Friday, 23 November 2012

Working together

What a rocking November. I've met so many lovely people and dogs and taught great workshops and demos. My last demo for the year is tomorrow then it’s winding down for Christmas and a nice long break with my family. The past month has reminded me that by working in a multidisciplinary team you can achieve some amazing changes in the animals we see. I've never been afraid to refer animals to other people if I feel it’s in their best interests. When owners embrace this and practitioners work together we make each of our disciplines stronger. We also greatly improve the life of that animal, which is why we do what we do right? I see so many dogs who, although will improve with Tellington TTouch Training; also need some thing I can’t give them. Working closely with homoeopathic vets, chiropractors, osteopaths, healers, physiotherapists, hydro-therapists  reward based trainers & forward thinking behaviourists, to name but a few, is a delight especially when we all liaise about the animal and work in the same direction. Over the years I have found like minded, professional, caring people in so many of these areas. It’s a joy to work with them and heart warming to see the look on the owners faces when their beloved pet improves. All the people I work are compassionate and empathic.  Thank you at each and every one of you for being who you are and doing what you do so well.

In amongst the busy teaching schedule I managed to fit in Discover Dogs this year too. Matt & Alex who run Xtra Dog are so supportive of Tellington TTouch and my book. They arranged for me to do book signings all weekend and we all but sold out of the stock they had. A busy but fun weekend and the team managed to talk to loads of people about TTouch as well as getting lots of dogs in harnesses – always a bonus.

If you have been on the books facebook page you would have seen the photos from the TTouch & Hydrotherapy weekend at Hawksmoor. What a fab weekend that was. They have an under water camera in their pool. It was so interesting the difference we could observe in how the dogs moved after some body work or just by applying a leg wrap. The Hawksmoor girls are hooked and the dogs a dream to work with. If you missed it, we’ll be repeating the weekend next year so keep your eye out for that one.

In case I don’t get around to updating before Christmas, have a brilliant Christmas and a happy New Year everyone – take care of your pets over the holiday period. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be even bigger and better than 2012 has been.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Catch up

Wow, so it has been two months since I updated the blog. I must admit I’m not a natural blogger, I’m a bit too private. Anyway so here goes, this is a brief summary of life, work and what happened once the book came out.

I actually had some time off in August. It was good to go away and recharge my batteries. The weather was really hot so I mostly hung out in the sun, slept and visited friends and family. Once home it was time to catch up with clients and think about the autumn events I needed to prepare for. I had several PowerPoint presentations and courses to put together. I love this process because it reminds me of important points when working with dogs, makes me learn new information and gets me appraising practices and methods I use.
The first half of September was about getting my house in order really. So much had been left unattended through the busy months between February and July. I had things to fix, a bathroom to paint etc. I’m happy to report my house is no longer held together with gaffer tape.

I attended the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre Open day. I was hoping to have my book there for people to look at but it had been delayed at the printers for some reason. I was being to think it was all in my imagination and I didn’t have a book coming out at all. The open day was great fun mainly because I was able to catch up with so many people and dogs I’d worked with. The most memorable was Dawn with her GSD Star. I’d helped Dawn with Star as she had been a challenging puppy, fearful of people and reactive to dogs. It was so rewarding to see her calmly sat looking at the world around her. Dawn has done an amazing job and was willing to tell anyone that TTouch really helped her and Star. Another owner who I’d been working with just this year thanked me for giving her back her dog i.e. sorting the issue out. My rescue dog Bea came with me on the day and was so relaxed and calm in the noisy, busy environment. She sat in the car with all the doors open and watched the world go by.

Later on in the month the teaching season started with lots of workshops, demos and staff training. I had a great day at Top Dog Hydrotherapy in Newbury. The following week I was assisting Kathy Cascade one of our Tellington TTouch Instructors teach trainee Practitioners down at Sarah Fisher base in near Bath. For various reasons I’ve not been able to assist on a training for a few years so it was good to reconnect with friends, catch up on the latest changes in the work and pass on knowledge and help new up and coming practitioners. They all did an amazing job and we had a lot of laughs along the way.

The Truth about Wolves & Dogs finally arrived! It looks amazing. The reviews have all been very positive so far and I’ve been doing lots of PR, including radio interviews and book signings. I even got to meet Chris Packham and have my photo taken with him. He was at the Paradise Wildlife Park giving a talk. I train the keepers in TTouch for the zoo animals so it was really nice of them to invite me up for the evening, although the pay off was working on MR T the pig before the talk. Not that it was a hardship at all. You can see a photo of MR T, MR P and me on the books facebook page.

I had no idea how the book would be received by the public but it has been lovely to get so many emails and comments on the facebook page saying how much they enjoyed it. If you have not liked the page yet, just search for the title of the book to find it.

October was so busy with a demo in Sway for Cara Dog Training, A two day workshop for working dogs in Littlehampton, another demo in Reading and a talk about coping with fireworks at the Newbury Dogs Trust. Every weekend has been full but so have the weeks, seeing clients and keeping the publicity machine moving for the book. I also have an article in the Dec issue of Your Dog (Out 7th Nov) so I had to fit in a photo shoot as well. I have a few days off now at the beginning of November before it all goes mad again.

