Comment from Teresa!

July 8, 2010

Hi Avril,

I just had to let you know how much I have been enjoying the progress of Betty, she is adorable, the daily updates you are giving are brilliant, if I did at sometime in the future be fortunate enough to have a puppy I would feel much more prepared and able to cope from some of the knowledge you have given.

These daily blog’s have made compelling reading and I am alway’s looking in my inbox for the next one to come in, it’s almost like reading a very good book and not being able to put it down so thank you Avril.

I have tried to submit a comment but I keep getting a response which says YOU DID NOT SUCCEED PLEASE TRY AGAIN WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS despite using my email address which is valid, I have to say I am not very good when it comes to IT so it could me doing something silly.

Thanks once again for all the Blog’s keep them coming Avril and well done With best regards Teresa

Thank you for your kind comments Teresa, it is great to get feedback, it encourages me:) I am not sure why you can’t post, but you are not the first one to say this, anyone else having problems? I will get on to WordPress and see if I can find out why and get back to you! I do know that commenting direct from the mail isn’t working, can you try logging on the site and trying again Teresa?


For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!

Pepe having a drink!

The recall training session this saturday was great fun, the thing that struck me most was how good the handlers were at concentrating on their own dogs! Not easy when they were all off lead, but the dogs responded to the handlers concentration and stayed focused!

We had 2 Jack Russell Pups and 2 GSD pups, all of which were great fun, the owners have done a great job of playing hide and seek with their puppies before the training session, which proved the value of this exercise once again, as the puppies were much more interested in their handlers than the other dogs and handlers!

Pepe and Janice were in attendance and Janice very kindly forwarded me this photo of Pepe which I am glad to share with you. Pepe is a huge handsome GSD, Janice has put in some great work with him and it looks to be paying off! I know Sue Horn has been a great support Janice, so well done to both of you! I look forward to working with you again soon!

an excerpt from my upcoming book “following the lead”


My family background

Both of my parents were townies! Animals did not play any part in their childhoods, not an auspicious start for a dog trainer, or was it?

My Dad was born within the sound of Bow Bells in a poor part of the East End. His Mother my Nan was in service before she married my Grandfather who was a dock worker, as were his forefathers, when there was work available. I didn’t ever meet my paternal Grandfather, he deserted his family before my Dads fifth birthday, by which time my Nan had given birth to 3 other children, though as was common back then, only 3 survived at that point in time.

My Dad told me how Nan would wake them in the night, to flee their lodgings to avoid paying the rent that was due, illustrating the level of poverty they were living under. My Dad always thought that Mum was up market from him!

My Mum, by comparison had a more affluent start in life, it was certainly more stable being supported by 2 parents and a large extended family in the city of Lincoln. Mum was one of 8 children, with 5 surviving to adulthood. Her Dad, my Granddad worked in a local factory and was a band leader for the Salvation Army in his spare time. I do remember that my maternal grandparents did not like animals. For Mum and Dad it was an era of little leisure time and even less disposable income, little wonder that neither of them had ever lived with a pet dog.


In the decade I was born, human life was not respected or treated as carefully as it is now, and dogs even less so.

For the most part, only the more privileged classes owned pedigree dogs, including the hunting and shooting types. Sterilisation of dogs was not the norm and in this age of latch key children and dogs, crossbreds bred freely and were cheap to come by, if not free, as the puppies were unplanned and unwanted.

Compared to today dog training was still in the dark ages, a time when a “good hiding” was the most commonly known method of training a dog, to “show them whose the boss”. When reward based training was practically unheard of, but considering reward was not a familiar concept for teaching children it is hardly surprising that dogs fared no better.

I feel fortunate that I grew up in a household that did not believe in beating children or dogs, at least two mistakes my parents did not make though they were so very ignorant about dogs, as was I!