Where do you get your love of dogs from?
I fortunately grew up with my family always owning dogs, so have always had a love for them. Even from a young age, I would take responsibility and take them for walks and always had a dog by my side. I joined the military at 16, which is where a passion and admiration for dogs and their natural abilities was born.
How do you explain the admiration for dogs in the military?
I witnessed from an early age a dog’s ability and drive to want to work for their owner/handler and the work that a dog was to do – from protection work through to explosive detection. All of this for a tennis ball!
Did you work with animals in the military yourself?
Yes, I worked with horses and dogs – the military is a unique environment where you get the chance to develop skills where your passion lies, something we can’t all experience in normal day to day life.
What did you do when you left the military?
I worked with young people for a while, whilst also working with protection dogs and developing further my training skills with dogs for all manner of roles. I started to work with individuals with their pet dogs, helping them to gain an understanding of what a dog needs and helping people to train well-centred dogs.
I have also worked in Iraq and Afghanistan as Private Contractor for security firms as an Explosive Search Dog Team Leader – responsible for not only my own dogs, but also the training for my team. I have also worked within prisons and secure mental health hospitals as a drug detection dog handler.
How did you get into training pet dogs?
I started briefly during my break with the military, but when I left Iraq in 2007 I decided to continue with my passion for training and educating people to train and work with their dogs. I completed various courses and worked my way up to becoming an instructor in several fields of dog training.
What training do you offer?
We complete everything from basic puppy training through to modifying behaviour, we are also able to train assistance dogs, medical detection dogs and family protection dogs.
How does your training work?
We have a couple of main options, either a block of lessons or residential training. If choosing one to one training, we recommend an initial assessment, this is based on your dog and their training ability together with assessing your desired result from the sessions. We can then tailor the training to your specific needs – all on a one to one basis.
If you want to look at the residential route, maybe because you don’t have the time to dedicate to weekly sessions, then this can be the ideal solution! We will house your dog in our family home for the duration, we aren’t like normal facilities where the dog is kennelled, as we do not think a dog learns this way. During the day we complete intensive one to one training and at night they are ready to curl up after their dinner and have a long sleep! At the end of the training we will give you a thorough handover, enabling you to continue all the good work at home.
Why do you do one to one training?
Have you ever been to a church hall training session where there are multiple dogs and owners, all with different training ability, attention span – and most just wanting to bark or play with each other? Sometimes, a training session with multiple attendees leads to a chaotic learning environment where your dog may pick up skills or behaviours you do not want to teach. By training on a one to one basis it ensures the session time is dedicated to you and your dog, we can go at your pace and learn the skills you want. It enables time to dedicate to learning behaviours in a controlled environment, with no distractions to start – we need baby steps to begin with and by being able to break the behaviour down in this way, it enables the full behaviour to be learnt.
What training methods do you use?
Positive, positive, positive! There are no other training methods – this is about your dog engaging with you and wanting to do the behaviour for you. Whether this is sit or a recall with distractions. All training is positive reward based and we use palatable training treats that are natural and delicious and leave your dog wanting to come back for more! We also fully endorse clicker training.
Have you ever not been able to train a dog?
No, there is always a result that is positive. Some may take longer than others, however all dogs have the ability to be trained – sometimes the owner may prove more difficult! On a serious note, all training is a continuous effort, just because your dog now knows that if you blow your whistle they complete an instant recall to you – if you do not continue with this it will become an unlearnt skill. Think of it as riding a bike – we never forget, but if you haven’t been on one for several years you may be a bit wobbly to start!
Sum up Staffordshire Dog Training in a paragraph?
Positive training for all dogs, passionate about training the owners to re-enforce the training once home, ensuring the relationship and bond between owner and dog is strong, consistent and unbreakable. Our moto is ‘training is for life, not just for the session’