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Podcast 139. Real Talk With Gundog Training Experts

 

 

In our latest episode of “Found It Fetched It,” we sit down with the amazing group experts of the Ladies Working Dog Group (LWDG) – Jemma Martin, Claire Denyer, and Samantha Thorneycroft- Taylor. We delve into their journeys, challenges, and the rewarding aspects of being gundog trainers. This blog post captures the essence of their experiences and highlights the valuable insights they shared.

The Journey to Becoming Gundog Trainers

Inspiration and Beginnings

Each of our experts had a unique journey that led them to become gundog trainers. Jemma always wanted a Cocker Spaniel and discovered her passion for training through her experiences with her own dog, she transitioned from the police force to dog training, driven by her desire to help people and their dogs. Claire found her way into gundog training through a love of behavior studies and a desire to rehabilitate dogs, particularly after her own dog, Indy, faced significant challenges.

Steps to Success

The paths to becoming successful gundog trainers varied for each expert. They talked about the importance of continuous learning, both through formal education and practical experience. Whether it was through courses, workshops, or hands-on training, each trainer highlighted the necessity of gaining knowledge and adapting to the unique needs of each dog and owner they work with.

Challenges and Rewards in Gundog Training

Overcoming Obstacles

One of the recurring themes in the discussion was the emotional investment in their clients and their dogs. The experts shared how challenging it can be to stay motivated and resilient, especially when clients don’t follow through with the necessary work. The experts highlighted the importance of setting boundaries and managing expectations to avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Finding Joy in Small Wins

Despite the challenges, the rewards of being a gundog trainer are immense. Watching the transformation in both the dogs and their owners is a source of great satisfaction. Seeing a dog successfully complete a difficult retrieve or helping an owner rebuild a positive relationship with their dog are moments that make all the hard work worthwhile.

 

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Building a Legacy in Gundog Training

Empowerment and Education

The experts hope to leave a legacy of empowerment and education. They aim to instill confidence in dog owners, helping them believe in their ability to train and build strong relationships with their dogs. We talked about the fact that training should be enjoyable and fulfilling for both the dog and the owner.

Sustainable Practices

The discussion also touched on the importance of evolving practices. As trainers, they are committed to continuous improvement and adapting to new knowledge about dog behaviour and training techniques. This ensures that the advice and methods they provide remain effective and relevant.

Maintaining Balance in a Passion-Driven Career

Managing Emotional Investment

Balancing the emotional investment in clients and their own personal lives is a constant challenge. The experts shared strategies for maintaining this balance, such as setting clear boundaries and finding time for personal hobbies outside of dog training. This helps them stay focused and energised, allowing them to provide the best support for their clients.

Personal Hobbies and Interests

Finding hobbies and interests outside of dog training is crucial. For instance, engaging in activities like Sugarcraft or kayaking can provide a much-needed break from the demands of their career. This not only helps in maintaining a healthy work-life balance but also prevents burnout and keeps their passion for dog training alive.

Looking Forward to the Future

The LWDG experts are dedicated to leaving a positive and lasting impact on the gundog training community. They strive to create a supportive environment where dog owners can thrive, continually learn, and build stronger bonds with their dogs. The legacy they aim to leave is one of empowerment, education, and sustainable practices that will benefit future generations of gundog trainers and owners alike.

 


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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Podcast 138. Puppies, Pregnancy, and Pursuing Passion: Dr Laila Curtis-Noonan

Hey friends! We’re back with another insightful blog post from the Ladies Working Dog Group (LWDG). This time, we had an inspiring conversation on our podcast with the fabulous Dr Laila Curtis-Noonan, who shared her unique journey into the world of gundog training, her business adventures, and the newly released training drill guide that’s taking the community by storm.

Discovering Passion by Accident

Laila’s story is a testament to how life’s unexpected turns can lead to the most rewarding adventures. Earning a PhD in Veterinary Medicine, she found herself far removed from that world after becoming a mother. But her love for dogs, especially her gundog Luna, reignited a passion that took her down a whole new path. From researching dog training techniques to establishing a thriving business, Laila’s journey is as inspiring as they come.

The Birth of the Training Drill Guide

The light bulb moment for the training drill guide came from a simple session with her trainer, Gary. A chance conversation about organizing training drills sparked the idea to create a comprehensive guide that could benefit countless gundog handlers. What started as stick drawings evolved into an intricate, binder-based guide featuring over 40 different training drills.

Why This Guide is a Must-Have

Let’s face it: training drills can be daunting. But Laila and Gary’s guide simplifies everything with easy-to-follow diagrams and step-by-step instructions that suit handlers and dogs of all experience levels.

Available in both paper and waterproof versions, the guide ensures that regardless of weather conditions, your training can proceed smoothly. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned trainer, this guide is designed to add value to your training regimen. 

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Building Community and Redefining Success

Laila touched on the importance of community support in her journey. Remember, no one should have to train their gundog alone. The LWDG aims to build a tribe where everyone’s progress is celebrated, from your dog’s first successful retrieve to mastering advanced drills.

You can’t be competitive because every dog is different, every trainer is different, and everybody’s life is different. So all you can do is be competitive with yourself and appreciate that somebody else has worked hard and is getting better,” Laila says. This positive, collaborative spirit is the backbone of our community.

Practical Tips for Every Gundog Owner

  1. Start with the Basics: Even if you have an advanced dog, going back to basic drills can help solidify training foundations and address underlying issues.
  2. Embrace the Guide: Use the drill guide to structure your training sessions. Whether you’re working on area hunting or advanced retrieves, the guide offers clear directions and useful diagrams.
  3. Stay Connected: Join a community, whether it’s online or in-person, to share experiences and get the support you need. LWDG is a perfect example of how a supportive network can elevate your training journey.
  4. Be Flexible: Adjust your training based on your dog’s progress and what you feel comfortable doing. The guide is color-coded to help you easily pick drills suited to your dog’s level.

Ready to Level Up?

If you’re feeling inspired and ready to take your gundog training to the next level, don’t wait! Head over to brackenbound.co.uk to pre-order your copy of Laila’s training drill guide. Available in paper and waterproof versions, this guide is set to become an indispensable tool in your training arsenal.

And don’t forget to tune into our latest podcast episode for the full conversation with Dr Laila Curtis-Noonan. It’s brimming with more insightful stories and tips that you won’t want to miss. As always, join our membership at LWDG for expert-led training, a beautifully supportive community, and all the resources you need to become a confident and skilled gundog trainer.

Stay positive, stay motivated, and remember — no woman should have to train her gundog alone. Until next time, happy training!


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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137. Debunking Myths Around Dog Behavior and Gundog Trainers

 

Debunking Myths Around Dog Behavior and Gundog Trainers

Welcome back to the blog, where tradition meets a sprinkle of modern wisdom, all while enjoying the incredible journey of gundog training. This week, our podcast episode takes a deep dive into some long-standing myths surrounding dog behavior and the role of gundog trainers. If you missed it, don’t worry — I’ve got the highlights right here!

Hello and Welcome!

In this episode, I kick things off by greeting our fabulous guests: Clare Denyer, Jemma Martin, and Samantha Thorneycroft-Taylor, experts in the Ladies Working Dog Group (LWDG). We quickly dive into an engaging discussion on the myth that gundog trainers aren’t qualified to handle behavioural issues in dogs. Spoiler alert: We thoroughly debunk this myth!

Understanding Behavior Modification

We highlight an essential aspect of training: everything we do with our dogs, at the owner’s level, involves some degree of behaviour modification. Whether it’s teaching basic commands or tackling more complex issues, a strong understanding of dog behavior is crucial. Our experts emphasise that any competent gundog trainer naturally incorporates behaviour modification into their training approach.

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The Vs. Trap: Trainer vs. Behaviourist

A significant portion of our discussion centers around the perceived divide between ‘trainers’ and ‘behaviourists.’ Clare makes a compelling point that rejecting the capabilities of gundog trainers just because they might not have a specific title is both narrow-sighted and unproductive. Sam echoes this sentiment, underscoring that effective training requires a grasp of learning theory, regardless of the label.

Myth-Busting in Action

We also explore how many trainers, especially those in gundog training, face the myth that they only work with a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach. The reality, however, is far from that. Modern gundog trainers use a variety of humane and adaptive methods tailored to each dog’s needs. These individualised techniques ensure that training is both effective and ethical.

Labels and Their Limitations

One of the standout moments in our discussion is about the problematic nature of labels in the dog training industry. Clare and Jemma highlight how these labels create unnecessary pigeonholes and confusion among dog owners. Instead, they advocate for an honest appraisal of skills and experience, which is far more beneficial for both dog trainers and their clients.

