Gemma's Blog

Dog Agility

Are You Spending Your Time Wisely?

Today has been a hard day. Saying goodbye to Toby aged 15 years 4 months wasn’t easy :'( It came after what had been such a positive week with Vodka, the baby of the family. And so I am trying to focus on what good has taken place this week to cheer myself up. Last

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Dog Training

Top 3 Gun Dog Training Books

Training a dog to do a job that they’ve been bred to do is a fascinating task. Watching their genetics at work is quite something – and I love nothing more than helping owners uncover their dog’s natural genius. For those gun dog lovers amongst you, check out these books for further insight and ideas

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Seasonal Advice

How To Survive Fireworks Night

If you’ve don’t have a dog who’s frightened of fireworks then I’m sincerely glad for you. However if you do, then you have my deepest sympathies. People who have never witnessed the fearful suffering of a well-loved family pet during the course of the fireworks ‘season’ (because it’s never just the one night now 🙁

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Dog Agility

My Top 10 Favourite Dog Toys!

This list includes the companies that I get my favourite toys from, because generally speaking they aren’t available from your local pet shop. Have fun and ENJOY games with your dog! 1. Tug-E-Nuff Bungee Tugs I have so many favourites within the Tug-E-Nuff brand I could do a separate list for just them! What I particularly

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Dog Training

Struggle to get your dog on lead at the end of a walk?

I can remember having this problem with the first family dogs I engaged in training. Our two terriers were smart, clever little dogs who always seemed to be two steps ahead of me. Frustrating for a new dog trainer who was learning herself! I knew that I wanted to use rewards in my training and

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Dog Training

Does your dog REALLY like being ruffled on the head?

I’m really lucky to work with people who love to reward their dogs for a job well done. Just simple stuff mostly – the usual Sits, Downs, Loose lead walking etc. But I’ve noticed something recently that I think I ought to point out on behalf of your dog. And much as I hate to

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Recommendations

3 Resources that will help your dog training

In my Youngsters syllabus that I designed we explore fundamental principles surrounding the dog’s choice in dog training, and as a result I keep recommending these key resources. Here’s my list along with where I like to purchase my items from: 1. Dog Crate People have mixed feelings about crates, but even if you choose never to use

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Recommendations

Dog walks: Burrington Ham

Situated in the village of Burrington, Somerset the Iron Age hill fort of Burrington Camp or Burrington Ham is a beautiful walking spot for ramblers and dog walkers alike. I feel very lucky that we’re just 20 minutes drive away in Congresbury so it’s somewhere we can re-visit regularly. The views across the landscape are

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Competition Report

Let’s go on an adventure!

I’ve just had 5 minutes to myself to sit down and look at some of the photos from this past weekend’s trip to Northern Ireland. It was a whirlwind few days – setting off on Thursday evening to stay in a hotel, before continuing north to Cairnryan in Scotland to catch a ferry. Then arriving

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Dog Agility

Do they have a choice?

Over the weekend I saw a competitor get angry at their agility dog for being too excited and making a mistake during a run. Many people commented about how they agreed that this simply wasn’t on and that agility was just for fun. That dogs shouldn’t be punished for making mistakes as they don’t choose

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Dog Agility

Who’s responsible?

I’ve been to an agility show today, and the actions of one competitor is playing on my mind. Their dog made a mistake on one of the pieces of contact equipment and they yelled at it in a very threatening way “Don’t you ever do that again!” before getting their dog to complete it again. They then added insult

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My Dogs

Why should I insure my dog?

Perhaps the question should be – why NOT insure your dog? Because does anyone want to be in the position of making difficult decisions about the treatment plan of their beloved dog with the financial aspect looming large in the background? I know I don’t – quite frankly it’s stressful enough seeing them ill or

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Diva

Why dog training is just simple maths!

Each and every day a dog impresses me with some aspect of their intelligence. One particular skill that I think they’re very good at is their ability to count the number of treats they’ve been given for a particular task – or the lack of them 😉 You see dogs aren’t so different to us.

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Dog Training

Are you a Good Citizen?

I enjoy running the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen dog training scheme as I think it’s helpful to have goals to reach. I find it encourages people to focus on honing their dog training skills. And in an increasingly dog-unfriendly world, I think it’s important that us responsible dog owners do our best to fly the flag for

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Dog Agility

What do you need to fulfil your dreams?

Everyone I teach has different ambitions and dreams for the relationship they have with their dog. They range from new owners with their first puppy, feeling their way through the minefield of training advice; to top-flight agility competitors with their eye on specific competition prizes. Each ambition is equally valid, despite being poles apart. And

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Dog Training

Sofa snuggles – what are your rules?

Personally speaking I like nothing better than a cuddle with one of my dogs on the sofa at the end of a long day 🙂 But I can see why people don’t always let their dogs join them on the sofa – and I respect their reasons for doing so. It’s all about personal preference.

