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Dog Training & Behavioural Advice
TRAINING CLASSES :
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DOG WALKING - AVAILABLE IN CAMBRIDGE AREA - CONTACT CATH
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Hi, I hope that you all had a good Christmas and are enjoying the new year. If you want to see more regular "Wuff" updates please check out my Facebook Page Wuff Dog Training Cambridge.
Please note that the new puppy class will be starting on February 28th at 5 30 pm.
Christina Oxtoby - Heelwork-to-Music / Canine Freestyle training
Christina is a friend of mine and I highly recommend her training classes.
Where A Hall in Arbury, Cambridge
When - Monday 30th March (2 separate sessions 2:30-5:30pm and 6:00-9:00pm)
Cost for a handler place - £25 for 3 hours - numbers strictly limited
Please take time to read the below link. This is a VERY sad story about some puppies that found themselves in the wrong hands. They were then sold to new owners who trusted the paper work that they came with. Please share and donate if you can. I have personally met both familes and know that these pups deserve to go back to their loving homes. Thanks for any support that you can offer. Cath
As usual it is far too long since I wrote my Wuff Blog. I must apologise for this. Lots has been happening in my world of dog training. I think if I look back over the last 6 months two very special dogs spring to mind.
The first I am sorry has to be my Lizzie, who I rescued from Desperate Greekies a year and a half ago. I will not bore you again with her entire history but basically when I rehomed her she was effectively a wild dog. She was too scared to even walk after spending nearly 6 months running wild in the UK. She now is actually the best behaved dog out of the 3 of mine and many of my friends now comment how she is just like a "normal dog". I am not saying that she is the best trained dog (this is my Little Red most definitely) but she is never a second's trouble and such a joy to live with. She has grown in confidence so much over the last 6 months. With Lizzie it has just been time and trust and I have protected her a lot along the way from scary encounters. Over time I have exposed her to more and more situations and gradually she can cope in more challenging places.
Here she is relaxing with Little Red on the sofa at home.
The second is a Lurcher X that I have been working with for over a year now. I feel I must mention this wonderful Lurcher X in my Blog as no family could have worked harder to help a rescue dog over come its problems. When the pup was adopted she was VERY reactive to other dogs on lead. Her owners took her to dog training classes when they first adopted her but due to her on lead reactivity a class situation was just not suitable for her. They did my Intensive Training course where we introduced her to my 3 dogs off lead and she soon became their friend. Her owners did everything possible to help her socialise off lead with other dogs (and owners) that were happy to meet her. She rapidly became a very well mannered dog off lead. We did a lot of basic training with her too as she had none initially. Anyway to cut a very long story short after a lot of behavioural work this dog now is rarely reactive at all on lead and is joining my next set of group training classes. She has had a practice session to see if she can cope in a room with 5 other unknown dogs and she passed with flying colours. In fact she was so relaxed that she was able to do every command that was asked of her. I am absolutely delighted with this girl and her owners who have been so dedicated to her training. They now have a dog that is a joy to walk both on and off lead.
Poochie Parlour Dog Show
Once again Poochie Parlour will be holding a Fun Companion Dog Show. It will be on Sunday 28th July in Caldecote. This is a link to the details.
I know that I mention these every year but they really do cause a LOT of problems to dogs. Please check your dogs thoroughly after every walk to check that they don't have any in them. Particular areas to check are ears, between their paws and arm pits. Grass seeds have barbs on them and once they are attached to the dog's hair they only travel one way. They can become embedded in their skin and actually travel into different organs inside the body. They are nasty things!!
DoggonesafeThis is a great resource dedicated to dog bite prevention through education and dog bite victim support. Please take a moment to have a look at it. It really is excellent. They also have a website.
Something for the kids
It is so important to know how to behave around dogs.
Happy Easter to all of you - human and canine. Make sure your dogs don't eat any Easter Eggs!!
Puppy classes will start again on Saturday 6th April.
I have a few spaces left for my puppy training class so please do get in touch if you want one saving. I am also starting another follow on class from puppy class or from beginner on April 28th at 2 30 pm. This class is outside and inside a marquee in Fulbourn on Sunday afternoons.
This is a photograph of my labrador wearing an " I need space" bandana. He doesn't take kindly to other dogs charging up to him and trying to mount him!
www.theyellowdogproject.com The yellow Dog Project is an excellent initiative to try to make other dog owners aware that some dogs actually need space from other dogs/ people and that it is our responsibility as dog owners to only allow our dogs to approach other dogs if all parties are happy with this.
I hope that you all (human and canine) had a good Christmas. We certainly did. My only complaint is the awful muddy dog walks. This in itself isn't so bad but I do object to washing 12 paws after every walk.
Do you give your dogs Christmas presents? I always do. Even Lizzie now knows the routine of opening presents, scattering paper everywhere and then seeing how many toys you can stash away for yourself. The picture on the left was taken at my mum's house on Christmas day 2012.
At Wuff we have been extremely busy since July. There are so many highlights for me but I will just outline a couple that have stood out in particular.
I have to start with Lizzie (my Greek rescue dog that spent over 5 months last year living wild). She has exceeded any expectations that I had of her. She is such a delight to own and after an enormous amount of socialisation and training is behaving in most ways like a "normal" dog. She is still very scared of new people (especially children) and busy places but apart from this I think she is almost there.
She was nocturnal when I first got her and would only eat at night times in private. It took weeks before I could even start her training as she was too scared of me and wouldn't even take a treat. Over the last year I have only taught her a few commands BUT she now has excellent recall (even when hunting), walks beautifully on the lead, has stopped running up to people and barking, has stopped stealing and chewing household items, goes to the toilet in appropriate places, will let other people look after her, regularly goes to my friend's houses (some of whom have children) and has learnt to play with toys. The one thing that Lizzie has always had is great social skills with other dogs.
With Lizzie I had to start at the lowest point that I ever have with any dog. She was so scared of me that she couldn't even walk. For months I just worked on building up her confidence around me and taking treats from my hand. This was then extended to taking treats from other people. Food has been the main reward for Lizzie during training as she is not that motivated by toys. Over time I have gradually tried to expose her to more and more new situations while trying to avoid things that are too scary. Over time she has learnt to cope in many different situations. I don't think she will ever be able to cope with very busy places but this isn't a problem really. At least now if she gets scared she "bounces back" much quicker than she did when I first got her.
I have been reading through my records of all the dogs that I have worked with this year and I will share one other big success story. The huge success of this dog is down to the total dedication of his owners.
A few months ago I was asked to do my Intensive Training Programme with a 9 month old working lab who hadn't really had any training. The training issues were:
Jumping up at people and work surfaces
Pulling on the lead
Stealing the children's toys
Stealing anything that was left on the work surfaces in the kitchen/ raiding the bin
Running off with dead rabbits on walks
Not settling unless in his crate
The owners of this dog were worried that they had left training too late.
I actually have this particular dog staying with me at the moment and I can quite safely say that all of the above issues have been resolved. The owners followed all my advice and were totally committed to following the training programme. They now have a dog who can be trusted while left alone, is a joy to walk and has been very much part of the family Christmas without getting himself into trouble. I have however stressed that they must continue the training even though the course is over!
The Yellow Dog Project
I am very keen to spread the awareness of this project. www.theyellowdogproject.com. This is taken from their web site.