Real-Life Success Stories

We also share some heartwarming success stories, like the one about a client who overcame her fear of gundog trainers after a bad experience. Thanks to her perseverance and Clare’s approachable, transparent training methods, she now enjoys working with her dog, proving that not all gundog trainers fit the harsh stereotype.

Teams, Not Oppositions

Another point we hammer home is the importance of teamwork among trainers and behaviourists. Sam brings forward a crucial insight: the silos created by professional labels do more harm than good. Instead of bashing each other, we should focus on our collective goal — the well-being of dogs and their owners.

A Call for Honest Training

We wrap up the discussion with a powerful call to action. All trainers should be transparent about their skills and limitations, ensuring they guide dog owners to the right resources, even if it means referring them to another expert. This honesty not only builds trust but also enhances the overall experience for the dog and owner.

Join Us for More!

If you find this post insightful, I highly encourage you to listen to the full podcast episode. We delve much deeper into these myths and share plenty more stories and tips.

Check out Amazon for our LWDG store, filled with recommended books by our members. As always, if you’re an LWDG member, don’t hesitate to dive into our masterclasses or chat with us in the community. We’re here to guide, support, and share a laugh, every step of the way.

Thank you for joining us on this myth-busting journey. Keep training, keep learning, and keep enjoying every moment with your loyal companions. See you next week! And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast for more enlightening discussions.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. We’re here to help you as much as we possibly can. Happy training!

Deepening the Discussion: Listener Questions Answered

We also take some time to address a few listener questions during the podcast. One question we often hear is: “Can gundog trainers really help with a dog’s anxiety?” The resounding answer is yes! Our experts explain that anxiety often stems from a lack of clear communication and training. By providing structured training and positive reinforcement, gundog trainers can significantly reduce a dog’s anxiety, leading to a happier and more confident pet.

Expanding Horizons: Beyond Basic Training

Another common myth is that gundog trainers only focus on basic obedience. In reality, gundog trainers are equipped to handle a wide range of issues, from advanced obedience to specialised training for working dogs. Clare shares a memorable story about a dog owner who needed help with her dog’s excessive barking. With tailored training techniques and a deep understanding of dog behaviour, Clare transforms the dog’s behaviour, proving that gundog trainers are far more versatile than many people realise.

Building a Supportive Community

At LWDG, we believe in the power of community. Our discussion emphasises the importance of support networks for dog trainers and owners alike. Jemma highlights the value of peer support and continuous learning, encouraging our listeners to engage with the LWDG community. By sharing experiences and knowledge, we can all grow and improve together.

Looking Ahead: Future Topics and Guests

We’re excited to continue debunking myths and providing valuable insights in future episodes. Upcoming topics include:

  • The Role of Positive Reinforcement in Gundog Training
  • Navigating the Challenges of Training a Rescue Dog
  • Advanced Techniques for Field Trials and Competitions

We’ll also be welcoming more guest experts who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our discussions. Stay tuned for these exciting episodes and more!

Connect with Us

We love hearing from our listeners! If you have questions, stories, or topics you’d like us to cover, please reach out. You can connect with us through our website, social media, or directly in our community forums. Your input helps us create content that is relevant and helpful to you.

Thank you once again for joining us. Together, we can continue to break down barriers, challenge misconceptions, and celebrate the joys of dog training. Happy training, and see you next week!

Much Love

Jo xx

Get in touch with us!

By email:  joanne@ladiesworkingdoggroup.com


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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Podcast Episode 136. Celebrating the First Ever LWDG Weekender

 

 

In the latest episode of “Found It Fetched It,” we dived into the highlights and experiences from our first-ever Ladies Working Dog Group (LWDG) Weekender event. Hosted in Newport, South Wales, this unique gathering brought together women from all over the UK to share their passion for gundog training, build friendships, and learn from one another. Here’s a detailed look at what made this event so special and why you won’t want to miss next year’s Weekender.

A Dream Realised: The Inception of LWDG Weekender

Bringing Women Together

The idea for the LWDG Weekender has been in the works for a long time. Initially planned for 2020, the event was delayed due to the pandemic. However, the wait only made the event more impactful. The aim was to create a space where women could come together, share their gundog training journeys, and learn from experts in a supportive and empowering environment.

A Perfect Venue

Held in a beautifully converted barn, the venue added a quaint and fitting atmosphere for the event. The choice of location in Newport was special for me, being Welsh, and the venue’s charm contributed to the overall experience. With all attendees staying in nearby accommodations, the sense of community was palpable from the very beginning.

Highlights and Takeaways from the Event

Variety of Topics

The Weekender was not just about gundog training exercises. We covered a wide range of topics, from training techniques to the physical and mental well-being of our dogs. The presentations were designed to offer something new and valuable, even for those who have been part of our community for years.

Engaging Sessions

Our group experts led various sessions that were both informative and engaging. The focus was on practical advice and real-life applications, ensuring that every attendee left with actionable tips.

Special Presentations

We had several guest speakers who enriched the event with their expertise. From Lucy Hall’s insights into setter preservation to Natalie’s talk on preventing repetitive strain injuries in working dogs, the sessions were eye-opening and thought-provoking. There were also fabulous presentations from The Natural Dog Hub and JCB Animal Physio.


 

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The Power of Community

Building Connections

One of the most cherished aspects of the Weekender was the sense of community. The event allowed members who usually interact online to meet face-to-face, deepening their connections. The supportive atmosphere was evident as women shared their experiences, offered advice, and encouraged each other.

Interactive Learning

The live Q&A sessions were a hit, offering a dynamic platform for attendees to ask questions and get instant feedback. These sessions, conducted in a relaxed setting, mimicked the informal, friendly discussions we usually have online but with the added benefit of personal interaction.

Empowering and Inspirational

Starting the weekend with a mindset presentation on “If I am the problem, I am also the solution” set the tone for the event. The theme of empowerment continued throughout, with every session designed to help attendees feel more confident and capable in their training endeavours. The emphasis was on finding solutions and supporting each other through challenges.

Looking Forward to Next Year

The overwhelming positive feedback has already sparked excitement for next year’s Weekender. Plans are underway to make it even more engaging and inclusive, ensuring that every participant feels valued and empowered.

Join Us Next Year

If you missed this year’s event, we highly encourage you to join us next year. It’s more than just a conference; it’s a celebration of our community, a space to learn, grow, and build lasting friendships. More information coming soon!

Final Thoughts

The LWDG Weekender was a resounding success, marking a significant milestone for our community. It was a weekend filled with learning, laughter, and connection. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who attended and contributed to making it a memorable experience.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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Podcast Episode 135. What’s Been Getting Our Goat

 

 

In our latest podcast episode of “Found It Fetched It,” Claire Denyer and I veered off our usual path to dive into a humorous yet serious discussion titled “What’s Been Getting Our Goat?” From social media misconceptions to unrealistic training expectations, we covered a variety of issues that often frustrate the gundog community. This episode aims to shed light on these challenges while offering supportive and actionable advice.

The Weather Woes and Training Challenges

The episode kicked off with a lighthearted rant about the weather. Claire Denyer joined me to share her frustrations about the unpredictable weather, which has been affecting both handlers and dogs. Training in adverse conditions can be tough, especially for young and novice dogs. It’s crucial to consider whether it’s fair for both the dog and the handler to train in such weather. Remember, advanced dogs might cope better, but beginners need a more nurturing environment.

Social Media Misconceptions

One of the major points of discussion was the misleading information rampant on social media. We delved into the confusion surrounding breed standards, especially the distinctions (or lack thereof) between working and show lines. Many people are misled into believing certain breeds can only excel in specific roles, which is far from the truth. All dogs, regardless of their lineage, can enjoy and excel in gundog training with the right approach and mindset.

Overachieving Puppies and Unrealistic Expectations

Another significant frustration is the portrayal of overachieving puppies on social media. These videos can be incredibly deflating for owners struggling with their older pups. It’s essential to understand that those perfect moments captured on video do not represent the entire training journey. Puppies may perform well in controlled environments, but real-life training involves ups and downs.

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The Impact of Heavy-Handed Training

We also tackled the issue of heavy-handed training methods, which are often a result of frustration and unrealistic expectations. It’s disheartening to see handlers resorting to harsh corrections out of desperation. The key is to build a positive, trusting relationship with your dog. Using hands for punishment, especially during critical training moments like dummy delivery, can create long-lasting negative associations.

A Call for Transparency and Support

The gundog training community can sometimes be overwhelming with conflicting advice. From advocating heavy-handed corrections to promoting unrealistic training timelines, it’s no wonder many handlers feel lost. We talked about the importance of transparency in training. Sharing both successes and mistakes helps create a supportive environment where handlers can learn and grow without fear of judgment.

