My first dog Kern is a first cross Flatcoated Retriever - Red Setter. Upon realising that Kern was going to be a large dog I started to attend a puppy class at Knowle Dog Club, receiving 1st place in the basic training class.
I then carried on with the club, climbing up the different classes and received the Whitworth trophy in 1997 for the dog that had progressed the most for the year.
I then felt that I just wanted to "know more and more" so I started attending courses run by the Learning About Dogs organisation run in association with the Oxford College Networks.
I have taken:
Canine Mind & Learning - Level 1 1998 Canine Mind & Learning - Level 2 1999
Canine Training - Level 1 1998 Canine Training - Level 2 1999
Canine History - Level 1 1999
Canine Welfare - Level 1 1999
I was introduced to clicker training in 1998. I base all my training techniques on positive-based methods, using operant conditioning techniques, my training bibles being "Don't shoot the dog "by Karen Pryor and "The Culture Clash" & "Dogs are from Neptune" by Jean Dolaldson.
Bryn my Liver FCR arrived in 1998. I then set out to socialise and familiarise Bryn with anything and everything, cars, trains, shops, people, dogs, we even went and sat outside the supermarket to get him used to trolleys and crowds, he is always to be seen at the children's school, and is quite used to being hugged and kissed by hundreds of children.
In October 1998 I started helping to teach at a dog training class in Worcester called K9 Companions, run by Claire Raymond (a member of the APDT). We use the clicker in all three of the classes and I would take the occasional class when needed.
I have also had a go (with Kern) at Heel work to Music in 1998 with a demonstration team for the LADS organisation, it was great fun. Unfortunately we lost Kern in December 2006. Sleep well Kern.
In October 1999 I attended a four day seminar given by John Rogerson on dog behaviour, fascinating stuff !!!
Association of Rehabilitation Trainers
In February 2000 I attended the first in a suite of workshops run by one of the top Behaviourist Kym Lawrence and Canine Rehabilitation Specialist Angela Stockdale. This was called Practical aspects of rehabilitation, and attended the second workshop in March 2000 in which we covered line training and aggression problems. The third workshop covered case studies and the rehabilitation process.
Two case studies then had to be submitted with written and video evidence providing an analysis of the type of aggression the dog was suffering from and how we were able to help the dogs and owners lead a more 'normal ' life.
I then joined the Rehabilitation service which is a network of trained trainers that offer rehabilitation service which dogs can be referred by pet behaviour counsellors for continuing improvement.
There was also the Pet Behaviour 2000 seminar in April entitled Rehabilitation of aggressive animals (run by the APBC) which I attended.
From September 2000 I began offering Puppy, Intermediate and Advanced classes. All of my courses are run with the aid of a clickers (even / especially the puppy class). I also started taking on one-to-one training and a referral service from April 2000.
Institute of Pet Behaviour Consultants
I have been doing a correspondence course with the Institute of Pet Behaviour Consultants, which covered all aspects of dog behaviour, and have passed in 2001 to become a full member.
British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers
In July 2001 I was accepted as an associate member of the BIPDT. The Institute has been formed to be able to provide a register of bona fide persons suitably qualified as trainers to establish the highest code of conduct for all persons connected with the use of dogs in the service of mankind. By means of training courses and examinations for instructors, trainers and handlers, to raise the standard of training, management and welfare.
Later on in the year I went on a course on rehabilitation exercises and one on rehabilitation support groups at the NCDL at Evesham.
I am also a member of S.C.A.S (Society for Companion Animal Studies)
The aims of the society are:
- To advance the understanding of relationships between people and companion animals.
- To disseminate information about human/companion animal relationships.
- To promote the quality of life of people and pets by encouraging responsible attitudes.
In July 2001 Wagging Tails received LISTED STATUS from the Kennel club, and are now entitled to run The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme. This consists of Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
It is up to each individual dog owner to enter the tests only when they wish to (if at all ) and only when they feel ready to do so I firmly believe that training a dog should be done in a positive, patient way, learn the things the dog loves to do and adapt these into your training methods.
