I, of course, see it as a garden that belongs to the owners that the dogs use, and anything passing on the road is on the road, not in their garden, therefore not their business. My guess is on a good day, the owners would not want their dogs behaving as they are, but they probably don’t know the dogs behaviour could be changed, and presently are defending their babies. I guess we have all been in that situation at some point, if not with a pet then maybe a child?

To be honest I have even taken a defensive position on something I have done, even though I eventually admitted my mistake! Let’s hope they see things differently before there is a bad accident!

A dog story!

January 4, 2012

J cosy at home with the vacuum cleaner!

I wanted to share with you one of the responses I have had from the last blog, it is the real stories of dog owners out there that need to be heard! I am sure the people with the dogs rushing up to ours don’t really want to upset our dogs, they just don’t know the impact they are having! Please send in your story?

“I wanted to agree with what you’ve said. You may remember J – chocolate lab with epilepsy, very nervously aggressive around other dogs after being attacked a couple of times by off the lead dogs when he was a puppy just after he started having fits. Sadly and the aggression / anxiety around other dogs just got worse with age. Training didn’t help, and eventually I took the decision to let him have a happy life away from other dogs. He is off the lead only in large, deserted fields. On the lead problems only arise if an off-the-lead dog comes up to us. I see a dog off the lead I call to the owner to get them to call their dog back before trouble starts, then walk in the opposite direction. This, amazingly, doesn’t always work, and about half the time I get a “oh, he just wants to play” response and the owner virtually encourages their dog to come to mine!

I have since found lots of other dog owners in the same position as me: we are often made to feel guilty about not letting our dogs off the lead around other dogs, or not having other “doggy friends”. It really is a bit much! When I walk J, I end up having to shout at other people’s dogs to get them away from him. Walking dogs off the lead with a “he / she won’t hurt your dog, they just want to play!” comment is totally irresponsible. Your off-the-lead dog may well want to play, but mine doesn’t! My dog is terrified of anything on four legs and is a nervous wreck if anything gets within 10 feet of him. I had some classes from you about this, where you advised me to shout at the approaching off-the-lead dog and walk the other way. This almost always works, but I end up with plenty of abuse from the other dog’s owner. My dog is only ever aggressive when other dogs approach him, and I want to protect him and these other dogs from each other. If dogs stayed on the lead around other dogs, it would be so much easier and dog on dog attacks would be much rarer.

Unless owners have absolute control over their own dog off the lead (and in my own experience, that is rare as hen’s teeth!), dogs should be on the lead around other dogs. It is, frankly, arrogant to make the assumption that your dog won’t attack mine, or be attacked by mine: they don’t know each other and you don’t know my dog. Thank you for making this a New Year’s Resolution, and I hope everybody follows the advice.”

Happy new year! To ensure your dog training gets off to a great start come to the training day in January!

 My new years resolution

Lucky and happy christmas! (I think)

My dog training wish for the new year is for us all to educate the dog walkers out there, to realise it is not okay, for their completely strange unknown dog to run up to ours and hope they get on!

This means I want all of you to explain to every dog owner you meet, that a new dog is a new pack and dogs take 14 days to establish pecking order, if they are never going to meet again, why would anyone even consider risking a dog getting bitten.

As soon as I hear the word hope in a sentence connected to dog behaviour I get worried, “hope” translated, means “I don’t know, but I hope it will be okay”. Good training is about learning to read dog body language and responding accordingly, the dogs tell us without risk, if we take time and space to let them, making for knowledge rather than hope!

In the latter months of 2011 I heard of more and more dog on dog attacks, in Highlands Park and from clients in Villages around me, these can be made rare occurrences by educating the dog owners out  there! If we all resolve to take action this year we can change this human behaviour!! Please help me?

Feel free to copy any part of this blog and forward to other dog lovers!

Thank you!

Thank you to the many who have subscribed to my blog  and more thanks to those that have taken time to add their comments! I have put the blog stats up so that you can see who you are! if you hit the subscribe button on the site it does help me to get my word out there even more, as the number of subscriptions and hits does mean higher ranking. So please do so if you haven’t already?

My best wishes for a happy, prosperous and peaceful new year!

 Dates for 2012

Training day 

A full day devoted to training your dog, whether you are keen to improve your dogs general obedience or are interested in trying some obedience tests this promises to be a fun day out with other dog lovers!

Monday Times: 10am – 4pm

Fee: £75 includes tea/coffee

Venue: Barbary Cottage

Date: January 16th

Avril on BBC Essex

Steve Scruton sound advice phone in on dog training and behaviour

January 20th 2pm – 4pm


Recall Training sessions

These 2 and a half hour sessions focus on lead walking and recall. Foundation training takes place in the safety of the fenced garden at Barbary Cottage, once the building blocks are in place we take the training to the outside world, the paddocks and fields surrounding Barbary! There are a maximum of 5 dogs and handlers in a group.

Fee: includes Tea/coffee £50

Times: 10am – 12.30pm

Wednesday January 25th

Saturday February 4th

Dog behaviour/psychology course(Theory course without dogs)

For those that want to know more about how the dogs mind works and what they are thinking!

Date: Saturday March 24th

Times: 10am to 4pm

Fee: £75

Tricks  Workshop

Date coming soon!

Fun Agility x 3

For anyone wanting to enjoy some fun agility with your dog!

April – Dates and time to be confirmed

Fee: £75 (for 3 sessions)

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Many thanks to Nicola for these photo’s of the Thursday morning class, I am sure you will all agree that Nicola should be doing more photography!! Please?

Please send me a friend request for face book if you haven’t already? There are some great dog video’s for you to see!


Great dog photo’s!

November 28, 2011

You may or may not agree with dressing up dogs, but you have to admit these are very funny? Personally I believe that dogs love to make us smile and always enjoy attention!

thank you Nicola for sending me the photo’s and to Michelle for the ones of Roxy, our own superstar!

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Our own Roxy ready for Christmas!

Roxy and Michelle!