Embracing the Journey with Humor and Heart

As we wrapped up the episode, we stressed the importance of approaching dog training with humour and heart. It’s vital to enjoy the journey with your dog, set realistic goals, and not let external pressures dampen your spirit. Dog training should be fun and rewarding for both you and your dog.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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Podcast Episode 133. Discover the Countryside Alliance with Lottie Clinch

Welcome to another exciting episode of “Found It Fetched It,” where this week we dive deep into the heart of the Countryside Alliance with the incredible Lottie Clinch. Whether you’re a seasoned field sports enthusiast or new to the world of hunting, shooting, and fishing, Lottie’s journey will inspire you to explore the great outdoors and join a community dedicated to preserving and advocating for rural life.

From Horses to Hunting: Lottie’s Field Sports Journey

Lottie Clinch’s passion for field sports didn’t come from a family tradition but through her love for horses and some positive influences, particularly her great aunt Jilly. Moving to Sussex from Yorkshire at a young age, Lottie quickly transitioned from dance to horse riding, eventually finding her way into hunting during her university years.

“Everyone at my school in Sussex was into horse riding. I started eventing and then moved into hunting because it required less commitment but kept me in the saddle,” Lottie recalls.

Her love for hunting naturally led her to shooting and fishing, and today, Lottie proudly holds a firearms license, a shotgun license, and a collection of fishing rods. A pivotal moment was when her great-aunt gifted her an old English side-by-side shotgun in 2020, marking the beginning of her shooting adventures.

Podcast Edition:

The Role of Women in Field Sports

Throughout history, women have played significant roles in field sports, often overshadowed by the perception of these activities as male-dominated. Lottie reflects on the contributions of women like her great aunt, who were pioneers in their own right.

“It’s interesting that shooting, fishing, and stalking are often seen as men’s sports. Yet, historically, women have always been involved,” Lottie notes.

Her diverse interests span from hunting and shooting to fishing and stalking, each offering unique joys and challenges. For Lottie, stalking holds a special place due to its sustainability and the solitude it offers.

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Mentorship and Camaraderie in Field Sports

Lottie’s journey in field sports has been shaped by mentorship and the community camaraderie. She fondly remembers the friends and mentors who took her under their wing, guiding her through the nuances of each sport.

“I’ve been mentored by some very kind, generous people. It’s a privilege to learn from them and to share these experiences with friends,” she says.

Her two teckels, Sprout and Bramble, are her constant companions on these adventures, whether it’s stalking, shooting, or fishing.

The Countryside Alliance: Advocacy and Representation

Lottie’s career path took an unexpected turn when she joined the Countryside Alliance, an organisation she had been a member of since her teenage years. As Chief of Staff and Operations, Lottie plays a crucial role in advocacy and lobbying for rural communities.

“The Countryside Alliance is the voice of the countryside. We do all the advocacy, lobbying, and campaigning on behalf of rural communities,” Lottie explains.

The organisation sets itself apart through its focus on political representation and public relations, working tirelessly to ensure that rural voices are heard in legislative and policy discussions.

Connecting with the Next Generation

A significant part of Lottie’s role involves engaging with the younger generation to ensure the future of field sports. The Countryside Alliance is committed to creating a following among young people, recognising their importance in safeguarding rural traditions.

“We’re reaching out to agricultural universities and freshers’ fairs to connect with younger audiences. They are key to the future of our way of life,” Lottie emphasizes.

Why Join the Countryside Alliance?

Joining the Countryside Alliance offers more than just membership benefits. It provides a platform for rural communities to unite and advocate for their interests. Members gain access to expert advice, political insights, and a supportive community that understands and values rural life.

“We offer our members insurance and invaluable media and policy information. Our subject matter experts are always ready to help,” Lottie says.

For those interested in joining, visiting the Countryside Alliance’s website is the best way to start. The membership team is always ready to assist and provide information on how to get involved.

Call to Action: Join the Countryside Alliance Today!

Are you passionate about preserving rural traditions and advocating for the countryside? The Countryside Alliance is the perfect community for you. By joining, you’ll support vital advocacy work, gain access to expert advice, and become part of a vibrant community dedicated to safeguarding our rural way of life.

Visit the Countryside Alliance website today to learn more about membership options and how you can make a difference.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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Podcast Episode 131. Choosing Between a Whistle and Voice When Training Your Gundog

Training your gundog effectively involves making many decisions, one of which is whether to use a whistle or your voice. This topic was the focus of a recent episode of our podcast, “Found It, Fetched It,” featuring LWDG expert Claire Denyer. Below, we delve into key insights from our conversation, but be sure to listen to the full episode for an in-depth discussion!

Podcast Edition:

Whistle vs. Voice: The Basics

The Role of the Whistle

Many gundog trainers consider the whistle an essential tool, especially for handling dogs at a distance. The whistle is particularly useful for commands like stop or hunt, which need to be delivered clearly and precisely across long distances. The sharp, distinct sound of a whistle can cut through environmental noise, making it easier for the dog to hear and respond.

However, it’s important not to become overly reliant on the whistle. As Claire pointed out, “If you lose your whistle, your voice becomes crucial.” In situations where you might forget your whistle or it malfunctions, having trained your dog to respond to your voice ensures continuity in your communication and control.

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The Power of Your Voice

Your voice is a powerful and versatile tool in dog training. It conveys tone, emotion, and urgency, which can guide your dog effectively even without a whistle. Dogs are incredibly perceptive to body language and vocal cues, often relying more on these than the whistle itself. The nuances in your voice can communicate praise, correction, or urgency in ways that a whistle cannot.

Claire emphasised, “Your voice carries the nuances that the whistle lacks.” This means that while a whistle can signal specific commands, your voice can provide context and emotion, helping your dog understand not just what you want them to do, but also how you feel about their behaviour.

Practical Applications and Real-World Scenarios

In everyday situations, your voice and body language are often sufficient. For instance, on a typical walk, you might use your voice for commands and keep the whistle for specific training exercises or handling at a distance. Claire shared, “On a normal walk, I use my voice for commands and keep the whistle for distance work.”

This approach allows you to maintain clear and consistent communication with your dog without becoming dependent on the whistle. It also helps your dog become attuned to your voice and body language, which are essential aspects of effective training.

Challenges and Solutions

Relying Solely on a Whistle

If you rely solely on a whistle, you might find it impractical to use it around the house or in close proximity. Blowing a whistle indoors or in your backyard can be disruptive and unnecessary. Additionally, there might be situations where you forget your whistle or it malfunctions, leaving you without a means to communicate with your dog effectively.

Relying Solely on Your Voice

On the other hand, relying solely on your voice might not be effective in windy conditions or noisy environments where sound doesn’t carry well. In such cases, a whistle can cut through the noise and reach your dog more reliably.

The Balanced Approach

The solution lies in using both tools appropriately depending on the situation. Balance is key. Train your dog to respond to both voice and whistle commands, ensuring that you can maintain control and communication in various scenarios. Claire noted, “Use both tools appropriately depending on the situation. Balance is key.”

The Importance of Engagement and Relationship

The essence of training lies in the relationship you build with your dog. Your voice, body language, and engagement create a deeper bond. Whistles are tools, but your relationship with your dog is the foundation of effective training.

Claire stressed the importance of engagement, saying, “The real essence of training lies in the relationship you build with your dog.” Your dog looks to you for guidance, and the stronger your bond, the more responsive and attentive your dog will be.

Tips for Effective Training

  1. Avoid Over-Reliance on Tools: Your dog should respond to your relationship and commands, not just to tools like whistles or treats. The goal is to have your dog working for you because of the bond and trust you share, not just for the rewards or commands.
  2. Use Your Voice and Body Language: Dogs are highly attuned to these cues, which convey your emotions and intentions more richly than a whistle. Your body language and tone of voice can provide context and clarity that enhance your dog’s understanding and response.
  3. Build Engagement: Engage with your dog through clear communication, body language, and consistent commands. Building engagement means making sure your dog is focused on you and interested in what you’re asking them to do.
  4. Balance Rewards: Mix verbal praise, physical touch, and treats to keep your dog motivated and engaged. This approach ensures that your dog values different forms of rewards and remains enthusiastic about training.

Conclusion

Claire’s insights emphasise the importance of not just using the right tools, but also fostering a strong, trusting bond with your gundog.

For a deeper dive into this topic, including practical examples and personal anecdotes, I encourage you to listen to our full podcast episode. Your journey to becoming a more effective and empathetic dog trainer can start with this informative and engaging discussion.