On a daily basis, either with my own lab, client's dogs or just general observations of other dogs on walks I see problems with dogs getting too near to each other. There are many reasons that some dogs don't like others in their personal space. My own lab has learnt that most other male dogs like to sniff his genitals which he HATES. He learnt at about 9 months old to growl at dogs that approached him as he knew they would sniff him. This growling to him is successful as it usually sends the other dog away. I am very careful on walks to ask other owners to not let their dogs approach him and I definitely don't let him approach other unknown dogs. I don't like the fact that he does this BUT it is not his fault that all other male dogs find him very attractive.
I suggest to my client's that if another dog is on lead please respect the fact that the dog is on lead for a reason. The dog may just have no recall, but it may be aggressive, scared, injured in some way, recovering from surgery or on heat. I never let my dogs go up to another dog that is on lead without checking with the owners first.
In January 2013 I will only be running puppy classes on Newmarket Rd. I will start Beginner and Gsraduate classes again in Fulbourn when the weather is a little better. My next puppy class starts on Saturday 5th January 2013. Please email for details.
Ok I will end this section of my blog now by wishing you all a very Happy 2013 and I am looking forward to seeing many of you again next year. Thanks for all your support his last year.
Well it is certainly good to be back at work. I am really enjoying our graduate training class. The focus of all my classes really are that the dogs have fun and the owners are given many ideas of new things to teach their dogs. This course we have been extending their basic obedience work plus teaching many new tricks which include:crawl, beg, wipe paws, sleepy, and to walk backwards. My opinion is that if the dogs love training, you can teach them anything that they are capable of. I love to mix in lots of tricks with the more boring things like stays, heel work etc. This is a great way of keeping the dogs and owners enthusiastic. It also ensures that the owners build up an excellent relationship with their dog.
Training can be really good for mental stimulation of dogs. I found a useful link this week to show you other ideas of how to enrich your pet's life. This includes cats and rabbits too.
Many of you know that I often take my labrador into schools to teach the children how to behave around dogs. This is an excellent poster that I found that I would like to share with you all. The second link is also invaluable for anyone who has any contact with dogs at all. Learning to read their body language is vital to stay safe.
The Great North Run
Nick Johns is very kindly doing The Great North Run in September 2012 to help raise funds for Desperate Greekies. Michele and Dennis Walker set up Desperate Greekies Dog Rescue in 2005. My gorgeous Lizzie was rescued from Greece by them last year. Both Dennis and Michele have dedicated their lives to helping dogs in Greece. If anyone would like to sponsor a very good cause please make a donation on their website www.desperategreekies. Lizzie is one of the few lucky dogs in Greece PLEASE PLEASE donate to this worthy cause if you are able to so other dogs can have a happy ending like Lizzie.
Don't Cook Your Dog
This is an important message for all dog owners with potentially warm weather approaching! (we can live in hope)
Dog Show August 19th 2012
Poochie Parlour are running a dog show again this year. Wuff Dog Training are sponsoring one of the classes. The details are below. I will be attending with at least 2 of my dogs. It will be great to see some of you there.
Companion Dog Show in aid of The Yorkshire Terrier and Toy Breed Rescue
- sponsored by Companion Care (Beehive Centre)
There is going to be a raffle and tombola stand :) get your pennies ready!
We are running a photo competition too, bring or send us a photo with your details on the back, entries £1 per photo and a special prize for the winner! sponsored by Dawn Cargill
I am sorry that I have been quiet here for a while but I have been busy recovery from surgery. I plan to start work again on Monday May 28th. I am now taking bookings for after then so please drop me an email or ring. I am only going to start my graduate class initially but then plan to do puppy and beginner classes later on in the summer. I will be starting behavioural work and dog walking too on 28th.
The London Marathon
Matt completed the London Marathon in 5 hours 24 mins. Well done and Thank you Matt. Thank you to everyone for your sponsorship and donations to Desperate Greekies Dog Rescue, we are very grateful.
Please remember to visit our Face Book page - Wuff Dog Training Cambridge and press "like" if you like it!
Oh dear it's that time of year again! Please spend time reading the below link. They are very dangerous to dogs and can kill them. My own dogs have had 4 operations in total as a result of grass seeds and I am very careful where I walk them and check them thoroughly. A client of mine nearly lost her Gordon Setter last year due to grass seeds.
I found a web site the other day that I wanted to share with you. Stuffed Kongs are great for many reasons. I always leave my dogs with one when I go out. It is a good way of the dogs associating you going out with a good thing. This can help reduce separation problems.
I am sorry that I wont be taking on any new clients now until Mid May as I am due to have an operation mid April and will need a few weeks to recover. Please however feel free to email me to make any bookings or if you have any questions. I will do my best to reply to emails quickly. I hope this doesn't cause you too much inconveneince.
London Marathon 22nd April 2012
Matt Barnett is running the London Marathon on the 22nd April 2012 to help raise funds for Desperate Greekies. Michele and Dennis Walker set up Desperate Greekies Dog Rescue in 2005. My gorgeous Lizzie was rescued from Greece by them last year. Both Dennis and Michelle have dedicated their lives to helping dogs in Greece. If anyone would like to sponsor a very good cause please sponsor Matt on line at sponsor Matt and scroll down to the "Buy Now" buttons. Lizzie is one of the few lucky dogs in Greece PLEASE PLEASE donate to this worthy cause if you are able to so other dogs can have a happy ending like Lizzie.
A large part of my life has been taken up since October with my new dog Lizzie. She is doing so amazingly well. She can now run off lead with the other dogs, which is such a pleasure to see. Before I let her off lead I did daily recall work with her on a 30 ft training lead. She came back nearly every time when called and therefore I felt confident to drop the training lead. I still leave the lead on but dropped as she sometimes still tries to dart away when I approach her collar. I am working on this daily too. I am lucky that she is very motivated by treats and toys which has made training easier. This off lead exercise has improved her life enormously. She is no longer a nocturnal dog which has made night times more relaxing for us all. She is very good with other dogs and is happy to say hello to them and then come back if I call her. She goes out in the car everyday and has now accepted that the car is a good thing and she is no longer stressed in the car. The hardest thing for Lizzie is to be comfortable around anyone except me! She has however made progress with my mum and has even stayed at her house with my labrador over night without me. On walks she can cope with other people as long as they don't try and touch her but is more scared of people inside the house. This isn't a big problem though as she just keeps herself to herself and has never shown any signs of aggression.
Due to Lizzie's history (6 months running wild) I decided before I let her off lead to buy a GPS tracking collar in case she ever went missing again. I bought a Retrieva Collar and am so far very impressed with it. It did take a while to set up and get used to how it operates but it has certainly made me feel more confident with her off lead. I hope to never have to use it but it is reassuring to know she is wearing it.
Wuff has been very busy during the Autumn months and for this reason my blog entries have been non existent. I do appologise for this. Puppy, beginner and advanced classes are going well and all the dogs have been working hard.
Many of you will already know this news by now but I feel that I must include this on my blog. Lizzie the lost dog, that I have mentioned so many times before has finally been caught. The lady at the cafe in Acton finally after about 2 months was able to get near enough to her collar to catch her. Her whole story from start to finish is on her Facebook page if any of you are interested to read it.
Face Book Group
DOG LOVERS - HELP NEEDED TO FIND LIZZIE MISSING IN CAMBRIDGE CB22 POST CODE
I am fostering her but may very well end up keeping her. She is doing so amazingly well. Six weeks ago she couldn't walk as she was so scared and now for about 95% of the time she is a normal, happy, relaxed, friendly and enthusiastic puppy. She has taught me an enormous amount about animal behaviour and I have been amazed at the minute by minute transformation in her. This is probably the first time in her life she has been happy and I have loved every single minute that I have spent with her. There are videos of her on her Facebook page. She is still very scared of new people but this is the only real hurdle she has to get over now. Her training is well under way and she now knows 5 commands. This to me in incredible as I couldn't even feed her a treat for the first week or so.
