Christmas presents for Toby the Read2Dog

Toby’s really enjoying his role as a Read2Dog for Pets As Therapy.  He visits a small, local, rural school and the children who read to him really do get a lot out of the sessions.  We had such a lovely visit today as he was presented with a package which contained a Christmas card that the children had made with a fabulous picture of Toby – they’d all written messages inside.  Plus there were also some Christmas presents… what a lucky dog!


Toby showing off his presents!


Pets As Therapy Read2Dogs Scheme

At the veteran age of 9 years old, Toby is enjoying a new phase in his Pets As Therapy role by becoming a Read2Dog at a local rural school.

Research has shown that children can become stressed or nervous when reading to an adult or in front of others.  Amazingly, when a PAT dog is present then the child is more comfortable and not so self-conscious.  Ultimately, both communication and reading skills can improve.

Toby visits the school once a week and is enjoying being read to – particularly as he snuggles up to the children on a bean bag and gets lots of strokes!IMG_0304_LR12

Crufts 2015

Crufts Gundog Day… early start to get there in time for KCAI lecture. Then demos and meeting friends old & new.  Finally, finished off the day with a bit of retail therapy.  Well done to Tina Smith and Hermione on receiving their Working Gundog Certificate.

Presentation of Working Gundog Certificates

Presentation of Working Gundog Certificates

Spaniel Gundog Training Day

On Sunday 1st March I was invited to take part in a Spaniel gundog training day with the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club.  The guest trainer was Martin Kilminster who is also a trainer with the Mid-Western Gundog Society.

I took one of my Cockers, Phoebe, who although a show strain is displaying an aptitude for gundog work.  It was an excellent day and Martin’s ‘quiet’ style of positive training went down well – especially with a group of raring to go Spaniels!

We were also introduced to using place boards which can help with building in steadiness in your dog’s training.  Place boards are an innovation from the US and Phoebe certainly picked up what to do very quickly.  Martin also demonstrated how they can be used to teach your dog to quarter – again Phoebe took to this straightaway.  Place boards are now at the top of my ‘wish list’!

A big thank you to the WSSC for inviting me – a really enjoyable day with great company and lovely to see lots of ‘Welshies’.

Achieved Kennel Club GCDS Gold Examiner

Yesterday, I travelled to Runcorn in Cheshire so I could get a good night’s sleep before being assessed today by the Kennel Club as a Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award Examiner.  It’s the ultimate test as an examiner for the Good Citizen Dog Scheme but I’m pleased to say that I passed.  I’m now an  ‘A1’ listed GCDS Examiner and can examine Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

Who won the Gold?

Who won the Gold?

GCDS Silver Award Success!

Well done to members of my GVDTC Thursday Obedience class who took their GCDS Silver award today.  The weather was very wet but I’m delighted to say that nine dogs passed!  Congratulations to Natasha Harrison & Rufus, Kathy Williams & Barney Rubble, Bill Harman & Maddie, Tina Smith with Judy & Hermione, Jenny Shore & Jumble, Gail Clark & Gem, Carol Lloyd & Sox and Heather Suff & Ben.  Special thanks to the examiner, Anne Weston.  Here’s a photo of the group.

20141009-KCGCDS Silver-group shot

KCGCDS Silver Award – October 2014

Training schedule updated

I’ve updated my training schedule to show the new classes, additional training and the GVDTC in-house instructor course I am running with Anne Weston.

GCDS Bronze Award Success!

Well done to members of my GVDTC Thursday Obedience class who took their GCDS Bronze award today. Everyone passed and it was lovely to see such a mixed group of Spaniels; a Clumber, Welsh Springer, Working Cocker and two English Springers! Congratulations to Sarah Cundy & Blossom, Tina Smith & Judy, Gail Clark & Gem, Kathy Williams & Barney Rubble and Natasha Harrison and Lulu. I’m very proud of you all. Special thanks to the examiner, Anne Weston and to club members for allowing us exclusive use of the club grounds for the award. Tim is working on the photos but for now here is one of the group.

KC GCDS Bronze Award – October 2014

Judging at Kingstone Fun Dog Show

Best in show and runner up20140831-KingstoneFunShow-214_LR8

I had a fabulous day on Sunday at Kingstone dog show. The dogs were well-behaved (the owners were too) and the sun shone. Thanks to Kate and Sue for asking me to Judge the show.  You can see photos taken by Tim Dale Photography here.     On the day, the show raised £345.00 for Longtown Mountain Rescue and I understand there will be a cash donation from Bulmer’s Cider of £200 to add to this – excellent!