Listen to the full episode on “Found It, Fetched It” and join our community conversation on Instagram and Facebook. Your feedback and experiences are invaluable to us! Together, we can help you and your dog achieve your training goals while building a lasting bond based on trust and mutual respect.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

Click Here To Take The Quiz


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Podcast Episode 130. The Role Of A Therapy Dog In Emotional Healing

Welcome to another episode of “Found It, Fetched It,” where host Joanne Perrott sits down with LWDG Guest Expert, Chloe Kinnear . This week’s podcast delves into the life of therapy dogs, and the role dogs play in emotional healing. Here’s a wonderful blog put together by Chloe.

What Is A Therapy Dog?

Therapy dogs are a unique category of working dogs. They provide vital emotional support and companionship in hospitals, care homes, schools, and various other settings.

Podcast Edition:

My Therapy Dog Journey

Let’s talk about my personal experience with therapy dogs. My main partner is Mabel, a Labrador retriever with a temperament that perfectly suits the role. I also have Zeus in training. The training process for therapy work resembled what I did with my gundog – the usual commands like sit, stay, recall, with a strong emphasis on patience. This patience is crucial in both home and working environments.

Initial Jitters And Rewarding Results

My first visit with Mabel to a care home was a mixed bag of emotions. I was both excited and nervous. However, the experience turned out to be incredibly rewarding. It provided a way to give back to the community and witness the positive impact Mabel had on the residents. While Mabel initially showed some stress signals (lip licking and yawning), she adapted quickly and learned to interact calmly and appropriately with the residents. Interestingly, the recognisable therapy dog uniform seems to trigger a shift in Mabel’s demeanour, promoting a calm and focused work mode.

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Qualities Of A Successful Therapy Dog

Not every dog is suited for therapy work. Therapy dogs need to undergo temperament testing and possess specific skills:

  • Heel Work: Therapy dogs must walk on a loose lead and remain under control at all times. Collars are only used during non-working hours.
  • Settle Down: The ability to sit and rest comfortably in any environment is essential. This is typically taught using a settle mat, gradually increasing duration and introducing distractions over time.
  • Grooming Tolerance: Therapy dogs must tolerate petting, grooming, and having their ears and tails touched. This ensures they can handle enthusiastic interactions without becoming overwhelmed.
  • Leave It Command: A strong “leave it” command is vital, especially in hospitals and care homes where dropped medications could pose a danger.
  • Gentle Treat Taking: Taking treats gently is important to avoid injuring people. Pawing and jumping up are strictly off-limits.
  • Patience: Therapy dogs should remain calm and avoid whining or jumping up during interactions.
  • Startle Recovery: Dogs must be able to respond appropriately to unexpected sounds or movements. For example, a loud crash from a hospital trolley shouldn’t trigger barking or lunging.

Considering Therapy Dog Training?

If you think your dog might have the temperament and skills to become a therapy dog, don’t hesitate to explore the possibilities! While it may not be the right fit for everyone, it could be the beginning of a fulfilling journey for you and your dog.

More About Chloe

As a canine behavioural therapist in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Chloe is passionate about helping dogs reach their full potential. Whether it’s basic obedience, gundog training, or helping a rescue dog overcome challenges, Chloe is really passionate about helping dogs be the best they can be. Find Chloe on social media @123DogTraining (Facebook & Instagram) or 123dogtraining (TikTok).

 


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

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Podcast Episode 129. I Love My Dog But I Don’t Like Them

Welcome to another enlightening episode of “Found It, Fetched It,” where host Joanne Perrott sits down with LWDG expert Sarah Drake. This week’s podcast delves into the intricate feelings dog owners experience: loving their dogs deeply while not always liking their behaviour. This candid conversation uncovers the layers of dog ownership that often go unspoken.

Understanding Love vs. Like in Dog Ownership

Sarah and Joanne discuss an essential but rarely explored topic—how it’s possible to love your dog unconditionally but occasionally find their behaviour frustrating or bothersome.

They liken the relationship with a dog to that with family members; there are moments of irritation despite the underlying love. The episode unpacks various factors that might influence these feelings, such as poor weather making regular walks a challenge, financial stress, or emotional pressures that come with dog ownership.

Podcast Edition:

Factors Influencing Our Feelings Towards Dogs

The discussion highlights how external factors like a relentless UK winter can turn routine activities with dogs into cumbersome tasks, leading to resentment. Sarah points out that often, our frustrations with our dogs reflect broader life pressures rather than issues with the dogs themselves. This section helps listeners understand that their feelings are normal and more about circumstances than the essence of their pets.

Navigating the Emotional Landscape of Dog Training

Both Sarah and Joanne emphasise the similarities between managing relationships with dogs and other close personal relationships. They share personal anecdotes illustrating that dogs, much like people, can occasionally “rub us the wrong way” due to their actions, leading to complex emotional responses from their owners. This part of the conversation is particularly relatable for anyone who’s felt guilty for being annoyed at their pet.

Continues below….


 

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Practical Advice for Frustrated Dog Owners

Towards the end of the podcast, the focus shifts to practical strategies for managing moments of frustration. Sarah suggests physical and emotional breaks from pet duties as a way to reset the owner’s patience and perspective.

They discuss creating ‘no-pressure’ scenarios where the dog and owner can enjoy stress-free time together, helping to strengthen their bond.

Conclusion: It’s Okay to Feel Mixed Emotions

The podcast wraps up with an empowering message: it’s normal and okay to feel mixed emotions towards your dog. Acknowledging these feelings can lead to a healthier relationship and better personal well-being.

Sarah and Joanne encourage listeners to share their experiences and seek community support when needed, reinforcing that no dog owner is alone in their struggles.

This episode is a must-listen for any dog owner who has ever felt conflicted about their feelings towards their pet. It not only normalizes these emotions but also provides actionable advice on navigating them, ensuring both the welfare of the dogs and the mental health of their owners.

Listen to the full podcast episode here!


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Podcast Episode 128. Mastering Dog Obedience at Any Distance

In this week’s exploration on Found it, Fetched it, we tackle a subject close to many dog owners’ hearts: why do our dogs act perfectly when close but turn a deaf ear when distance is involved? I had the pleasure of discussing this complex issue of distance with LWDG Group Expert Claire Denyer,  to unravel the mysteries of canine behaviour from near and far.

Podcast Edition:

The Challenge of Distance in Dog Training

“Dogs can behave perfectly well when they’re near us but become seemingly oblivious to commands at a distance,” Claire begins. This common challenge is something many of our members face and is a multifaceted issue depending on whether a dog is too clingy or overly independent.

Dealing with Clingy Dogs Who Won’t Work at Distance

For the velcro dogs that never want to leave your side, establishing a command like stay or a stop whistle at a distance can be particularly tough. “These dogs have what might be seen as visual separation anxiety. They struggle with staying away because they’re unsure about being separated from their handlers,” Claire explains. The solution? “Build the duration of stay gradually before introducing more space between you and your dog. Ensure they’re comfortable with the shorter distance first.”

Addressing Overly Independent Dogs Who Ignore At Distance

Conversely, dogs that cherish their independence might ignore commands when out of arm’s reach. “They don’t see the value in responding to a distant call,” says Claire. To counter this, she recommends starting with smaller distances, using plenty of positive reinforcements, and only gradually increasing the separation as your dog learns that listening pays off, even from afar.

Continues below….


 

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The Impact of Environmental Distractions On Distance

Distractions such as intriguing smells or a new environment can make training at distances harder. Claire stresses the importance of consistency and repetition: “Help your dog focus amidst distractions by reinforcing commands and using cues effectively. It’s all about making your instructions clear and rewarding enough to trump the environmental lures.”

Knowing When to Get Help

Sometimes, despite best efforts, professional help may be needed, especially when simple corrections fail to address the behaviour effectively. “It’s important to find a trainer who looks beyond the symptoms to the underlying causes of your dog’s behaviour,” advises Claire. This approach ensures that solutions are not just temporary fixes but are tailored to foster long-term behavioural improvements.

Words of Encouragement

Claire wrapped up our discussion with some motivating advice: “Training isn’t just about increasing the physical distance but also about building trust and understanding between you and your dog.” She encourages all dog owners to be patient, to celebrate small victories, and to see each training session as an opportunity to strengthen their bond.


This enlightening conversation has been a treasure trove of strategies for anyone looking to enhance their dog’s obedience, regardless of the proximity. Whether your canine companion clings like a shadow or prefers a bit more independence, understanding and adjusting your training approach can make a world of difference.

Listen to the full podcast episode here!


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Podcast Episode 127. Lure Training-Tool or Trap?

Welcome to the subtle art of lure training, where a simple treat can pave the way for advanced dog obedience or set the stage for training challenges. “Lure training, when done right, can transform an energetic puppy into a model of good behaviour,” shares Samantha Thornycroft-Taylor, an expert from the Ladies Working Dog Group, while talking to LWDG Founder Jo Perrott. However, she cautions, “It’s a fine line between a helpful tool and a potential bribe.” Today on our podcast, we explore this popular training method, discussing why it’s favoured by trainers globally and how to avoid the common pitfalls that can turn useful lures into obstacles. Join us as we decode the complexities of using lures effectively, ensuring your puppy’s training is as solid as the bond you share.