Lizzie is a VERY lucky dog to have been rescued by a wonderful rescue group- Desperate Greekies. Both Dennis and Michele dedicate so much of their time to help dogs in Greece. Please check out their website if you are interested in finding out more about them or how you can help. After Lizzie went missing both Michelle and Dennis did everything possible to catch Lizzie again. I honestly don't know at what point they would have given up looking (if ever). I know for one, I am so lucky to now have such a wonderful dog sharing her life with me. Lizzie is so incredibly special.
I can't believe it is September already, where does all the time go? I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer with their dogs.
The last few months have been busy as usual at Wuff Dog Training. I did have a weekend off to do a therapy dog assessment in Rotterdam and spent 2 1/2 weeks on the Ile De Re in France with my 2 dogs. The below photo is Lola enjoying the sun on the Ile De Re. Apart from this though "Wuff" has been busy with 1-1 lessons, behavioural cases and group training classes. I have also started doing a small amount of dog walking every week. The dog owners often ask for my 2 dogs to join the walk too which is fun for all concerned.
I have been forced to do a lot of behavioural work this month with my own 5 year old Gordon Setter, Lola. She found herself covered in wasps just before our holiday. I had to pull about 30 out that had begun burying into her fur. This was very traumatic for her and me! She seemed fine after this much to my relief. However since we came back from our holiday she became increasingly scared of walking past hedges by the side of the road where I live. She was so scared that she suddenly would jump out into the middle of the road or sit and refuse to move. This clearly is an unsafe thing to do. It took me a while to realise what her problem was and then it occurred to me - wasps! She got too scared to walk past anywhere that she had seen a wasp. Then I started noticing more and more wasps on walks popping out of hedges as we walked by. It is a very difficult fear to work with as I have no way of controlling the wasps to set up practise sessions with! I have however with great success begun to pair walking past a hedge with the giving of a "high value" treat. She now is beginning to associate walking past a hedge with a treat and hopefully not a wasp. It is working at the moment but as soon as she sees a wasp again it may all go wrong. Hopefully the wasps will die out soon as winter approaches and she may have time to forget.
I mentioned in my previous blog entry that I am a member of Dog Lost and have been spending a lot of time looking for the lost dog Lizzie. We did have a big breakthrough a couple of months ago. We found her 45 miles away from where she went missing. She has been in this location now for over 2 1/2 months. She is being fed and has an outside kennel but no one can get near enough to catch her and she wont go into a trap. We have liased with vets, dog wardens, RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Zoos and wildlife parks to try and find new ideas for catching her. The strategy that we are using is to trap her but clearly this is taking a long time! I am worried that she will leave this location and move on again at some point and then we will have to start from square one again. She is however looking good and appears healthy.
Please remember to visit our Face Book page - Wuff Dog Training Cambridge and press "like" if you like it!
I am a volunteer for Dog Lost. A lot of my time this last month has been taken up helping in the hunt for Lizzie. If you are reading this please take the time to check out her Face Book Page. If you can help by putting up posters these can be found on the Dog Lost website (search for Lizzie)
Face Book Group
DOG LOVERS - HELP NEEDED TO FIND LIZZIE MISSING IN CAMBRIDGE CB22 POST
Red, Lola, mum and myself all had fun at the Poochie Parlour Companion Dog Show on 30th May. My gorgeous Lola got the 2nd prize for best pedigree which pleased us. I am also proud to say that one of the dogs from my Fulbourn beginner class class got Best in Show. A very well done to Guiness the handsome GSD puppy.
All the dogs are working very well in the puppy, beginner and advanced classes. I will be starting more classes on the first weekend of July. There will however be a 3 week break in the middle of this course.
I am off to Rotterdam soon for a long weekend as I have been asked to do an assessment on a dog that is being trained to be an assistant dog. More on this in the next blog update!
I hope you are enjoying the lovely sunny weather. For me this is perfect dog walking weather.
Please do remember to look out for Lizzie.
April has been a quiet month at Wuff Dog Training due to all the holidays and we were closed for a week too.
The month has however been full of success stories. I am particularly proud of 3 of my behaviour case dogs. Two of them are adult dog separation anxiety cases and both dogs can now be left alone for short periods. The reason these dogs have succeeded is because their owners have spent the time building up their home alone time very gradually. They have changed this time from being a stressful experience to a special time when they can enjoy nice things. I am particularly impressed with both these owners, as I know it hasn't been easy for them. Remember it is FAR easier getting an 8 week old puppy used to spending time alone that an adult dog.
Another huge success story has been with an adult dog that was very fearful of the outside world. She is now happily playing and training in the garden and has begun to enjoy short walks. For this case we used clicker training to encourage her that the outside was a safe/ fun place to be and we also did a lot of work on desensitising her to many outside noises. She is now a much happier and relaxed dog. Her owner is too.
Wuff Educational Programme
I have been working with my Labrador for 1 1/2 years now in a school in Colchester. We have been educating infant school children how to stay safe around dogs, how to care for them and how to train them. The main aim of this programme is for children to learn more about dog behaviour and how to spend time enjoying dogs' company but staying safe too. I am very excited as I am now trying to expand this service to schools in Cambridge too. It is still early days but I will keep you all updated!
Myself, my dogs and some clients and their dogs are attending the below Companion Dog Show. It is to raise money for a very good cause. Please come along if you can.
Please remember to visit our Face Book page - Wuff Dog Training Cambridge and press "like" if you like it!
I'm going to end this blog entry now with a quick reminder about the hazards of grass seeds. Please spend time reading the below link. They are very dangerous to dogs and can kill them. My own dogs have had 4 operations in total as a result of grass seeds and I am very careful where I walk them and check them thoroughly. A client of mine nearly lost her Gordon Setter last year due to grass seeds.
A friend of mine is organising the below course that some of you may be interested in.
'Feedback from the Best in the World' - 30th April, 2:00 - 7:30pm.
A big thank you to Henry from Lazy-photography for taking these fabulous photos of my advanced class in Fulbourn.
Here are some of my favourite.
Due to popular demand we will now be running a beginner class on Sunday afternoon in Fulbourn as well as one on Newmarket Road during Saturday afternoons. In Fulbourn we train at a farm and have access to both a marquee and outside space for training.
There are still 2 spaces left for the new puppy class starting on Saturday 19th March at 6 pm on Newmarket Road. Please contact Cath to book a space.
I shall be training again this year in Colchester from 13th April until 22nd April. These dates tend to get very booked up so if you want some individual help with your dog in Colchester during these dates please do contact me. As usual I will continue to do some Colchester work too on Friday afternoons.
A few behavioural successes recently:
I have been conatcted by the below walking group to advertise on my website. I don't know much about them but from reading their website it sounds a nice group.
I have also discovered a website of local walks that you can do on your own that may be of interest. http://wagipedia.com/walks You can search for walks near your home.
A new Wuff Facebook page is being constructed. Please feel free to add any comments or testimonials. Search Wuff Dog Training Cambridge and you will find it.
Well done to all the puppies who completed their 6 week puppy class on Sat 12th February. A new puppy class will be starting on March 19th at 6pm.
