Jul 112018

Despite the heat, we managed to put on a display for the fete-goers at Penton Mewsey on Sunday.  It was the most challenging show we have ever done, but when you receive feedback like this, it makes it all worthwhile.

“This is the second time that Stephen and his dogs have performed at the Penton Fete, a quite outstanding display last time and again this year – ample explanation for why we were so keen to get him back for this year’s fete!  Stephen put on a masterful and engaging demonstration of gundog obedience to an amazed crowd at the Penton Fete; a challenging day on what was likely to be the hottest day of the July roasting that we have all had, and one to which both he and his dogs rose with ease and dedication!  His Labradors’ and spaniels’ retrieval skills impressed us all and Stephen’s advanced control and calm manner along with his great banter and humorous dog tricks was a great crowd pleaser and completely won the day. Thank you, Stephen, for a great display and we will definitely be asking him back again next time – it’s a true winner of a display.” Paul Booth, Penton Fete Chairman

Apr 292018

I’ve often thought that the puppies and small dogs I train seem to be a bit lost on the full size boards we use. So I thought I’d have a crack at designing and making some boards just for our smaller dogs! 

Here’s my first effort in time for tomorrow’s lesson with a 9 week old Golden Retriever. Compact, interlocking, lightweight and small, they should be ideal to encourage the pup or small dog to maintain a steady sit, stay and straight line recall.

I’ll try and post a video of the pup using the boards!



Feb 012018

I have just received this from a lady who attended the training workshop I held a couple of weeks ago. She had approached me afterwards and was desperate for help with one of her dogs who was displaying aggression to her other dog and to other dogs that she encountered when out walking. Jazz had become a liability, a constant source of worry and unpleasant to be with. It had reached the point that she was no longer able to enjoy living with her dogs. I spoke at length to her and then sent her a comprehensive list of exercises to help realign Jazz’s behaviour, to re-establish the house hierarchy and to reintroduce calm. Here’s the result:

“No words can explain how grateful we are for your advice. I have read books etc but hearing it from you has made it so much easier to understand. Both Jazz and Tilly are totally calm already when we come into the house – it’s a pleasure coming in now. I feel as if a weight has been lifted from all our shoulders!
I can’t thank you enough.”
This is what makes what I do all worth while. I’ve never done the training for the money. In fact, the help I gave this lady (and most others) was totally free of charge. For me, it’s all about seeing dogs and owners lead more balanced, happier lives together. Result!
Jan 232018

With only 2 weeks of the shooting season left, I was beginning to count my blessings that, for the first time in 8 years, none of the dogs had sustained injuries this year – other than the normal cuts and grazes. Counted too soon …………

  • Poppy picked up a UTI infection and cystitis which saw her needing to wee every 5 minutes. Metacam and antibiotics.
  • Poppy ripped open her nose yesterday. Metacam, hibiscrub and antibiotics.
  • Daisy spiked herself on barbed wire causing an arterial bleed with blood pumping out of a leg wound. Managed to stem the flow. Sickness, lethargy, temperature. You guessed it, Metacam antibiotics and hibiscrub.
  • Just to add to the financial joy of pet ownership, Sparky the boy cat clocked in with a cool £340 bill for heart and liver issues! 

I feel as if I live at the vet’s surgery at the moment. Manor Farm Veterinary Surgery in Codford is just across the road from where we live: they have been superb with us for many years, specialising in working animals, so I am very grateful to all the nurses and vets.

Whilst the significant costs are unwelcome, I am more than happy to spend whatever it takes to keep my pets healthy. For me, it’s part of the deal when you take on any animal. If you can’t afford to care for it, don’t get it.

One more day’s work left for the dogs. I could keep them home, wrap them in cotton wool and keep them out of harm’s way. But they love what they do, they don’t complain when they’re hurt and they live to work. So here’s hoping Saturday evening doesn’t see me once again at the vet’s surgery collecting more  …. yes, you guessed it – Metacam and antibiotics!