Podcast Episode:

Introduction to Lure Training

Lure training is a fundamental technique in dog training, particularly effective with puppies. It taps into their natural instinct to follow by using incentives like treats to guide them into desired behaviours. Samantha Thornycroft-Taylor, from the Ladies Working Dog Group, emphasizes its dual nature: “It starts as a fun, engaging way to teach basics but can become a problem if misused.”

The Benefits of Lure Training

Using lures effectively sets a positive atmosphere for young dogs. Samantha illustrates, “With luring, training sessions are like exciting games. For example, guiding a puppy into a heel position with food initially outlines the desired behaviour in an enjoyable way.” This approach not only captures the puppy’s attention but also seamlessly instills basic commands.

Common Pitfalls: When Lures Become Bribes

The shift from lures as tools to bribes is gradual but significant. Samantha shares a cautionary story: “A dog I trained began to obey commands only when he saw food. This dependency turned the training tool into a bribe, weakening his obedience when the lure was not visible.” This example underscores the vital need to phase out lures appropriately.

Best Practices for Fading Out Lures

Phasing out lures involves gradually making them less visible and less frequent. Samantha advises, “Start by concealing the lure during commands. Use it unpredictably, and eventually replace it with verbal cues and alternative rewards like praise or toys, which Benny adapted well to after consistent practice.”



Understanding Your Dog’s Learning Style

Recognising and adapting to your dog’s individual learning preferences is crucial. Samantha explains, “Like children, each dog learns differently. For instance, some may prefer toys over food as lures. Identifying these preferences early on helps customize a training approach that is both effective and enjoyable.”

Psychological Parallels: Training Dogs and Raising Children

Jo draws parallels between training dogs and parenting, “Just as we sometimes bribe children with sweets to leave the park peacefully, we might use treats to encourage puppies to behave. However, moving to self-motivation is essential for long-term obedience.” These insights emphasise the similarities in shaping behaviour across species.

Conclusion: Mastering Lure Training

In conclusion, although lure training starts as a dynamic and effective method to instil basic behaviours in puppies, its true mastery doesn’t just lie in its application but in knowing when to move beyond it. Samantha Thornycroft-Taylor beautifully highlighted this balance, reminding us that the ultimate goal is for a dog to respond out of respect and trust, rather than just for a fleeting treat. This progression from dependence on physical lures to reliance on verbal commands and mutual respect is not just about training dogs—it’s about nurturing a relationship that respects and understands the animal’s intelligence and natural instincts.

Just as Samantha pointed out, “It’s a fine line between a helpful tool and a potential bribe.” As trainers and dog lovers, our challenge is to use lure training not as a crutch but as a stepping stone towards deeper understanding and stronger bonds. Whether you’re a new dog owner or an experienced trainer, the effectiveness of your training depends not just on the techniques you use but also on your ability to adapt and grow with your furry companion.

Engage with Us Further

Listen to our podcast, Found It, Fetched It, where we dive deeper into practical training strategies and share stories that help you connect with your dog on a deeper level. Your journey towards becoming a skilled dog trainer starts here—filled with hope, guided by expertise, and inspired by countless success stories.

Call to Action

Have questions or want more guidance on lure training? Listen to our latest episode of Found It, Fetched It, featuring discussions with experts and special guests. Tune in now and join the conversation by submitting your questions and comments!

What techniques have you found most effective for phasing out lures in your training routines? Share your tips and tricks with our community!


The Ultimate Guide to Homemade Dog Treats

As dog owners, we want to ensure our dogs are getting the best- and the cost of the best treats has risen with everything else.

So why make homemade dog treats?

How can we give our dogs the best but be budget-conscious? One way we can do this is by making homemade dog treats for them. Not only does this allow us to control the ingredients, but it also allows us to customise the recipes to cater to our pets’ preferences.

In this guide, we will share some basic recipes for delicious and nutritious dog treats that your dog will love.

A huge thank you to Debbie Allery for putting this blog together for us and sharing these amazing recipes.

Getting Started With Your Dog Treat Recipe

The first step in making homemade dog treats is blending the meat. This can be a bit tough on blenders, so if you don’t have a high-powered one, it’s best to chop the meat into smaller pieces and blend it in small batches. The meat can be a mix of liver, heart, lung, or kidneys.

The general rule of thumb is to weigh the meat and add an equal amount of flour. You can use self-raising or plain flour, oats, or a mix of all. Add two to three eggs and a splash of milk to bind the ingredients together.

If the mixture is too dry, add more liquid. If it’s too wet, add more flour. Once the mixture has a good consistency, pour it into a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake until cooked through.

To check if it’s cooked, use a skewer to poke the centre. If it comes out clean, your dog treat is ready.

Fish Cake Dog Treat Recipe

The fish cake recipe features a blend of pilchards in tomato sauce and tuna.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • Large (400g) tin of pilchards in tomato sauce
  • Large (200g) tin of tuna
  • Oz Plain flour or oats
  • 2 eggs

This mix can be quite wet, so consider adding more flour or cooking it a bit longer if necessary.

Liver Cake Recipes

Liver cake is a hit among many dogs. For both recipes, blend the liver and mix in the other ingredients until you get a thick paste. Bake at a low heat of 100 – 150 for an hour or until the cake is solid. Once baked, it can last for 3-4 days in the fridge or can be frozen.

Here are two variations you can try:

Liver Cake #1

  • Large pack of pig liver
  • Kidney and heart (optional)
  • 4oz plain flour or oats
  • 2 eggs

Liver Cake #2

  • 1lb (450g) lamb or ox liver
  • 1lb (450g) self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Milk or water

Method:

Crack eggs into a jug add an equal volume of milk or water and whisk.
Blend offal in a food processor
Add egg mixture and flour. Blend to a sponge cake mix consistency
Empty contents into a greased baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees (350F) for 35–40 mins. Allow to cool and divide.

Chicken and Carrot Cake

This dog treat recipe is a great way to incorporate vegetables into your pet’s diet. For this, you’ll need:

  • 2 Chicken Fillets
  • One Carrot, Chopped
  • 60z Plain Flour or Oats
  • 2 Eggs

Method:

A good strong blender
Blend all ingredients, fresh garlic and turmeric can also be added. Flour/oats quantities are approximate mixture should be a thick paste.

Cook on low heat, 100 – 150 for an hour or until the cake is solid. Once baked it will last for 3-4 days in the fridge, but can be frozen. (Freeze on a baking sheet, then you can break up into bags and containers, and they won’t stick in one big lump!)

Treats In A Silicone Mould

trears added to a silicoune mould for dog treats

If you have a silicone mould, you can also make treats using:

  • Tin of sardines
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Weetabix

Mix these together and bake at 180 for 25/30 minutes.

Energy Balls

These energy balls are a good carb dog treat alternative for dogs that may be sensitive to wheat or grains. Oatmeal contains Vitamin B and linoleic acid, which are good for your pet’s coat and skin. To make these, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • ½ cup dog-friendly peanut butter
  • ¼ mashed banana
  • ¼ cup apple
  • 2 tbsp honey

Mash together the peanut butter, banana, and honey. Add the oatmeal and apple, then stir to combine. Roll the mixture into small balls and serve.

Remember, treats should be factored in as part of your pet’s daily food allowance, so other meals should be reduced accordingly.

With these recipes, you can now treat your dog to some homemade, nutritious, and delicious treats.

Happy cooking!

You can download these recipes here

Podcast Episode 126 – When Your Dog’s Behaviour Feels Out Of Control …

In the realm of dog training, it’s a universal truth that every pet owner will, at some point, feel like they’re at their wits’ end. The scenario is all too common: one minute, your beloved dog is the epitome of obedience, and the next, they’re off chasing a squirrel into the sunset, leaving you shouting futile commands into the void. It’s moments like these that Jo Perrott and Claire Denyer address in their insightful podcast episode, where they delve deep into the signs and solutions of a dog’s behaviour spiralling out of control.

Podcast Episode:

The Subtle Signs Before the Storm

Jo and Claire begin by highlighting a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of dog training: recognising the early signs of disobedience. It’s easy to miss the small moments of regression at home or in the garden, dismissing them as harmless or one-off incidents.

Yet, it’s these minor oversights, like a failed recall in the garden deemed safe because it’s enclosed, that gradually accumulate and lead to significant behavioural issues. The podcast emphasises the importance of paying attention to these early warning signs, as they’re the key to preventing a full-blown canine rebellion.