I hope you and your dogs have all had a fabulous Christmas and enjoyed the snow. I know we have had a lot of fun.
A friend of mine is running a beginners Heel Work to Music day in January. I have attached details below incase anyone is interested. Both my dogs love it, but I will say we are very good at the tricks but not too sure about doing a routine to music yet!!
15th January 2011, 10am-4pm. - Beginners HTM and Freestyle Training
Day with Christina Oxtoby ina Church Hall in Arbury, Cambridge.
I had a phone call about 5 weeks ago from a very distressed owner whose dog had got his head trapped in something and was therefore very phobic (understandably so) of having anything round it's neck. This meant that it was impossible to put a lead and collar on the dog. The dog panicked every time you approached her head with anything in your hand. This has probably been my most rewarding case this month as after 3 sessions of clicker training the dog now happily wears and walks on a lead and collar. It just goes to show you the value of reward based training and how you can change a dog's emotional response in fearful situations.
This dog was lucky it was a young pup and the problem was caught early. I did however stress to the owner that they still must be very careful and continue the training and make sure nothing like this ever happens again, as I suspect it will be harder to address next time.
Red (my pup) is now 11 months old and has been busy himself this month in school. I have started an Animal Care course for Key Stage One children in Colchester. This involves teaching the children how to behave around dogs, care for them and train them. They also get an opportunity to bring their own pets in to talk about how they care for their animals. I am very pleased to be given this opportunity, as I strongly believe that it should be a crucial part of every child's education. Red has so far behaved perfectly and I am grateful that he will be benefiting from this experience too.
It is just a shame he has not been so perfect at home!! This was my new kitchen rug. I suppose I should be grateful that this is all he has ever chewed!
I am really enjoying my current puppy, beginner and graduate classes. All the dogs are progressing well and having fun. The outdoor class in Fulbourn has been a bit of a wash out for two weeks due to the awful weather but we will soon use a marquee during wet weather so classes can still go ahead.
I will be starting a new puppy and beginner class on the first weekend of every month. I thought this may make planning ahead easier for potential clients.
l hope you are all having an enjoyable summer and that your dogs are fit and healthy. The summer months are usually a quieter time for Wuff Dog Training with people off on their holidays and doing activities with the kids over the Summer break. We have however been kept reasonably busy.
One of my most rewarding experiences during the last three months has been a ten hour training course that I did with a Eurasier. He started off pulling on the lead badly and was totally unaware that the owner was on the other end of the lead. He was 100% focussed on sniffing the ground looking for anything to hunt. He also used to bark when he wasn't fully engaged in doing activities of his own choice. The family were unable to take him on picnics or have coffees with him present as he would not settle at all. He would also bark during dog training classes and if his owners stopped to talk to anyone. After ten hours of Wuff Dog Training and a LOT of hard work by his owners he was a totally different dog. He now walks nicely on the lead most of the time and focuses on his owner. There is a lovely connection now between the pair. The family are able to go places and stop and he relaxes. He also attends dog training classes without constantly barking - he has learnt to settle and switch off. It just shows you that with a lot of hard work training can really improve both your dog's and your family life!
Many of my recent behaviour cases have involved hours of chatting to owners about the importance of and how to read their dog's body language. Bites can often be prevented if people read and then act upon what the dog is trying to tell them. I have had a few aggression cases this month where the dogs had given many warnings but no one had seen them. The dog has then bitten as all the warnings were ignored. So many people say to me "but the dog was wagging it's tail when it bit me". For most breeds of dogs a high wagging tail is not a happy dog. There is a very good book by Turid Rugass with pictures in that can help you read dog's body language called "On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals" There is also a good web site http://www.doggonesafe.com
I am an infant teacher one day a week and have been doing a course in my school which teaches Infant children how to behave around and look after animals. A large part of this course is teaching children how to behave appropriately around animals and read what they are trying to tell you. I feel very strongly that many dog bites could be prevented if children are taught about dog's body language and what to do and not to do in the presence of dogs.
This last month I have had many behaviour cases. I have managed to persuade a border collie that having a brush and knots cut out of her fur is actually not so bad if you are rewarded with a ball afterwards. This particular dog initially tried to bite me but within 20 minutes she was so focussed on her ball that her whole emotional state had changed when I tried to brush her. Oh the joy of clicker training! We are making some progress with a dog with serious separation problems and a spaniel that was dictating when his owners got up in the morning! Many people have had puppies over the summer so once again my Home Puppy Course has been very popular. These dogs will have a head start now when they attend puppy school. They will too hopefully not have developed too many bad habits.
I have been very busy with my own pup "Red". He is now an adolescent and don't I know it. We have had to work hard at learning not to run off to other dogs unless I say so, come back during playtime if I say so, jumping up is not allowed even if the person is encouraging you to do it, we do not bark to get our own way even if we are frustrated and chasing the hose pipe is not allowed during bath time! I will say he seems to be back on track now and I am hoping the worst is over. Castration has been a good idea for Red (thank goodness!) and the biggest difference I have noticed is the way that other dogs treat him. My poor boy was usually either mounted or growled at by most male dogs and now this has really almost stopped.
I will finish my rather long entry by saying we have just finished another class at Fulbourn which I think was enjoyed by all. We did lots of obedience training, tricks, agility and scent work. The dogs all did really well and I hope to see them again in Sept. I will be starting another class in Fulbourn on 5th Sept and Newmarket Rd (pups and beginners) on 4th Sept. Please get in touch if you want to sign up for either 6 week course.
I have returned from a very enjoyable holiday and business is back to normal! I am starting new classes on 26th and 27th June. Please email if you want a space reserving.
I will be working in Colchester from 2nd Aug for 10 days if anyone wants some Colchester 1-1 lessons during that time.
1-1 sessions will be continuing as normal until May 26th 2010 and then they will start again on June 10th 2010.
I will not be starting any more new puppy, beginner and graduate classes now until June 26th and 27th as I am going to Australia to visit my new niece during May. This will also be a well needed holiday for myself as Wuff Dog Training has been very busy recently. I am however taking names already for these classes if you are interested in booking.
For those of you who are interested little Red is not so little anymore and is doing incredibly well. I took both him and Lola away last weekend to Devon to do some Gun Dog training and I was so very proud of both of them. Red is an absolute natural retriever and Lola is in heaven doing any scent work at all. She has progressed well since our training there a couple of years ago.
Colchester - I will be available for 2 weeks to do 1-1 dog training in Colchester from August 2nd 2010.
l have been quite overwhelmed by the number of people that have emailed messages of sympathy and support following the death of Rusty. These messages have meant a lot to me and it has helped when people constantly tell me to remember what a fantastic life he had. I know he had a wonderful life and this does gives me some peace. Thank you all for this.
I am happy to report that little Red is doing very well and will be 14 weeks old tomorrow. Lola has taken it all in her stride and seems to enjoy (mostly) having a younger brother. She is far more tolerant of him that I expected her to be. In fact I wish she would tell him off when he is hanging off her ears. He is doing ok with his training and socialisation. Toilet training has been our biggest hurdle so far but we are finally getting there. He squealed with delight last week when he got to see his breeder and elder sister again which was rather sweet. I am really looking forward to one of his litter mates joining us at puppy school tomorrow!
The below photo was Red having a creative time with loo roll! A true Andrex Puppy.
I am looking forward to meeting all the new puppies and beginner dogs for the February class.
