What do you get when you book a lesson with me?
- The service I provide to you starts well before the day of a lesson and continues well afterwards.
- I offer a “Basics Taster” session for owners of puppies.
- Initial training takes place in your own home, where you and the dog feel most comfortable and where most training will take place.
- I provide a comprehensive and personalised service before, during and after a lesson and provide you with a complete written record of what we are going to do, why we are going to cover the exercises, what we covered during the lesson and the homework you need to do before the next lesson.
- I maintain detailed records of every lesson and prepare personalised training plans for every client.
- I remain available to you at no extra charge after a lesson for telephone / email consultations to help resolve issues.
- You remain in complete control of the training schedule. There is never pressure from me to have another lesson. You call me when you are ready for another session, not when I am ready.
- My rates are lower than most. I offer discounts for multiple lessons.
No other trainer I know provides such a comprehensive service. I urge you to contact my other clients to find out the levels of service I provide. I would be happy to provide contact details.
Where do We Start?
If you approach me with a training inquiry, the first thing I do is send an email explaining who I am and what I offer. I will also make it clear from the outset that I work on a rewards and corrections basis for the dog. I encourage you to research me and my methods and approach any of my former and current clients for their opinions. I will send you a New Client Questionnaire which asks you to provide answers to a host of questions such as;
What do you want to achieve with your dog? Are you able to devote time to training and, together with others who handle the dog, be consistent? Is the dog to be used as a gundog or as a companion pet? What is your attitude to correcting the dog? Do you allow the dog free running in the countryside? What are your routines? Are there any other animals in the household?
and many more ….
This allows me to build up a picture of you and your household, your attitudes, concerns and ambitions for the dog. In turn, this will allow me to target your needs with specific and bespoke training exercises.
The First Session
If you agree to give my methods a go, the first session lasts about 90 minutes, the first 30 of which are spent without the dog present. The first few lessons are always spent at your home talking to all the family. The home is where the handler and dog feel most comfortable and it is where the majority of training takes place. I believe that by involving everyone in the family (and not just the primary handler and ensuring everyone is working together to agreed rules), the dog stands the best chance of not receiving mixed messages when in the home environment. You and I discuss the information provided in the questionnaire. I will expand upon the need for consistency, boundaries, limitations, rewards, corrections, affection, discipline and all the other human inputs that shape the behaviour of your dog. I stress the principle that I will not be training your dog for you, I will be training you to train your dog.
I then ask to see your dog and demonstrate the exercises, explaining what and how throughout. I then ask you to take over and do the same exercises whilst I coach you, offering reassurance and instruction. Training sessions are very much tailored: the experience and natural ability of the handler; the breed, age and personality of the dog, what you want to achieve – all these will affect the content and pace of the lessons I offer.
I use target training as the foundation for all dogs. This involves the use of a placeboard or equivalent. A quick check on Google will tell you more. I bring placeboards with me and, assuming you want to continue with this method, I will lend you one until you can source your own. In addition to the placeboards, all I require you to provide are:
- Your dog!
- a slip lead
- a few items that your dog likes to carry around (anything!)
- Small, tasty treats
After the First Session
At the end of the session, I send you a detailed email explaining all the exercises that we covered with explanations, tips and hints, together with a training programme I would advise you to follow. I also offer the opportunity for any client, past or present, to call me at any time for training advice. I do this because I genuinely want people to succeed and am prepared to give up my time and provide advice whenever required.
The pace of training is dictated by you. I will never pressure you to have more lessons. You decide if and when you want further instruction. This is normally done when one of two stages are reached: either you have mastered the last lesson’s exercises and want to push on; or you are having difficulties and need some remedial help! So you remain in control of everything that happens.
Once we have made progress with the dog in the home environment, we increase the temptations by taking the dog out into more challenging environments in a layered process before eventually taking the dog into open and wooded areas and exposing the dog to ground that is heavily scented with game.
The session lasts two hours and is aimed exclusively at teaching the owners how to teach their puppy. It does NOT aim to produce a well-trained puppy after 2 hours!
I explain and then demonstrate exercises that will help you get on the right path with your puppy, regardless of whether the little monster will be used as a gundog or is a companion pet. I will teach you how to teach 6 skills that I believe are the necessary foundation skills required of any dog:
- Heel work
- “Leave that!” / resisting distractions
- Hunting & Retrieving
Notice that I have included hunting & retrieving. This is not because I am primarily a gundog trainer but because these are skills that the dog is genetically predisposed to do: hunt, find and bring back to the pack. I show you how to get the dog to work with and for you instead of in spite of you! So we are working with natural instincts in order to promote partnership, trust and obedience. It is also great fun for the dog, so is an ideal vehicle to train positive behaviours whilst having fun.
Having explained and demonstrated the skills, I will ask you to repeat them. What is important to me in these sessions is not how well the dog does, for that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know how to teach the skills once I’ve left and know how to take your training forward.
At the end of the session, within a few days, I send you a detailed email with all the exercises, how to do them, the pitfalls and how to take your pup to the next step.
It is then up to you to decide if my methods are to your liking and you wish to continue with me or look elsewhere.
The cost of the 2 hour “Basics Taster” session is £50 + any mileage charges over 10 miles at 45p per mile. This is less than my normal rate of £30 per hour.
Unless by exception, I do not teach at weekends or outside normal working hours (but I’m terrible at keeping to the time limit for lessons and usually overrun at no extra charge!).