Our third Flatcoated Retriever arrived, this time a little girl, Mia.
She now holds a Kennel Club Good Citizens Bronze, Silver & Gold award, and comes every week to puppy classes to help socialise and train the young dogs.
Bryn my Liver Flatcoated Retriever passed his assessment course and became a P.A.T. (Pets As Therapy) dog. This is a service that has been set up to take dogs or cats on regular visits to Hospitals, Hospices, Residential homes, Special needs schools etc. I am very proud of him in his yellow jacket and he loves all the attention.
Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)
I am now a fully qualified member of the APDT.
The APDT was set up in 1995 in order to offer pet owners a guarantee of quality when looking for a training class or a puppy class in their area. All members of the APDT have been assessed and examined by a qualified examiner.
Veterinary personnel can rest assured that all APDT members are happy to work closely with the referring practice.
Pets As Therapy Official Assessor
In November 2003 I became an official assessor for the Pets as Therapy organisation. This involves meeting owners and their dogs in an appropriate setting, assessing the dogs through a series of tests to help the PAT organisation have volunteers with good steady, happy dogs.
Kennel Club Accredited Instructor
In January 2006 after eighteen months hard work I passed my final assessment and review and became an Accredited Instructor for the Kennel Club.
The scheme aims to unite all who work with teaching and behaviour, and in so doing, to develop the best service possible for the dog owning public and training enthusiasts. It is designed to promote education; it's not a course but it does set a syllabus. The scheme offers a personal 'Accreditation' by written, oral and practical assessment, provided all the criteria, set by the scheme, are satisfied.
This has so far, been my crowning achievement, and is a highly sought after position within the dog training world.
In March 2007 Harri joined the household. Harri is a one year old rescue Welsh Springer. With no lead walking, no recall, being petrified of men, but a beautiful happy dog who is going to make me work. 2010 Harri is working so well he is ready for his forever home with a good friend on mine Sandra.
February 2008 bought our latest addition Fergus. A beautiful Liver Flatcoated Retriever. I have decided to try something different with Fergus, and we are working our way through the gun dog training system.
In October we took our Grade one, not only passing but receiving a merit as well.
2010 in August a new addition was added to our pack Merlin, a black Flatcoated Retriever from the R.S.P.C.A. we think he is about 1 and has been kept in a cage all his life. he has bad scaring on his nose due to trying to escape under a wire fence and has no training, no socialization, never lived in a house, but a beautiful boy, a typical Flatcoat. This will be my biggest challenge to date, but I can see a beautiful boy trying hard to please.
2011 I have been working hard to achieve the next level with the Kennel Club and in December I was awarded my Advanced Level in Companion Dog Training.
2012 Our latest addition to the Smith Pack Breeze a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. With Breeze I have decided to have a go at showing. We have done so well we qualified for Crufts 2013.
2013 I successfully completed a course in Canine Theriogenology with the University of Minnesota. This course was to give the attendee and understanding of basic anatomy and reproductive physiology necessary to understand reproduction control, and the diagnosis and management of reproductive tract disease in male and female dogs
My achievements to date with my own dogs:
- Kern “ Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze, Silver & Gold award R.I.P. 2007
- Bryn - Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze & Silver award. PAT Dog R.I.P. 2008
- Mia - Kennel Club Good Citizen GOLD award. R.I.P. 2012
- Harri?“ Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze award. Now in his new home
- Fergus- Grade One (merit) The Gun Dog Club. Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze, Silver & Gold awards
- Merlin - A rescue FCR from the RSPCA we think around 1 Merlin comes with no training no contact with other dogs, no house training, but a beautiful boy, so lots of hard but rewarding work ahead.
- Breeze- Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze, Silver & Gold. Breeze is now a PAT Dog