December 25th 2009
I would like to wish all my clients (both human and canine) a very merry Christmas and a stress free and enjoyable 2010. Lola, myself and Red survived Christmas even though it was a little tricky visiting family and friends with an 8 week old puppy. I kept trying to remind myself that it was all good for socialisation purposes if not my nerves! He is a good boy really but obviously still has a lot to learn. Despite everything I think we all had a fabulous time and are now ready for a rest!
I am looking forward to meeting all my new pups and adult dogs for training on January 9th and my current classes on 2nd Jan.
December 18th 2009
Today I have a feeling of happiness that I haven't felt for ages - I brought home my new pup, Red this morning. He was born a few hours after my Rusty Boy died, which makes him kind of special. I am incredibly grateful to a good friend who gave him to me and he is without a doubt the best gift I have ever had! I am overwhelmed with emotions as he couldn't so far be a more perfect pup, thanks to the wonderful start he has had to life. He is already asleep in his crate as I type with the washing machine going next to him. I am a very lucky person to have been given the opportunity to take him home to live with me and Lola. I would never have had a pup so soon if it wasn't for my friend but it is definitely a small step in the right direction to beginning to heal some of my sadness over Rust. The house has been so empty and quiet without him. I know he will never be able to replace Rust but with time we will both learn to love him loads and he will become an important part of our household.
November 20th 2009
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new web site. I hope it is easy to navigate your way around it! Please feel free to pass on any constructive comments.
October 31st 2009
I have very sad news to report today. I lost my beloved Rusty boy this morning in a very tragic accident. I know a lot of people who read this blog knew him. He met a lot of you on walks or during one to one lessons. Even though he had a few issues himself he helped so many dogs with socialisation problems. In fact only last week he was the turning point for a Yorkshire Terrier that had become very fearful of the outside world.
August 15th 2009
I hope you are all having a good Summer. I will be starting a new puppy class and a new beginner class on Newmarket Road on 29th August and a new advanced class in Fulbourn on 30th Aug. Please contact me if you want a space saving.
The COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers and the The Centre of Applied Pet Ethology are running a campaign against the use of coercive, bullying dog training techniques that use devices such as choke chains, spiked collars, shock collars, rape alarms and correction sticks that can cause untold psychological damage to dogs in the name of dog training and behaviour therapy. I am a member of these organisations and am fully behind this campaign. Please support this by signing our petition below. The APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) also support this campaign.
July 9th 2009
I will be available 7 days a week in the Cambridge area for one to one dog training, behavioural work and dog walking from July 18th until 23rd of August. I am then taking a week off for a holiday. I will however be answering emails as usual during that week. The school summer holidays is often a good time to do some dog training so that any children in the family can be involved too. I am an infant teacher part time and so try my best to show children how to work with their pup at a level that they can cope with and understand.
The summer has finally arrived. I do hope you are all enjoying your dog walks but being careful that the dogs don't overheat in this hot weather. Make sure you take plenty of water with you or go to river walks where they can cool off.
Our next graduate class (outside) will be at 6pm starting this coming Sunday 7th June. It will run later on in the day so that the dogs don't suffer too much with the heat. The course will run for 3 weeks, then we will have a week off and then continue for 3 more weeks. We still have a couple of spaces so please get in touch if you fancy doing some more training with your dog. Our next puppy and beginner classes will start the following week at 5pm and 6pm on 13th June. Again we have a couple of spaces left.
We have had another good couple of months at Wuff Dog Training. I thoroughly enjoyed using the farm for the outdoor classes and it was great for the more advanced dogs to be able to work around the distractions of farm noises, smells, water, swans, ducks and geese. I am currently taking names for any one else who has already completed a "Wuff" course that wants to join us for some more outdoor training on Sundays.
The New Phone Advice Service is becoming more and more popular especially for my Pre Puppy Course and the first part of the Home Puppy Course. It is ideal for the Pre Puppy Course, as the dog isn't even with its new family at this stage! It helps prepare the owners for his/ her arrival.
This was written by a client today after our phone consultation.
"I cannot recommend the pre-puppy course (by phone) enough. We want to be responsible pup owners, but didnt know where to start. Cath took me through the first few days of owning a puppy, through to toilet training, diet and feeding, exercise, what to buy, introducing children and many other aspects of getting a new puppy. I now feel ready to bring our new pup home, armed with the perfect information!
l still have a few spaces left for my new puppy and beginner group training classes which will be starting on Saturday 16th May. Please drop me an email if you want a space reserved. Remember puppies learn incredibly quickly and it is a good idea to start a training class as soon as they are fully vaccinated and the vet is happy for them to meet other dogs. Early training and socialisation can prevent many future behavioural problems. See Training Classes for further details
Grass Seeds Oh dear it is this awful time of year again when you want to be enjoying long walks in the countryside with you dog but if you are like me you feel worried every time they run in the long grass in case a grass seed gets in their ear, eye, armpit, paw etc. Both my dogs have had operations to remove grass seeds for the last two years. Please be aware of this - check their armpits, paws, eyes and ears regularly and remove any seeds daily. Once they are attached to fur they only go one way and that is into the dog.
March 30th 2009
Thanks to Liz I have found a suitable outside area to do training at a farm in Fulbourn on Sunday afternoons. We started a graduate class on 15th March and I expect to run many more in the future. I will continue to run puppy and beginner classes in the hall though on Newmarket Rd on Saturdays.
Please note I shall be away from 4th April 2009 until 19th April 2009. I will be answering emails daily and taking bookings but wont be doing any training or behaviour work. I will be unable to answer phone messages during this time.
I have been following the below blog daily. It is a heart breaking story of a family who have lost their dog - Jacob. They have spent weeks looking for it. Please take a minute to read it as there maybe someone out there who can help.
26th February 2009
I have added a groomers in Cambridge today to my useful links section. I was particularly impressed with Poochie Parlour as they do all the grooming in an open plan area. If you choose you are then able to see what is happening to your dog. My Gordon Setter absolutely hates water and I have found it very difficult and stressful to bath her on my own. Maxine and Chelsey were very understanding, patient and kind to my girl and made it as least stressful as possible for her. I will definitely return there and am happy to personally recommend it to others.
I am fitting in an extra graduate class in Cambridge on 15th March at 3 pm if anyone wants to join us please email me as soon as possible as the spaces will go quickly.
Please note I shall be away this year from 4th April until 19th April on holiday. I will be answering emails during this time but obvioulsy wont be doing any dog training!
26th January 2009
l am hoping to start to do some of my training sessions in the near future in a safe outdoor location. I am in the process of looking for somewhere suitable to rent for a few hours every week. Please if anyone reading this has any suggestions of anyone I can contact or can offer somewhere themselves in the Cambidge area would you kindly contact me. At the moment I do all my training in a hall and I would love to be able to offer an outdoor venue for the older more advanced dogs.
Thanks in anticipation!
21st December 2008
I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Christmas and New Year
I will start my blog this month by apologising but I am going to have to stop my classes in Colchester until at least the summer. This is due to increased work load. I am an infant teacher now two days a week. Hopefully next year this will go back to one day a week and I will start my classes in Colchester again. I will however still be offering some one to one sessions in Colchester still every week. Dog Training in Cambridge will be unaffected by this and business will continue as usual!