Essential Insights for First-Time Dog Owners

For many first-time dog owners, the learning curve can be steep. Jo and Claire’s discussion sheds light on crucial insights that can ease this journey. They talk about the importance of understanding whether you’re in the learning, proofing, or trained response phase with your dog. Each stage requires a different approach, from setting up your dog for success in the learning phase to gradually increasing the three Ds—distance, duration, and distraction—during the proofing phase. Recognising which phase you’re in is vital to effective training and avoiding common pitfalls.


 

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Consistency is Key

A recurring theme throughout the podcast is the importance of consistency. Jo and Claire provide vivid examples of how seemingly benign behaviours at home, like failing to enforce a stay command, can undermine training efforts. They stress the need for dog owners to be consistent in their commands and to follow through every time. This consistency helps prevent the formation of bad habits that can be challenging to break.

Understanding and Addressing Behavioural Issues

The podcast doesn’t just identify problems; it offers solutions. Recognising your role in your dog’s behaviour is the first step. But it’s also about reinforcing the right behaviours through consistency, rather than adopting a strict or punitive approach.

If issues like recall problems arise, Jo and Claire advise taking a step back to analyse the situation. This might involve considering environmental factors, revisiting earlier training stages, or simply being more mindful of how behaviours at home could be affecting your dog’s obedience.

Empathy, Patience, and a Sense of Humor

Perhaps the most valuable lesson from the podcast is the importance of approaching dog training with empathy, patience, and even a sense of humour. Dogs are not humans; they’re a different species with their own perceptions and reactions to the world around them. Mistakes are part of the learning process, for both the dog and the owner. Holding grudges or taking misbehaviour personally only hinders progress. Instead, embracing each challenge with a positive attitude and learning from it can strengthen the bond between you and your dog, making training a more enjoyable and rewarding experience.

A Final Thought

In wrapping up their discussion, Jo and Claire remind us that dog training is a journey filled with ups and downs. It’s about setting intentions, being mindful, and constantly learning from each interaction with your canine companion.

Whether you’re dealing with a stubborn puppy or an older dog set in their ways, the insights from this podcast can guide you towards a more harmonious and understanding relationship with your pet.

In the world of dog training, knowledge is power, and empathy is your best tool. So next time you find yourself struggling with your dog’s behaviour, remember the lessons from this podcast.

With the right approach, patience, and a bit of humour, you can navigate even the most difficult of training challenges.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

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Podcast Episode 125 – A Voice For Sustainable Shooting

Welcome back to another captivating episode of “Found It, Fetched It”! In this week’s installment, titled “A Voice For Sustainable Shooting,” we have the privilege of hosting the remarkable Angela Charlton. Angela’s journey is a testament to the power of passion and advocacy in the realm of wildlife conservation and responsible outdoor pursuits. Join us as we delve into her inspiring story and gain insights into the intersection of working dogs, conservation, and sustainable shooting practices.

What We Discuss:

  1. Angela’s Journey: From Wildlife Art to Conservation Advocacy
  2. The Role of Working Dogs in Angela’s Life and Mission
  3. Advocating for Responsible Land Stewardship and Sustainable Shooting Practices

Podcast Edition:

Angela’s Journey: From Wildlife Art to Conservation Advocacy:

Angela Charlton’s passion for wildlife and the great outdoors was instilled in her from a young age, thanks to her father’s influence and encouragement of outdoor pursuits. We’ll explore how her background in wildlife art evolved into a career dedicated to environmental education and community engagement, culminating in her current role as Director of Ramblers Wales.


 

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The Role of Working Dogs in Angela’s Life and Mission

From childhood, Angela was immersed in the world of working dogs, accompanying her father on training days and developing a deep appreciation for these noble companions. We’ll uncover how her love for working dogs intertwines with her advocacy for access to the outdoors and conservation efforts, shaping her mission to promote responsible land stewardship.

Advocating for Responsible Land Stewardship and Sustainable Shooting Practices

As Director of Ramblers Wales, Angela tirelessly advocates for maintaining public footpaths and engages communities in outdoor access. We’ll examine her efforts to challenge misconceptions surrounding shooting, highlighting the importance of education in understanding the sustainability roles of well-managed shoots. Angela’s nomination to the BASC board and her goals to improve best practices will also be explored, shedding light on the necessity of diverse perspectives in policymaking.

Final Thoughts…

In conclusion, Angela Charlton’s journey serves as a beacon of inspiration for those passionate about conservation, working dogs, and sustainable outdoor pursuits. Through her advocacy and dedication, she exemplifies the transformative power of combining passion with purpose. As we reflect on her insights into responsible land stewardship and the harmonious relationship between humans, animals, and nature, we’re reminded of the importance of preserving our natural heritage for generations to come. Let Angela’s story inspire us to be stewards of the land and advocates for sustainable practices in all our endeavors.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

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Podcast Episode 124. “Help, I Don’t Have Time to Train My Dog Properly!”

Dog training often conjures images of extended sessions, replete with treats and toys, stretching into uninterrupted hours. Yet, what if I told you that the secret to a well-trained dog might just be found in the snippets of time we often overlook? Drawing on the enlightening perspectives shared by LWDG Group Expert Claire Denyer , this blog unveils a transformative approach to dog training, one that fits snugly into our fast-paced lives and aligns perfectly with our four-legged friends’ learning styles.

Podcast Edition:

The Power of Short, Focused Training Sessions

Gone are the days when dog training was reserved for the weekend warrior, able to dedicate large blocks of time to their pet’s education. This week’s podcast sheds light on a groundbreaking truth – dogs thrive on short, focused training sessions.

These 5-10 minute bursts of learning are not only manageable for busy dog owners but are actually more in tune with our dogs’ natural attention spans. Just as a brief, intense workout can be more beneficial than a prolonged period of mild exercise, these short sessions pack a punch in terms of effectiveness and engagement.

Training Occurs with Every Interaction

Every moment with your dog is ripe with training potential. From the routine of daily walks to the casual play in the living room, these interactions are the fabric from which obedient and well-behaved dogs are made.

Claire emphasises the seamless integration of training into everyday life, transforming mundane activities into opportunities for reinforcement and learning.

It’s about making the most of the moments we already share with our pets, turning them into valuable lessons that teach and reinforce desired behaviors.


 

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Quality Over Quantity in Training

At the heart of Claire’s message is the principle that the quality of training trumps its quantity. It’s not about how long you train but how well you engage with your dog during those moments. A mere three minutes of focused, purposeful training can significantly enhance the bond between you and your dog, paving the way for faster learning and deeper connection. This approach advocates for intentionality, urging dog owners to be fully present and purpose-driven during each training opportunity, no matter how brief.

Learning Through Play and Downtime

Training doesn’t pause when the toys are away or during a restful afternoon. Claire highlights the overlooked learning opportunities during play and downtime. These moments, often disregarded as non-productive, are actually teeming with potential for passive learning and reinforcement. It’s about keeping your dog engaged, even in observation, and recognizing the value in every moment spent together, ensuring continuous and holistic learning.

Training Can Happen Anywhere

One of the most liberating takeaways from Claire’s podcast is the realization that effective training is not confined to a specific place or setting. Whether you’re in a field engaging in short retrieves or in your kitchen preparing dinner, opportunities for training abound. This segment underscores the importance of flexibility and creativity in training, emphasizing that consistency and adaptability are key to integrating training seamlessly into daily life.

Being Present is Crucial for Your Dog

Finally, Claire reminds us of the significance of being truly present with our dogs during training. The quality of our engagement directly influences our dogs’ responsiveness and learning. An inattentive handler unwittingly teaches their dog that commands are optional. It’s about prioritizing focused, quality time with our pets, ensuring that we’re seen as reliable leaders and sources of learning.

Final Thoughts

This week’s podcast insights offer a refreshing perspective on dog training, one that champions the power of short, focused training sessions and the infinite learning opportunities that everyday interactions present.

This approach not only aligns with the natural learning tendencies of our canine companions but also fits effortlessly into the lives of modern pet owners. By embracing the principles of quality over quantity, being present, and recognizing the training potential in every moment, we can forge stronger bonds with our dogs, enhancing their training and our mutual enjoyment.

So, let’s maximize the minutes, making every moment with our four-legged friends count towards a happier, well-trained dog.


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

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A Day to Remember: Our Gundog Foundations Training in Skipton

It was an early, brisk Saturday morning on the 16th of March when 11 enthusiastic ladies and their eager dogs gathered in the scenic North Yorkshire town of Skipton, ready for a day that promised to be both challenging and rewarding. The occasion? A special training day dedicated to laying down the gundog foundations, complete with the chance to earn the prestigious Ladies Working Dog Group Foundation Certificate.

