Our ethos and commitment

Group Classes in 'Open Spaces'.

All of our group classes are designed to promote owner responsibility and the importance of keeping dogs under control so that they are not a nuisance to either other dogs or people.

To achieve this we use kind and fair training methods that reward the dog for making good choices, while preventing the dogs from making mistakes by means of management. 

Managing our dogs means that we keep the dog on a lead or training line for all exercises, and our classes offer opportunities for discussion and quizzes so that owners are encouraged to learn about different aspects of dog ownership, beyond  the basics of how to make them sit and stay, such as dog cognition and ethology, the law relating to dogs and owner responsibility, how different breed types evolved and the different breed characteristics which can influence how different dogs interact with both their dogs and people.

Nuisance behaviour in public places

Everyone has equal right to enjoy open spaces and we must acknowledge that some people are fearful of dogs, some people have allergies, and no one really wants to have a strange wet muddy dog jumping at them. Other dogs might be recuperating from illness or injury, or may have had bad experiences, and of course we may come across wildlife and livestock on our walks which could come to harm if our dogs were to give chase.

Dogs are naturally curious and can be easily excited by the presence of other dogs and people, especially if there is a lot of action and movement going on, and  some will find chasing to be intrinsically rewarding, and often much more rewarding than anything that their owners have to offer.

People like to see their dogs enjoying themselves off lead, and they like to think that their dogs have a good ‘social life’, and sometimes do not appreciate how others passing the same way might not appreciate their dogs ‘joining in’ with their walks. 

Some owners have a much inflated opinion of their dog’s reliability off lead, while some have a misguided belief that their dogs have a right to be free to run regardless of their responsiveness to recall.

Dogs cannot understand for themselves why others might not appreciate their friendly advances and must be taught to ignore anyone or anything unless given express permission to ‘play’, and even if given permission, they must also be ready and quick to come away again if recalled.

How we address this in our lesson plans

‘Force-free’ dog training is often also referred to as r+ and positive reinforcement training. It’s a proactive method of training whereby we teach our dogs to carry out behaviours we want from them while we have little or no distractions around us, and ensure that should distractions occur, that our dogs are unable to respond to them by means of keeping them on lead or long line. We then gradually proof our training by gradually increasing the amount of distraction around us and the distance between us and our dogs (while still maintaining physical control with a long line) until such a time that our dogs responsiveness to our cue / command is consistently reliable.

At the same time, we use our experiences while working together to look at how our dogs are communicating back to us and teach owners to look at how each others dogs, dogs of different breed types and personalities to their own, are communicating, so that in real life they can better judge when it might be OK to let their dogs play, and when it might not.

This method of teaching dogs is highly effective as the dogs learn that good behaviour makes good things happen, without the fallout that the more common place approach of allowing the dog free range to make innocent mistakes and then be punished for them. 


The poo problem

On community group pages across the country one of the most common complaints is dog mess left either on pavements and in open spaces or in bags dumped for ‘the poo fairy’ to magically collect.

It can cause a great deal of tension and even lead to false accusation and confrontation between neighbours. It’s unpleasant all round, and its pretty demotivating for good owners to be accused and even verbally abused for the shortcomings of others.

In our classes you will be expected to bring with you some form of messenger or cross body bag so that you can quickly and easily pick up after your dog and place it in the bag so that it does not get accidentally discarded or forgotten about and left for others to suffer.