I have been training dogs for other people and for sale since 1979. But my interest in dogs and Training stretches right back to my early childhood. When I was ten I had pestered my parents so much they finally agreed to get me a dog. Apparently its all I had ever been interested in from toddler stage. My father took our Golden Retriever training to some classes run by Police dog handlers. Of a weekend they had some additional classes which were for working trials and I found them fascinating learning about tracking searching and agility..So from an early age realised owning a dog could be much more than just a walk in the park.. As I grew older i developed an interest in shooting and with the help of good book retrained him as a Gun dog. I managed to get my parents to buy me another dog a Lurcher and successfully trained this one to. This dog brought me into contact with some rather different characters and I learned about the working of Terriers and Lurchers, they were completely different to my Retriever. Soon though i was to have a nasty character building surprise… The Lurcher was stolen and in those days before microchip if a dog was stolen that was that. There was no Lassie come home moment. I was heartbroken but by coming to terms with it was able to now bring myself to sell on trained dogs. this is what enabled me to accelerate my acquiring of dog training skills with each new dog I was getting more and more competent. Also as word spread via clients who’d brought a dog from me their friends invariably had one that needed fixing. So it went on and I moved to Yorkshire Gamekeeping and met two Retired Head Keepers who had come up from kennel boys.. They both now supplemented there pensions by Training dogs for other people. What they didn’t know about dogs wasn’t worth knowing. Way before natural feeding became latest trend I learnt from these guys how to turn a dead sheep or cow with the aid of a few secret ingredients and a boiling copper into a dogs dinner. They had a variety of different ways to train dogs surprisingly some of them have now been rediscovered by behaviourists given a label they’ve then jazzed them up and made over complicated. There is as they say nothing new under the sun. Don’t be fooled into thinking all the old trainers were brutes. I have always tried to learn from people that know what they’re doing and still watch anything new I can. There are always new things to learn, to try, or adapt. Its often surprising that they are in fact just a reinvention of something I read in one of my old training books reissued 1920!!
I then returned to the Southeast and worked at the Metropolitan Police Dog Training establishment for ten years. For the last five years of that I was responsible for the day to day running of the breeding program, rearing up to 18 litters of puppies a year. This was an excellent opportunity to test my training abilities on a variety of dogs of different ages and temperaments.
Since leaving the Police in 1992 I set up my own dog training school, and have been offering a variety of training programs. These include; domestic training for dogs of all ages and breeds including behavioral problems, and also specialist courses in gundogs and guard dogs. The bulk of my work now tends to be pet dogs, particularly the ones that have been left high and dry by the more airy fairy dog training systems that have gained popularity over recent years. I am not worried about training using the techniques that are needed with a dog either sensitive or bolder. Some behaviourists will not accept that some dogs quite like being aggressive or that some so called behavioural problems are just normal for an untrained or poorly trained dog. Also that motivational training can struggle to alter certain behaviours as they are self rewarding above the scale of anything they have to offer in their repertoire.
For these dogs it is no use training in a behaviour, i.e. sit heel down come or anything else unless the dog understands obedience and that you were telling the dog rather than asking it or bargaining with them. Then some dogs and puppies can respond very well to reward based training , providing you can recognise when it is starting to be challenged by some and adapt where needed. When you go to a trainer , I would recommend seeing them with at least another dog otherwise you might be talking to someone that has watched a few dog whisperer episodes, been on a postal training course or paid for a training franchise , but actually does not know any more than you !