Our very own Sarah Drake, alongside Becca Doveston from Dovemoor, kicked off the day with warm introductions. They laid out the day’s agenda, setting the stage for what was to become a memorable training experience. The blend of excitement and anticipation was palpable as we all geared up to take our partnership with our dogs to the next level.

Sarah Drake and Becca Doveston

Diving Into Training

The training ground became our classroom, with the crisp morning air filling our lungs and the lush greenery of Skipton providing a perfect backdrop. We started with heelwork, sit, and recall exercises. These aren’t just tricks; they’re the foundation stones of effective gundog training, crucial for ensuring our dogs can operate smoothly and attentively in any setting. The focus was palpable as each dog, guided by Sarah and Becca’s expert advice, began to adapt to the commands, showcasing the beginnings of true field discipline.

Sarah and Becca demonstrated the versatility of the stop whistle, showing us how to integrate it with the day’s exercises, turning each command into a step towards mastery.

A Moment to Recharge

After a hearty session of learning and practice, we took a well-deserved break. Gathering under the gazebo, sipping tea, and sharing stories, we reflected on our progress. The camaraderie among us was a reminder of why we love these gatherings so much – it’s not just about the dogs; it’s about the community, the shared passion, and the collective journey towards excellence.

Post-tea, we split into two groups for more focused sessions on hunting skills and retrieves. It was a treat to watch each handler-dog duo take the spotlight, receiving bespoke advice from Sarah and Becca. This personalised coaching is what makes these days so invaluable.

 

A Culinary Pause and the Certificate Challenge

Lunch at The Elm Tree Inn was more than just a meal; it was a moment to bond, to laugh, and to share our aspirations and challenges. Energised, we returned to the field for the certificate assessments.

Gratitude and Goodbyes

The day concluded with heartfelt thanks, especially to Sue Lister, our LWDG Regional Coordinator, whose support and insights were instrumental in the day’s success. Her equipment tips and the thoughtful goody bags, complete with LWDG pink dummies and treats from Hoddy’s and Cobbydog, were the cherry on top of an already perfect day.

Goody Bags

The Journey Continues

As we parted ways, the air was filled with a sense of accomplishment and anticipation for the journey ahead. The certificate results, awaited via email, would bring personal feedback from Sarah and Becca, offering each of us a roadmap for our continued progress.

This training day in Skipton was more than just a gathering; it was a milestone in our gundog training journey. A day where passion met purpose, and where every lady and her dog stepped closer to becoming the team they aspire to be.

To all who joined, and to those who supported us from near and far, a massive thank you. Here’s to many more days of learning, growth, and shared adventures.

Remember, every step forward is a step towards excellence, and every day like this one is a reminder of the incredible bond we share with our dogs and each other.

Congratulations to all those who passed their Foundation Certifications, and to all who took part in this fabulous day!

Podcast Episode 123. Trusting The Process Of Foundational Training

Have you ever dreamt of training your gundog to perform impressive retrieves or hunt alongside you like a pro? While those advanced skills are certainly something to strive for, many new dog owners underestimate the importance of foundational training.

In this episode of Found It , Fetched it , we’re joined by Claire Denyer and Jo Perrott, to delve into the world of foundational training and discover why it’s the cornerstone of a successful gundog journey.

Podcast Edition:

What is Foundational Training?

Foundational training goes beyond simply teaching basic obedience. It’s about building a strong foundation of manners and behaviours that will make your dog a well-adjusted companion both at home and in the field.

Think of it this way: foundational training is like the groundwork for a house. You wouldn’t build a dream home on a shaky foundation, would you? The same principle applies to your dog’s training. Without a solid foundation, more advanced skills can become unreliable and frustrating for both you and your dog.

For gundogs living in a home environment, foundational training might include:

Basic obedience commands: Sit, stay, come, down, basic retrieve, basic hunt
Lead manners: Walking politely on a lead without pulling
Crate training: Creating a safe and comfortable space for your dog
Manners in the home: Not jumping up, barking excessively, or stealing things

Why Foundational Training is Essential

While those flashy retrieves and hunting skills might seem more exciting, foundational training is the backbone of a well-trained gundog. Here’s why:

  • Solid Foundation for Advanced Skills: Imagine trying to build a complex structure on a weak foundation. It wouldn’t be very stable, would it? The same goes for dog training. Without foundational skills like good recall and heelwork, more advanced training becomes difficult and frustrating.
  • Natural Instincts Need Nurturing: Even breeds with strong natural hunting instincts benefit from foundational training. It helps refine their natural abilities and make them more controllable and reliable in the field.
  • Building a Strong Bond: The process of teaching foundational skills in a positive and rewarding way strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It fosters trust, respect, and a willingness to learn.

Jo Perrott emphasises this point perfectly: “You know, your house on sand might stand up probably at some point is gonna fall apart. So it’s really important that people get these foundational cues, these foundational behaviours inside and outside the house.”

Challenges and Overcoming Them

Let’s be honest, foundational training doesn’t always feel as glamorous as teaching your dog to fetch a bird. It can involve repetitive exercises and require patience from both you and your dog.

Here are some common challenges and tips for overcoming them:

  • Prioritising Fun Skills: Many dog owners get drawn to the flashier aspects of gundog training and neglect foundational skills.

Tip: Use a “poop sandwich” approach. Start with something fun and easy, then introduce the foundational training, and finish with another fun activity to keep your dog motivated.

  • Making it Manageable: Foundational training can seem overwhelming, especially for new dog owners.

Tip: Break down training into short, positive reinforcement sessions throughout the day. Consistency is key!

It’s a common misconception that foundational training is only for puppies. The truth is, even older dogs can benefit from revisiting the basics.

As Claire Denyer  discusses, ” So very often I get new clients come to me and John has the same. They might have a 2, 3, 4 yr old or maybe older dog than that. And they come to us and then there were issues in the training and we unpick everything and it’s like, well, actually the foundations aren’t solid. This is where we need to go.”

 


 

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Building a Well-Rounded Gundog

Foundational training extends beyond basic obedience. It also includes:

  • Handling: Teaching your dog to be comfortable with being touched and examined all over their body.
  • Restraint: Training your dog to be held still for procedures like nail trimming or vet checkups.
  • Muzzle Training: Teaching your dog to wear a muzzle comfortably in case of emergencies.

These skills might not seem glamorous, but they are essential for ensuring your dog’s safety and well-being throughout their life.

Conclusion

Foundational training is the bedrock of a successful gundog journey. It paves the way for a strong bond between you and your dog.

 


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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024: Unveiling “Beyond Pink” – A Podcast Episode on the Pressures of Being Female

On International Women’s Day 2024, we celebrate not just the achievements of women across the globe but also their incredible resilience and dedication in every field, including the unique and challenging world of gundog training. In line with this special day, we’re thrilled to unveil our latest podcast episode, “Beyond Pink: Unravelling the Pressures of Being Female,” inspired by the Barbie Monologue and deeply infused with the spirit of women who find empowerment through gundog training.

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Empowerment Through Understanding and Training

The journey of being a woman, coupled with the intricate challenges of gundog training, embodies the essence of strength, patience, and resilience. “Beyond Pink” delves deep into the societal expectations and stereotypes that women navigate, not just in daily life but specifically in the realm of gundog training—a field traditionally dominated by men. This episode features stories from our community, highlighting the perseverance and empowerment of women who are breaking barriers with their faithful canine companions.

A Tribute to Women’s Resilience in Gundog Training

Releasing on International Women’s Day, “Beyond Pink” serves as a heartfelt tribute to the determination and tenacity of women in the gundog training community. It celebrates the significant strides we’ve made towards gender equality while acknowledging the unique challenges faced by women in this field. This special episode is a rallying cry for all women to embrace their passion, defy stereotypes, and support each other in every endeavour, including the specialized world of gundog training.

Join the Conversation and the Field

We invite every listener to engage with “Beyond Pink.” Share your journey in gundog training, the hurdles you’ve overcome, and the victories you’ve celebrated. Let this episode be a beacon for women in gundog training and beyond, inspiring conversations that drive change, build confidence, and foster a community of empowered women united by their love for dogs and the outdoors.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, let’s pledge to uplift each other, challenge the norms, and pave the way for a future where women in all areas, including gundog training, are recognized, celebrated, and supported. Tune into “Beyond Pink” and join us in honoring the incredible women who are leading the way in gundog training and every other field.

Your Story Is Our Inspiration

Your voice is a powerful catalyst for change, and your story is an inspiration to many. By sharing our experiences and supporting one another, we reinforce the solidarity that drives us towards a more inclusive and equitable world. This International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the strength, diversity, and resilience of women everywhere, with a special nod to our sisters in the gundog training community.