New Phone Advice Service click for link
Over the last year I have had an increasing number of emails and phone calls from dog owners who do not live in the areas that I cover. Many people have been desperate for help with their dog. I have felt awful about telling them that I cannot help as I live too far away. I have decided to make a new service available for those people who need help but cannot find a suitable trainer nearby. I will start to provide very specific services using the phone, web cam and email. I must however stress that this service will obviously not be suitable for many training needs and most behavioural problems as in so many situations I would need to meet the dog. It would however be perfect for my Pre Puppy Course and a lot of my Home Puppy Course . Please contact me if you are interested in this new service and we can discuss whether it would be suitable for your needs or not.
16th October 2008
Hello again. I hope you all had a good summer and you and your dogs are making the most of the early evenings as they continue to get darker. As usual I have had an eventful 2-3 months. This last month I have:
- taught a very excitable lab to do a down stay when the door bell rings on his bed instead of knocking the visitors over, dribbling on them and mouthing their hands
- persuaded another lab that the car is a good thing and can lead to really exciting walks. In just over a month this dog has gone from refusing to get in the car to enjoying a trip to the beach by car. This has opened up a whole new world for the dog and owners.
- taught a vizla and border collie not to jump at visitors and work surfaces
- stopped a collie from attacking the vacuum cleaner, lawn mower and chasing cars
- taught an alternative behaviour to a collie and GSD cross to prevent squirrel/ cat chasing
- begun to stop a dog choking and coughing for attention (this was a new one for me!!)
- trained a few dogs to more willingly accept visitors into their houses. These dogs were initially all showing a lot of aggression towards house guests. Their behaviour has vastly improved but I have advised the owners that care should always be taken still. There is no quick fix for cases like this as basically the dog's emotional state has to be altered. The dogs need to learn that visitors are a good thing and not a threat.
I feel very privileged to have been asked this month to do some behaviour work for The Dogs Trust. They offer ongoing behaviour support for all their rescued dogs for life. This has brought a new dimension to my work which I am enjoying. I have also helped a client choose a suitable dog to adopt from Wood Green Animal Shelter.
I will end my blog this month with two true stories that can both be used as learning experiences for us all.
The first incident was with my own rescue dog (again!) Last month he was in the hedge row running around sniffing and looking for anything to chase. On his return I noticed that he was covered in burdock balls. There were about 20 on his back and over 200 on his tummy and legs. They were all in a mass together and he could barely walk. Over the next 45 minutes I removed as many as I could. He then began to get quite cross so I thought I would give him a break and remove the rest at home. However he had different ideas. In the van he removed loads and ate them (unknown to me at the time). He obviously then felt very sick when we arrived home. I had a terrible shock when I caught him eating plants from the rockery. He must have been doing this because we have no grass to eat and he felt so ill. To cut a long story short he was very ill then. He had to go to the emergency vet during the night as he was in so much pain. It took days for the various plants to pass through and I think from his reaction the whole process was very painful!!
My last story is a very sad one but hopefully if I include it in my blog it may prevent this happening to other puppies. I started my Home Puppy Course with an 8 week old pup last month. The owner wanted to do everything right with the pup from the start so began training immediately. We had a wonderful first session, the pup was an absolute sweetie. I advised the owner and children how the pup should be treated gently and be given plenty time to rest in it's own space. Unfortunately this advice wasn't followed by the children and the dog is now aggressive towards children. I am devastated by this as the early weeks of a pup's life are so important and anything that happens to them in these first weeks can stay with them for life. The pup has learnt that aggression is a successful strategy to get the children to go away. Please let this be a lesson to us all.
If anyone wants information on dogs and children please see The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD
And finally - please book now if you want a space on my Puppy/ Beginner class starting on 25th Oct. in Cambridge as places are going fast.
23rd July 2008
I am sorry to announce that my Wuff Walk will no longer be taking place on a regular basis. I am now very busy with work commitments on Saturdays as they are such poplular days. Lola has also had a grass seed in her eye and up her nose this year. She has had to have yet more operations and I just cannot risk taking her to grassy places at the moment either. We are having to do really boring street walks. If work quietens down though once the grass seeds have gone I will start them up again. Most of the Wuff Walks have been very enjoyable and to be honest I do miss them. Please though do keep in touch if you were one of the group!
I am having a small break from classes at the moment but new ones will start in Cambridge on August 9th and Colchester on September 7th. See Training for further details.
The Intensive Training Course will be available in Colchester from 3rd August 2008 until 14th August 2008. This will get very booked up so please hurry if you want some intensive training with your dog or puppy.
The Wag and Bone Show is on in Windsor on Saturday 2nd August for anyone interested see the wag and bone show. This should be a good "doggy" day out.
21st May 2008
Well another set of classes are coming to an end and once again all the dogs have done extremely well. I shall look forward to seeing some of the dogs again in my more advanced classes. There are limited spaces left for my next course starting on 31st May in Cambridge and 1st June in Colchester. Please email or ring for further details of these. The Colchester training will be late afternoon now on a Sunday so that the dogs will not suffer too much from the summer sun!
Thank you to those people who have recently provided me with new testimonials (photos to appear soon!!) If any other clients want to write a testimonial please feel free to email one to me - this would be very much appreciated.
Wuff Walk will probably be taking place every two weeks now instead of every week. I am very busy on Saturdays and it is just not possible at the moment to make it every week. We will probably be walking at Newmarket regularly as this is a nice wide walk and the dogs have plenty space to run. This walk will always be at 1pm as we cannot walk there earlier.
I will be working in Colchester for two whole weeks in August this year and so for two weeks the Intensive Training Course will be available for a limited number of Colchester clients. Please email or ring asap if you want to book this as there are only a few spaces.
I have had highs and lows this last two months. Both my dogs have been bitten and I have spent a lot of time building up their confidence around other dogs again. We must remember never to take for granted that our dogs are sociable towards other dogs - one incident can change this! If your dog is attacked it is vital that all parties remain as calm as possible and then you must socialise it well both on and off lead gradually with dogs that you are confident will be nice to your dog. If you are worried about either dog biting a muzzle is a necessity. Please seek advice from a behaviourist if you are concerned about this.
I have spent a lot of time this last month worrying about an adorable dog that did my home puppy course last year who is now over a year old. He is the nicest natured dog and his owner has worked VERY hard with his training. I became increasingly concerned for his well being when the owner reported that a lot of dogs started attacking him. My initial thoughts were that he lacked the social skills necessary to communicate effectively with other dogs and he was approaching them in a very over powering way whether they liked it or not. This particular dog had not been socialised very well over the last year and so I felt had possibly not learnt how to behave appropriately. Anyway much to my relief Lola (my gordon setter) and my client's friends were able to provide enough suitable dogs to help him and he seems to be learning to play in a calmer way. I think he is a lucky dog as often if dogs do not have the necessary social experiences in the first 16 weeks then they have problems for life. It gave me so much joy to see the change in him over the last 2 months.
12th March 2008
The January classes are now finished and new ones are about to start, there are a couple of spaces left if anyone is interested. Many owners finished this last set of lessons confident enough to let their dogs off lead in safe places when they hadn't been before. This always gives me a great deal of pleasure as it has greatly improved the quality of life for both dog and owners. A well exercised dog is usually a happier and better behaved dog.
The Wuff Walk will not be taking place this coming Saturday and for the following week it will be at a later time of 1pm as we will walk at Newmarket Race Course. There will be no walk on April 5th / 12th as I am away with Lola again doing Gun Dog training.
My Pre Puppy Course is becoming more and more popular which is great to see as owners are beginning to seek help before they get their dog. This means that they can be better prepared for their new arrival with regard to: questions to ask the breeder, equipment needed, training, house rules, puppy proofing the house, diet, breed of dog, suitability for children, how to cope with the first night etc etc.
