Gemma's Blog

Watch Your Mouth! Part One

As I’ve said before, dog training looks simple – but it isn’t easy. And one of the hardest lessons handlers struggle with is being conscious of what’s coming out of their mouths. Not because of bad language or expletives (though the odd swear word might be appropriate when struggling with a new skill!), but because dog’s notice

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Not Paying Enough v. Overpayment in Dog Training

I think it’s fair to say that we all love to reward our dogs with a special treat or biscuit. Especially those of us who have chosen to use positive reinforcement to teach our dogs the behaviours and manners we would like them to adopt. When people first start training with me they’re quite often

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Puppies

7 Tips to a Stress-Free First Night With Your New Puppy

Welcoming a new puppy or rescue dog into your home is such an exciting time! But if you’re doing it for the first time, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Here’s my top tips to get you through your first night in one piece: Bringing them Home I always aim to take the day off when

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Working Up to That Magic Relationship

This weekend, we attended our second ever agility show, and what was amazing was that I had two fellow trainers – Gemma and Nic – on hand to talk over my performance. I had a really awesome day out, but as an agility newbie, I still struggle with the “handling” part or our performance. And,

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Why I do NOT need to be a pack leader – do you?

It’s a wonderful part of my job to meet new people and dogs on a regular basis, and this week has been no exception. What I’m always interested to see is how quickly the words ‘dominance’ or ‘pack leader’ comes up in conversation. These labels came about after the research in 1947 of Rudolph Schenkel, an animal

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When should I first let my puppy off the lead? (Part 2)

So what to do if you’re reading this as the owner of a boisterous, young, adolescent dog rather than a malleable, fluffy bundle of small puppy? Well first off I might surprise you and say that it’s very little about what you do when you let your dog off the lead, and more about their

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When should I first let my puppy off the lead? (Part 1)

In an ideal world I’d be asked this question by owners of small puppies, those who have just finished their vaccination courses and are just thinking about going out for their first walks. Unfortunately I’m usually asked this by people who have bigger, more boisterous and confident 6 month old plus puppies – youngsters who

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Does your dog REALLY want to be cuddled?

I know a lot of dogs owners who would immediately answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”, but is that really the case? Don’t forget, having a hug or cuddle is a human expression of love and affection not a dog one. And whilst they may tolerate it because they love us, it doesn’t mean they’re enjoying

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Is a Lurcher the dog for you?

As part of my ongoing dog training education, I am currently completing the LLAAI (Lauren Langman Accredited Agility Instructor) Level One along with my instructing team. One of the tasks I was assigned was to research a particular breed or group of dogs, as it’s obviously important for instructors to have a good knowledge of the dogs we

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3 Bugbears of Mine About Extendable Leads

It just so happens that I’ve seen examples of 3 of my top bugbears with extendable leads this week. Now for all those people out there who love their extendable leads, bear with me. I’m pretty sure my reasons for disliking them are as a valid as yours are for liking them, and you may even find

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How do I stop my dog nipping me when he’s overexcited?

There are two approaches to the problem of over-excitement and the subsequent problem behaviours in our dogs – either avoid the dogs getting over-excited in the first place, or train them whilst they are very excited so they learn to respond regardless of the situation. My favourite is the latter, for the simple reason that

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How do I stop my new rescue dog toileting overnight?

First off some background to this question… My Mum has taken on a rescue dog as a companion for her and my Dad, following the loss of their much loved Polly last year. She wanted a 2 year old Cocker Spaniel and has ended up with a 6+ year old Cocker Spaniel ex breeding bitch

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Dog Training

My Top 10 Suggestions for Training Treats Your Dog Will Love

Adult Dogs The below are my suggestions for training treats that my dogs enjoy and I have found beneficial in building enthusiasm and excitement for the exercises and games that I play with them. However different treats will be more or less attractive to different dogs. Ella has always LOVED fishy treats, but the first

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My Top 3 Nina Ottosson Dog Toys

What are Nina Ottosson Toys anyway? Well they’re like the canine equivalent of Sudoko or Scrabble – mind teasers for dogs, using their brains rather than their brawn to figure them out. Here’s a video clip of a VERY cute small dog having a play from Nina’s YouTube channel: There is a vast array of

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Ouch! How to stop your new puppy biting you to pieces!

I think we’ve all seen cute pictures of puppies with quotes like “Dogs leave paw prints on your heart” – and I’d agree they certainly do. However no-one makes much mention of the marks their teeth leave on your hands and furniture. And oh my do puppy teeth HURT! So why are they biting? Well

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Car sickness is spoiling my dog’s fun when we travel in the car!

Thanks for today’s blog post goes to Daybreak instructor Nicola Pilling, who’s own experience with a car sick young dog caused her to do her own research into a solution. With the majority of dogs, travel sickness relates to stress, rather than just the motion of the car. It is thought that this goes back

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Hot Tip For Increased Energy Levels & Wellbeing!

Anyone who knows me, knows that the health and well-being of my dogs is something I’m pretty fanatical about. Their nutrition, exercise and physical condition are all factors that I spend a LOT of time  thinking about – not to mention the money involved! Ironic then that I’m slightly overweight, suffering from a painful shoulder

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UK Agility Easter, 19th April 2014

I love Easter – and no, not just because of the chocolate! 😉 For Martin and I it’s the start of our agility competition season, a chance to test everything we’ve been working on throughout the winter months. Because at the end of the day, getting out there and testing ourselves is what it’s all

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Suzanne Clothier – coming to England in March, 2015

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. Suzanne Clothier, author of “Bones Would Rain From The Sky”, a must read for dog lovers everywhere, is going to be here in North Somerset, England next March 2015. Can hardly believe I’ve just written that statement – how cool is that?! If you haven’t already read

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Ollie & Murphy’s journey – a poem 🙂

Ollie & Murphy’s  2 year training experience. There was a dog trainer called Gemma, Who, dog wise, was ever so clever We joined a puppy class, and learnt things fast This training lark is a bit of a blast   With the foundation class under our belt We knew our work was cut out Onwards

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Spring/ Summer Agility Schedule, 2014

Some dates for your diaries regarding the changeover from Saturday morning agility to weekday nights. Last Saturday training will be Saturday 12th April 2014 First weekday evening training will start from week beginning Monday 14th April We’ve consciously put agility clients who pay by standing order classes on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening so they

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St Valentine Photograph Competition

In honour of St Valentine, I’ve put together a photograph competition to honour the special dogs in our lives. Particularly those dogs who made a big difference to us, changed our lives in some way, led us down a particular path, or brought a special person or people into our lives. As one of my

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Diet and it’s affect on our dog’s behaviour

As part of my studies for a canine behaviour certificate I’m working towards, I had to do choose two dog foods and research the differences between them, plus the advantages & disadvantages of each. I chose to research two quite different diets – Burns Original Brown Rice & White Fish dried dog food and Nature’s

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Agility Field Trips, 2014!

Believe it or not, we can still remember the feeling of stepping into the ring for the first time – and it’s a complex blend of excitement and blind terror! 😉 Fortunately you are much better prepared to set your dog up on the start line than we ever were, as the training and challenges

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Why playing games with your dog is so important

We encourage people to start playing games with their puppies from a really early age. It’s a really important part of building a strong relationship with our dogs, that we’re a source of great fun right from the word go. This becomes really valuable when we start letting them off the lead and they start

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