Listen to “Beyond Pink: Unravelling the Pressures of Being Female”  and celebrate the remarkable journey of women in gundog training and across the world.


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Podcast Episode121. Why Dog Training Is Never A One-And-Done Job

Welcome to another enlightening episode of “Found It, Fetched It”! Today, we’re diving deep into the heart of why dog training is a journey that never truly ends. Join us as we unpack the wisdom shared in Episode 121: “Why Dog Training Is Never A One-And-Done Job.”

Podcast Episode:


 

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Why Dog Training Is an Ongoing Adventure 🐾

In this insightful discussion, our experts delve into the misconception that dog training has a finish line. Spoiler alert: there isn’t one!

From puppyhood antics to navigating the tumultuous teenage years, our canine companions are continually evolving, and so must our approach to training.

Influence of Environment on Canine Behaviour 🌳

One key takeaway from the episode is the profound impact of environment on our dogs’ behaviour. With their keen senses attuned to the world around them, our canine friends navigate the world through smells, sights, and sounds. This means that training done in one place may not necessarily translate to other environments, highlighting the importance of exposure and gradual proofing.

Building a Solid Foundation Through Proofing 🏗️

To set our dogs up for success, it’s crucial to lay down a solid foundation of training in familiar surroundings. By gradually increasing challenges in terms of duration, distance, and distractions, we can help our furry companions master essential skills that will serve them well in any situation life throws their way.

Navigating the Challenges of Group Classes 🐕‍🦺

Group training classes can be both a blessing and a curse, as discussed in the episode. While they provide invaluable socialization opportunities, they can also overwhelm some dogs, leading to undesirable behaviours. Patience, understanding, and a willingness to adapt are key as we navigate these communal learning environments.

Addressing Unwanted Behaviours 🚫

When it comes to tackling undesirable behaviours, the team emphasized the importance of compassion and understanding. By identifying triggers and employing positive reinforcement techniques, we can help our furry companions overcome their challenges and develop more desirable habits over time.

Embracing Lifelong Learning and Flexibility 📚

Last but certainly not least, the episode underscored the importance of embracing a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability. As responsible dog owners, it’s up to us to stay open to new techniques, strategies, and insights that can enrich our training journey and deepen our bond with our beloved pups.

So there you have it, folks! Episode 121 of “Found It, Fetched It” delivered a treasure trove of insights into the dynamic world of dog training. Remember, it’s not just about teaching our dogs—it’s about embarking on a lifelong adventure together. Until next time, happy training, and may your tails wag with joy! 🐾

 


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Podcast Episode 120. Innate vs Trained Behaviour

Does everything we train our dogs have to be an instinctual attribute?

In this podcast Joanne Perrott, Founder of The Ladies Working Dog Group, and LWDG Group Experts Claire Denyer of Family Dog Services, Jemma Martin of Whistle and Wag Dog Training, and Samantha Thorneycroft-Taylor of Languedoc Gundogs deep dive into whether we can only train our dogs in a breed specific way.

Podcast Episode: Innate vs Trained Behaviour Podcast

The Natural Instinct

There’s a lot to be said for using your clever canine’s genetic nature when training them to carry out certain tasks and job roles.

A Malinois has strong territorial and protective instincts, a Spaniel has a Very good nose (often ‘too’ good!), a Collie’s herding instinct comes naturally and a Labrador is pretty much born with the desire to have something in its mouth… You get the picture.

When you do your research before taking on a puppy, or even an older dog, make sure that you look into not only the breed traits but also certain lines within that breed. Different pedigrees will have different strengths and weaknesses, and the drive, desire and style of particular breed lines vary immensely too.

Having carried out your research, have a vision in your mind as to where you want to be with your dog in a year or two’s time; use this vision to help mould your puppy into the being that you want them to be.

It’s all too easy to forget what our dogs’ talents are and this can often end in frustration. If you’re the proud owner of a Spaniel, there’s little point in trying to stop it from ever using its nose.

A Dogs’ Heritage

Way back when, nearly all dogs had a job role to carry out and their pay packet was their board, lodgings and meal tickets. Dogs were bred to fulfil a specific need of their owner and that is how many of the breeds we know and love today were originally formed.

It’s well known that every dog on the planet today needs something to keep them mentally and emotionally satiated but the truth of it is that we haven’t enough job openings for every one of them.

The good news is that the modern dog is more than capable of gaining that satisfaction by training and spending time learning with you, their owner – they don’t actually need to ‘work’ in order to receive their pay packet.

Is There Another Way?

As long as you can tap into what your dog finds rewarding, you can use that to train them to do all sorts of wonderful things, to carry out tasks that may not come naturally but can be nurtured and grown over time.

We need to be sensible about the tasks that are asked of our dogs; your average Chihuahua may not have the ‘presence’ to move a large herd of cows to their next grazing field, and it’s not likely that a poodle would have the jaw power to bring down a criminal.

But there’s no reason that you can’t train your dog to execute roles that are not necessarily within their genetic makeup; a Labrador could be trained to point in a specific set of circumstances – upon finding a bird, the trained behaviour/response is to stand, as an example.

 

 

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Finding Your Balance

When a behaviour is second nature to your dog, it’s important to not let it run wild with enthusiasm and self-reward. Ensure you have boundaries instilled and the ability to start/stop the behaviour that you’re working with.

It’s mentioned above that you should understand your dogs’ talents and have an end goal in mind, but we also must acknowledge that not all square pegs will fit into round holes so sometimes our vision of our dogs future will need to be adapted to better suit their abilities.

Always remember that if your dog has a particularly strong innate desire to do something, then not allowing them to fulfil that desire in some way may well lead to cracks in your relationship – using the Dachshund as an example here; If you find yourself tearing your hair out because it chases everything in sight and lacks recall, it’s easy to assume that your dog is simply being naughty but they may well just be trying to use their natural abilities given that they were originally bred to be scent hounds, flushing smaller prey out of their warrens.

In Closing

Whilst it’s often ‘easier’ to nurture a behaviour that comes naturally to your dog, he will love the journey of learning something new with you whether it’s a genetic instinct or seemingly rather alien to him at the beginning.

A trained behaviour might not be as ‘stylish’ to watch (think Bulldog in the beating line) but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Knowing that you’ve spent the time to teach your dog; you’ve broken down the chain into several smaller links, you’ve trained each little part and then pieced
them back together – to achieve that goal is incredibly rewarding!

In short, be sure to embrace your dog and all of its qualities whether instinctual or taught and have the best of times with your faithful companion.

 

 


What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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Podcast Episode 119: Amy’s Journey: From Family Shoots to Gundog Training Days

Amy Weeks, a passionate member of the shooting and gundog community,  shares her inspiring journey in this heartfelt interview. From attending her first shoot at the tender age of 4 to taking on the responsibility of organising and running her family’s training shoot day, Amy’s story is one of dedication, growth, and a deep love for the shooting community.

Podcast Episode:

Getting Started in the Shooting Community

Amy’s journey began alongside her father, who introduced her to the world of shooting at a young age. Attending shoots with her dad ignited a lifelong passion for Amy, leading to her active involvement in the shooting community. Her father’s initiative in starting their family shoot syndicate 15 years ago provided Amy with the perfect platform to immerse herself in this beloved pastime.

Transitioning to Training Her Own Dog

Two years ago, Amy took a significant step in her journey by acquiring her first working dog, Willow. However, she faced the challenge of navigating the training process without much support. Determined to provide the best for Willow, Amy sought guidance from the Ladies Working Dog Group (LWDG), where she connected with experienced trainers like LWDG Group Expert Claire Denyer. Through dedication and perseverance, Amy embarked on a learning journey, discovering the nuances of training her own dog and deepening her bond with Willow.

 


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Organising Her Family’s Training Shoot Day

A pivotal moment in Amy’s journey came this year when she took on the role of organising and running her family shoot’s first training day. With Claire’s invaluable assistance, Amy successfully led the event, despite feeling the weight of responsibility in her father’s absence. The training day provided a nurturing environment for both new handlers and dogs, allowing them to gain valuable experience without the pressure of traditional shoot days.

The Future of the Shooting Community

Despite recent challenges such as bird flu, COVID-19, and poaching impacting the shooting community, Amy remains optimistic about its future. She is committed to inspiring more women to become involved and hopes to continue organising more LWDG Member training days to continue to build a supportive and inclusive community.

As we celebrate Amy’s journey, we are reminded of the importance of passion, perseverance, and community in pursuing our dreams. Her story serves as  inspiration for aspiring shooters and dog trainers alike, encouraging us to embrace their journey with courage and determination.

To listen to Amy’s full interview and join the conversation, visit the link above . Stay tuned for more updates from the Ladies Working Dog Group as they continue to empower women in the shooting and gundog community.

What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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