One to one sessions this month have been as rewarding as ever. It is so interesting to observe how different dogs learn and what motivates them. This last month we have had: recall success in 30 minutes by teaching a very close sit to a Border Collie who had not come near enough to have it's lead put on in 3 years, spaniels conditioned so well to the whistle that bullying other dogs or barking at people wasn't an option, mounting behaviour reduced by persuading the dog that playing with a toy was a better option and success teaching a young Labrador that jumping all over elderly people was definitely not allowed. The key to all these changes in behaviour lies in my golden rule
"DOGS DO WHAT WORKS FOR THEM"
aim is to identify why it works and how we can turn it around to our advantage!
3rd January 2008
I hope you all had a good Christmas and have a happy new year. I must start by apologising that I have not been able to update my website for over a month now. This is due to a technical error and problems that were out of my control. Hopefully they are all sorted now.
I would like to remind you that I am starting new dog training classes in Colchester and Cambridge towards the end of January. See Training for further details. I still have a limited number of spaces left.
The Wuff Social Dog walk will be at 11 am at The Gog Magog Downs for the next few weeks.
5th Novemeber 2007
I am back now from my holiday and taking class and one to one bookings as usual so please email or ring if you require help. I still have a few spaces for new classes starting 24th/ 25th November but they are going fast!
15th October 2007
Sorry for being slack for the last couple of months with my blog but life has been very hectic.
I had fun with my Gordon Setter in October on an excellent Gun Dog course in Devon. It was a course based on teaching our dogs self control in exciting circumstances. I have put into practise many of the new ideas with my own dogs and already incorporated them into my classes. It is always useful to get fresh and motivating ideas. The course greatly inspired me. I was able to stop my dog chasing a cat in the park today for the first time ever just by inviting her to play a game with me! It was a great feeling to be more exciting than chasing a cat. This is the key to successful training.
We have been to Devil's Dyke in Newmarket for three of our Saturday walks now. This is an excellent location as it is wide so the dogs have space to run and it is very safe. You are not allowed to do this walk before 1pm so our Saturday walk will sometimes be in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. Just check this site for weekly details.
I am going to France for 2 weeks on October 22nd for a holiday. I will check and answer emails when I am away and phone messages can be left. I will still be taking bookings but will not actually be doing any training.
I have spaces still for my new classes which start in Colchester and Cambridge on 25th/ 24th November.
23rd August 2007
Does your dog pull on the lead? Or not return when called?
It has become apparent to me that there are many people out there who have very specific training needs for their pet dogs. I have decided to launch a new service this month that focuses on common training problems in semi - private sessions rather than general group training. The classes will have only two to three dogs and take place in Colchester and Cambridge at weekends. There will be two new classes initially - lead walking and recall. These will mainly take place in outside locations but the initial session will be at my normal training areas (see location). I do cover both these exercises in my group classes but many dogs need more intensive training in these areas. Please see Training for further details.
11th July 2007
In May I had a word of advice about sticks and this month I have a word of advice about grass seeds. I was shocked to discover first hand the damage that grass seeds can do. My Gordon Setter had to have surgery to remove embedded grass seeds from both her arm pits. She was in an awful lot of pain and it was something that happened so quickly. I do regularly brush her and I have no idea how I didn't notice them. I must admit I do avoid certain grassy places now as I really don't want her to suffer like this again. They are nasty things. My vet told me that they had recently had to remove a dog's lung because a grass seed had migrated into it.
New classes are about to start in Colchester and Cambridge which I am really looking forward to. I will meet some old clients again and some new. Let's hope the rain holds off for the weekends.
My Intensive Training Courses are going well in Cambridge. Common problems seem to be jumping up and pulling on the lead. All dogs so far have really done well with this course. I will be available for intensive training in Colchester for 10 days only in August (3rd - 13th August). Please email or ring if you want to book a course. There will be limited spaces available and this is just a one off arrangement at the moment but maybe available regularly in the future.
This month I have had requests to do the Home Puppy Course with either 2 or 3 puppies in the same household. This has not been a problem but it has been essential to extend the course to 5 hours instead of 3 1/2. Personally I think there is an even greater need to do the Home Puppy Course if you have 2 or 3 puppies of the same age (brave people!!)
The Walking Club have continued to enjoy Saturday morning walks and we have been to various places now - Lode, Babraham and Magog Downs. We have had some awful weather recently but everyone still seemed to have a good time.
4th June 2007
It has been another exciting month for Wuff Dog Training and Behavioural Advice. The walking club has continued to be very enjoyable and we have been very lucky with the weather. The Gog Magog Downs has been the chosen walk so far but on Sat 17th we will go to Lode. As usual anyone is welcome to join us and new suggestions of walks are always welcome.
I have yet another addition to my website. The new feature has been added by popular demand. I am now providing a
Pre Puppy Course. This is designed for people who are in the planning stages of getting a puppy. It covers an enormous amount of essential information that new puppy owners should be aware of. Many future problems can be prevented by being properly prepared for your new family member. This course is 1½- 2 hours and takes place at the owner's home.
The new Intensive Dog Training course is also proving to be popular. I may extend this to the Colchester area in the future.
9th May 2007
Wuff Walking Club
The Wuff Walking Club has enjoyed two very successful joint walks at the Gog Magog Downs in Cambridge this month. We will meet there again next Saturday morning if anyone else wants to join us. There were six dogs on the first walk and five on the second. It was a very good social experience for all dogs concerned and the owners seemed to enjoy it too!
The home puppy course is by far the most popular service that I am offering at the moment. This is good to see as hopefully these young dogs will learn the acceptable way to behave from the beginning instead of developing behaviour problems. They also learn the basic commands at home before they attend puppy school and then they are ready to work in an environment with more distractions once they attend classes.
I will be starting a new puppy class on May 26th in Cambridge and May 20th in Colchester and there are a limited number of spaces left so ring or email quick if you would like one reserving. I also have spaces in my beginner class starting on 2nd June in Cambridge and 20th May in Colchester.
A Word of Advice about playing with sticks.
I will end my blog this month with a lesson that I learnt myself last week. I have taught my rescue dog to go and get a stick as an alternative behaviour to mounting any other dog in sight! This is a very annoying behaviour that he started three years after being castrated. It doesn't really bother me as I appreciate it is a natural behaviour but it really does annoy other dog owners! It was a difficult problem to solve as the behaviour in itself is so rewarding for him! However the one thing I found that worked was for him (not me) to go and pick up a stick. I have always been very careful throwing sticks for dogs as I realise the damage they can do. I had never really stopped to think how dangerous they could be for a dog to just pick one up off the ground. Anyway last Sunday he sliced 2 cm off his tongue by doing this. He was in hideous pain and had to have emergency surgery. I had no idea that just picking up a stick off the ground could be so dangerous. This is a word of warning for anyone who plays stick with their dog. I now have to find another thing for him to do instead of mounting, which will not be easy!
11th April 2007
Hi, I hope you have all had a nice Easter holiday and enjoyed the sunshine. Wuff has kept going through most of the holiday and once again a few changes have been made. Please read on for further details.
Cambridge Wuff Walking Club
For months now I have wanted to set up a walking club in Cambridge but am not really sure of the best way to do this so any of your thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated. I would like it to be an enjoyable social event for both dog owners and dogs. Ideally it would also be an opportunity for dogs that are poorly socialised to interact with other dogs. I would however like to state that I will not be responsible for the behaviour of anyone else's dog!! For dogs with behaviour problems it may be an excellent opportunity but I would like to have a behaviour consultation with owners first to assess whether it would be appropriate - see above links for behavioural advice/ prices.