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Dog Training

Dog Walks: Cadbury Hill, Congresbury

I’m sure local dog owners will agree with me in saying that this hill fort that overlooks the village of Yatton, is a lovely place to walk your dog. I have always accessed the hill via the car park at the bottom of the hill which is at the end of Henley Lane (see image below).

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Dog Training

Dog Walks: Ashcombe Woods, Weston-Super-Mare

This is one of my favourite woods to walk the dogs in, as there is so much to explore – plus the great disabled track around the woods is perfect for both children’s buggy’s and wheelchairs/ disability scooters alike. The woods are beautiful at every season in the year, and the changing landscape makes it such

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Dog Training

5 Ways to Find the Right Breed for You

Firstly, sorry for my absence last week – add a cheeky foster puppy to the mix of an already busy household, and watch your spare time disappear into a black hole 😉 Hopefully I have a new home lined up for her now, somewhere that she’ll be happy and settled and become someone’s ideal family dog.

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Dog Training

Crufts KCAI Career Zone

The KCAI Career Zone in Partnership with PRO PLAN had a very successful second year at Crufts 2014, with positive acclaim from delegates and peers on the informative seminars and learning opportunities offered. 2015 will see informative and thought provoking lectures from esteemed guests, covering a variety of topics that will interest all who work

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February’s Training Challenge: Ready, Steady, Bed!

This is one of my favourite exercises to teach, and by far the most useful on a daily basis. A dog that understands to get on it’s bed in the face of distractions, is a nice, easy dog to live with. By teaching our dogs this simple cue, we can reward them for doing what

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January Congratulations!

Kennel Club Puppy Foundation Ian and Rose with their sparky little Miniature Schnauzer puppy Indy 🙂 Ben Fitzgerald & Melissa Harding with handsome Alfie the Labrador puppy 🙂 Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Awards Nicola Pilling (Daybreak Instructor :-)) with her two superstars Ricky (9 months old) & Skye (3 years old this month!). Sandra

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Dog Agility

How To Register Your Dog For Agility Competitions

Training going well and fancy having a go at an agility competition? Here’s a guide to what you’ll need to do to enter your first agility show. 1. Kennel Club First off your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club, either on the breed register or on the activity register. If your dog is a

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Dog Training

3 Key Ingredients for a Happy Dog

We all want a happy dog don’t we? Seeing them content makes us happy and they’re less likely to cause us unnecessary stress and anxiety if all is well in their world. But I know from the people I meet through private consultations and home visits that living with a dog isn’t always the wonderful experience that they

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Dog Training

5 Things To Consider Before You Need to Say Goodbye

Today has been a sad morning as my good friend Sara had to make the decision to say goodbye to one of her elderly standard poodles. Hugo aka KC Registered ‘Curly Clown’ was just over 14.5 years old and had lived a charmed and happy life. I had the pleasure of meeting him along with

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Dog Training

Dog Walks: Ashton Hill Woods

For some reason my family have always referred to this particular walk as Belmont Hill woods. But so that you are able to find and enjoy these amazing woods, I am using the better known and accurate name of Ashton Hill Woods instead 😉 This is a lovely walk to tramp around, with a range

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Dog Training

Why Observation Skills Are Crucial to Successful Dog Training

I’ve found the dogs I’ve lived with and worked with to be some of my best teachers. The biggest and most important lesson they’ve shared with me, is just how the devil is in the detail 🙂 You see dogs notice EVERYTHING and they respond accordingly. Sometimes with maddening results. But they’re not being difficult, they’ve

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Dog Training

Is Dog Training Optional?

Following on from my blog post about the BBC’s program, I’m interested to know what my readers think. Is dog training optional? Certainly the amount of training that each owner may want to put in might vary. There’s clearly a difference between how much time you might put in with a dog you wanted to

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Dog Training

6 Puppies and Us: Educational or Entertaining?

Recently the BBC aired a 2-part program called ‘6 Puppies and Us’, which followed the development of 6 puppies and their new owners during the young dog’s first year. On the whole, the dog loving community were up in arms about it – disgusted by the way the puppies were being brought up and the

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Dog Training

January’s Training Challenge: Preparation!

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin Personally I believe that the main reason I have failed at New Year’s resolutions in the past is because I didn’t prepare properly. That’s why January’s challenge is all about Preparation. You see I might want to make an amazing chocolate cake that I’ve

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Dog Training

Fancy A Challenge?

Towards the end of last year, a few readers commented that they would love me to set them a regular training challenge. I thought this sounded like it could be a lot of fun. My instructors and I regularly challenge each other with a new trick or skill that we’ve seen or heard about. What

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Dog Training

Dog Walks: Ashton Court Estate

This week I’m looking forward to the Christmas break as it means some lovely, long, lazy days spent with my family – which naturally for me includes my dogs. I consider myself very lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the world where there are some wonderful dog walks right on my door

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