Achieved Kennel Club GCDS Silver Examiner

On Friday I travelled to Hockley, near Southend, Essex as the following day I was assessed by the Kennel Club as a Good Citizen Dog Scheme Silver Award Examiner.  It was a long way to go but thankfully worth the effort as I’m really chuffed to say that I passed.  I’m now an  ‘A’ listed GCDS Silver Examiner.  Next I’ll be going for Gold!


26th August – training cancelled at Poston Mill

Unfortunately, it looks like the rain is set for the day and as there is no cover at Poston Mill and the ground is too slippery for agility I have reluctantly decided to cancel today’s class.  See you all at GVDTC on Thursday.

Passed assessment for APDT

I’ve been a little bit distracted the last couple of weeks as I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for the results of my assessment for membership of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).  After submitting written papers, being assessed at training a group of unknown dogs and handlers all at various levels of ability in an indoor location that I’d never been to, followed by an in-depth 45 minute oral exam, I’m delighted to say that I passed with 91% and have been invited to join the APDT.  Massive grins and something bubbly to celebrate this evening!

Scan_20140831 (3)3

Judging the local dog show

I’ve been asked to judge the Kingstone Fun Dog Show on 31st August.  It should be a great day out for you and your dog with a class to suit everyone.  You’ll also be helping raise funds for Longtown Mountain Rescue, a charity close to my heart as I do a lot of hill walking in all weathers!  Do come along and have some fun while supporting this worthwhile charity.

Fun Dog Show Poster 2014

Scent work training

For some time I’ve been training my dogs to carry out scent work searches around the house and garden. It’s a great way to allow them to use their natural sniffing instinct and also tires them out which is especially useful if the weather is wet and horrible. I’ve been wanting to take this to the next level so, on 27th July, Phoebe (one of my cocker spaniels) and I completed ‘Scent Work Level 1 Foundation’ with Pam McKinnon an ex-Customs & Excise drug detector dog handler who now runs Talking Dogs. It was a fun and interesting day and by the end of the course we carried out a ‘blind’ room search with Phoebe easily managing to lead me to the item on each occasion. Well done Pheebster! I’m now going to practice what I’ve learnt with both Phoebe and Toby (my other dog) and then I’ll move forward to Level 2.

Training schedule updated for Bronze/Silver awards

I’ve updated my training schedule to reflect the extra lessons we’ll be doing in the run-up to the next Bronze and Silver Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards in September. There will also be mock tests which I have provisionally arranged for 4th September.

GCDS Bronze Award Success!

Massive congratulations to all my GVDTC Thursday class who took their Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award today! Six dogs tested and all six passed – well done guys you did me proud! The examiner was really impressed with your standard; in fact, she said you were all, at least in some areas, above Bronze level. See you all on 10th July when we’ll start working towards the Silver.

Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award June 2014

Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award June 2014

Achieved Kennel Club GCDS Bronze examiner

Today I travelled to Frampton Cotterell near Bristol to be assessed by the Kennel Club as a Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award Examiner.  It was a long and tiring day but I’m pleased to say that I passed the written, oral and practical exams and I’m now an  ‘A’ listed  Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Award Examiner.  Next stop Silver!

GCDS Bronze examiner certificate

GCDS Bronze examiner certificate

Mock GCDS Bronze award

On Thursday, the majority of my regular GVDTC took their mock test in advance of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award due on 26th June.  Understandably, everyone was a little bit nervous but they soon settled in and we had some good results.  There’s a week left before the actual examination so this gives dogs and handlers time to work on any areas they need to.  Good luck to all!

Rally at Poston Mill

This week’s session at Poston Mill was an introduction to Rally.  After outlining the concept of Rally and explaining what is required for some of the signs.  We set up a novice course with Level 1 exercises for the group and, after some initial hesitation, everyone managed to manoeuvre their way around the course while having lots of fun.  All agreed that they’d like to see Rally included as one of the regular group activities.  You can find more information on Rally on the Kennel Club Rally web site.

Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Try Out, Take In and Teach weekend

I took part in the KCAI TOTIT weekend on Saturday 24th May.  It was an enjoyable and informative day with behaviour-related seminars and practical workshops covering agility, field trials, clicker training to name but a few.  I took part in the “Frustration… Leading to Aggression” seminar and the workshop ‘Meeting the needs of the Gundog in your Companion Dog class’.  Both sessions were really useful and I’ve got lots of ideas for incorporating the gundog exercises in my own classes.  My own two cockers are already enjoying the training!