As a trial run I will say that the walk will be on a Saturday morning at 11 am and the location will be posted on my web site with a map link. If this proves successful it could take place in the week as well and also maybe in Colchester on Sundays.
If you have any suggestions of how to move forward with this idea or want to confirm that you would like to join us please send me an email. Please though if your dog has behaviour problems email me first. My rescue dog has some behaviour problems still and I will understand!
Cambridge Intensive Dog Training
There is a new link on my site for Intensive Dog Training. This is a short course that is designed to help dog owners that have a specific problem with their dog that they want help with e.g. recall/ jumping up/ pulling on the lead or for owners that haven't got enough time to work on general obedience with their dog. I would do a series of ten, one hour sessions over five or ten days. The owner would not have to be present at all the sessions but for the training to work it is important that they attend at least 3 of them. During these three sessions I would have a consultation with the dog owner to find out their requirements from the course, show them what I had taught the dog and check that the dog would work for the owner as well as myself !
Some people choose to send their dogs away to residential places to be trained but this is not often helpful as the problem usually occurs in the dog's own environment or is a problem relating to the owner. This course is designed to be intensive, not too time consuming for the owner but realistic and effective.
will usually not include dogs with behaviours that involve a vet referral
as these often require much more time to solve. It may also not be appropriate
for all training issues but I will advise you of this if I believe it
to be the case and offer you an alternative.
As my home puppy course has proved so successful I have decided to do a course specially designed for rescue dogs. Their needs can be so different from a puppy that has had a very stable and stress free life. The course will include:
- Three training sessions (first one is 1 1/2 hours and the other two are an hour)
- Online support
- Suggestions for helping to settle the dog into its new home
- Advice on diet, toilet training, crate training, jumping up, separation problems, barking etc
- Free food samples and £5 voucher
- Training and information sheets
- Advice on how to live with cats/ children
- Stress - what to look for and how to deal with it
-Specific behaviour problems for individual dog
(See above link for further details)
All the dogs in my beginner class in Colchester completed their course last Sunday and so I treated them to a taste of agility. After an initial fear of the equipment they all had fun and some owners decided to enrol in an agility course. I look forward to seeing how my two favourite border collies enjoy it on Thursday at their weekly lesson. By the way I do have a small amount of agility equipment if anyone else wants to give it a go!!
15th March 2007
The home puppy course has been improved in a number of ways this month. It now includes:
- three one to one lessons (total 3 1/2 hours)
- a free week of puppy school (Cambridge/ Colchester)
- online support
- training booklet and information sheets
- food samples and £5 food voucher.
This course is proving very useful for new puppy owners. Please see above link for further details.
8th February 2007
The last month has been so busy that I haven't even had time to do my blog! The snow has prevented me working in Essex today and so I will take this opportunity to update my web site.
January was an eventful month. I collected the ex guide dog for one of my clients and I am pleased to report that both dog and owner have already bonded well.
The January classes are finishing this weekend and new ones will start in Colchester and Cambridge on 17th / 18th February. I still have a few spaces left if anyone else wants to join us.
February saw the start of a new 3 week home puppy course. This has already proved very popular. It is designed for new puppy owners and takes place in the comfort of their own home. It aims to educate clients about all issues relating to puppy ownership and teaches the basic commands: sit, down, stay, leave it, walking on the lead and recall. Many future problems can be prevented by starting training early before the puppy is old enough to go to puppy classes. The course also provides information on house training, jumping up, crate training, diet, socialisation and puppy biting etc. Please see above link for further details.
I have worked with so many different dogs this month but there are always a few that give you that extra bit of pleasure. Two particular dogs spring to mind this month. I have been training 2 border collies for 2 months now and they had never been off lead in a public place until 2 weeks ago. The owner was very anxious about losing them. We worked hard on their recall and distance down at home in a field for 4 sessions. Yesterday we had them both off lead at the Gog Magog Hills in Cambridge and they ran freely with other dogs, played and came back or stayed when asked. It was a joy to see them having so much fun. This is what makes my job so rewarding, to see the difference a bit of training can make to a dog's life.
I have an interesting new behaviour case next week. I will be starting to do some work with a dog that , according to its owners goes crazy whenever it is outside. I regularly work with dogs that have problems with people and dogs while on a lead but just being scared of everything outside is a different matter! I will hopefully report some progress with this case next time.
1st January 2007
Three new classes will start in Colchester next Sunday - a puppy class, an adult beginner class and an advanced class. I shall look forward to seeing the puppies again that have already completed their beginner course on the more advanced course and I shall enjoy meeting the new dogs.
I have a rather exciting and unusual job this week of taking an elderly client to London to pick up her new dog. She has rehomed ex guide dogs for years and has been without a dog for a few months now. It was a pleasure to see her face when I offered to take her. I know how dog ownership has transformed my life and it gives me great joy to help her, as I know how empty her life has been without a dog.
The January Sale is proving very popular this year. I have been asked by a lot of owners to work with more than one dog during one to one sessions. I am very happy to do this, however it obviously cuts down the time that each dog can have. Two of my new clients have 11 dogs each but they are happy to bring one dog to the class each and learn the principle of Clicker Training to then use at home with the other dogs. This seemed to me a very sensible idea!
January 2007 will see the launch of a Wuff Walking Club in Cambridge. This will be a chance for owners to meet up with other dog owners to enjoy joint walks during the week and at weekends. Further details will follow shortly on this site.
There will be a Wuff January Sale this year. Dog owners will be able to get three one to one training sessions for the price of two (these sessions must all be booked in January and paid for in advance).
New classes will be starting in Colchester and Cambridge on the first weekend in January. Please email Cath for further details (see contact button above).
2006 has been an exciting and eventful year for Wuff Dog Training and Behavioural Advice. The company is growing rapidly and now operates in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Rotterdam. A new dog walking/ training service in Cambridge has proved extremely popular this year.
Many puppies and adult dogs graduated from classes in Colchester and Cambridge at a very high level in 2006. The advanced classes are becoming more popular as owners realise the enjoyment and benefits of continuing training past the basic level.
I have had my own hands full since July with a Gordon Setter puppy. She took part in a Wuff Dog Show at 12 weeks where she impressed everyone. She is a nervous dog but took it all in her stride and I'm sure the experience only did myself and her good!!
In February we were invited to do a radio show on radio Cambridgeshire. This was rather a strange experience as the listeners were unable to see any of the tricks that they asked us to demonstrate!! At least it didn't matter when our dog got fed up and distracted towards the end.
Behaviour cases have been as interesting as ever this year. These are the most rewarding part of my job and no case is ever the same. This year I have: enabled a lady to vacuum her house or cut the grass without the border collie rounding them up, reassured a scared parrot that it can leave its cage without getting its head stuck in the door again, persuaded a puppy that it doesn't get rewarded for squatting down to urinate every 15 seconds inside the house, stopped a jack russel from snapping at people who accompany its owner on the sofa and helped dogs significantly that have aggression problems towards other dogs. These are just a few cases for 2006. The most common behaviour problem before Christmas time was dogs jumping up at visitors. In the week before Christmas this is all I seemed to sort out! One puppy was so lively that we had to tie it up outside to work with it initially but by the second session it was off lead in the lounge amongst all the Christmas decorations and family members. These two training session vastly improved the quality of life for the puppy and family.