All through October I’ve been preparing Bea for the onslaught of firework season and I believe we are prepared for the worst now. Each day I do a few minutes of the TTouch body work. In the evening she wears her body wrap. I have her on calming herbs and this can be backed up with her homeopathic remedy if we need it. So far so good, a couple of raised heads and listening but returning to sleep quickly. You can never do enough prep for this scary time. Its not to late to start your preparations it really can save you and your dog much heart ache and distress.

What does November hold? Well it is Discover Dogs next weekend. I’ll be on the Xtra Dog Stand talking about TTouch and signing my book. Then it’s up North for a two day workshop on TTouch in conjunction with canine hydro therapy, more demos then Christmas shopping!!!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Breathing space before a busy autumn

I’ve been enjoying some down time in my office catching up on paper work and preparing for upcoming talks and workshops in the autumn. I’ve been invited to talk about Tellington TTouch on the Royal Canin advanced pet councillors course in September which I’m really looking forward too. I didn’t realise what an ethical company they were before I had a meeting with Clare Hemmings would organises the training. TTouch sits well in so many areas and more and more behaviourists are recognising that it can compliment their work. We also find vet nurses are really embracing the method and are using it in their day to day routines. If pet councillors can help their clients by signposting them to a local TTouch practitioner it will be a great resource for them. Additionally I’m designing and writing a two day TTouch course for hydrotherapists, physiotherapists and vet nurses for Hawksmoor Hydrotherapy. Ordinarily I was asked to teach a course just on behaviour but persuaded them to do a combined TTouch and dog communication course. It will be a mix of lectures on TTouch and behaviour, what to look for in the dogs they are working with and how to reduce the stress to the animals and the safety of the practitioner. There will be loads of practical sessions as well as the interactive lecture. The course is almost full, but if you are interested please contact Hawksmoor as they are thinking of putting the course on regularly. The website is or call them on 02476 350221. The email address is
It’s shaping up to be a busy couple of months with demos, talk and workshops. Some are private ones but the public dates are listed on the workshop page so do take a look. A new demo for high performance dogs in November should be really interesting and people are already booking handler spaces.

On a personal note I’m very proud of Bea this week. My shy little rescue dog not only coped with staying at a friends while I looked after her three Labradors but has today been calm and even sniffed all the workmen in the house who are fitting a new boiler. One even patted her on the head without her flinching away. When it was really noisy I popped her in the car in shade or took her out on trips to the bank or to the park for a run. I have to wonder at her improvement over the last 18 months of living with me. Her stress related behaviours are reducing and she starting to reach her true potential as a cracking little dog. Well done Bea.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Heaven and Hell

Wow, I can’t believe it has been a month since my last blog entry. So much has happened. I’ve just had four whole days off and I feel reenergised and ready for the next block of work. Work has dominated, it seems like, every waking hour and crept into my dreams at time. There had been highs and lows with Bea my rescue dog too. On a positive note she is 95% recovered from her fear issue around dogs again. As long as I am careful about not walking her down narrow paths which means dogs come straight towards her she is fine. Still a little anxious but choosing to come to me again, instead of bolting away. The real drama has been a mysterious lump which appeared on her neck recently. She some how managed to cut herself and by the time we got home a short time after a huge lump had appeared under it. I’m 99% certain it wasn’t there before the injury. The vet the next day took a needle stick biopsy and prescribed antibiotics in case it was an abscess. This seemed to work and it was a real shock when two days later the diagnosis was a mast cell tumour, which is one of the really nasty ones. I queried this with the vet as the lump had all but gone and she rechecked it the next day. After another chat with the pathologist we think it was a massive inflammatory reaction to the cut. We are waiting for the scab to come off to be sure but I’m feeling much better about it now. I’m using homeopathy to aid the healing process and it seems to be improving daily.

So that was the hell bit. Heaven of course is always the amazing people and animals I have been working with. I was invites to the Dogs Trust Open Day over at Newbury back in June and had a busy afternoon chatting to dog owners which lead to me seeing several as clients. I’ve worked closely with the centre for many years and teach regular staff training days as well as receiving referrals from them.

My demo with challenging dogs at the beginning of July was amazing. I had more people than ever attend and we had some very positive changes in the dogs. One owner emailed me a few weeks later to say she had seen a big difference in her dog’s behaviour and she was confident she would be able to work through the remaining issues.

My absolute heaven has been working with the keepers at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne. I’ve never meet a group so open to learning about the work and loving working with the animals in their care in a different way. They were eager to try it out on many different species including raccoon dogs, pigs, skunks and birds. One keeper even wanted to try it on one of the leopards. How do you work with one of the most dangerous cat species in the world? The answer is very carefully! Tellington TTouch Training really can be applied to any species and for zoo animals that may be instinctually fearful of human contact, ttouch can really help with stress and rapport building. We also talked about rearing young and recovery from injuries. I hope they see a good result and I’d love to do more with them. In the evening I gave a talk at the Big Cat Experience event at the park. The talk was a success and I had queues of people who wanted help with their animals after. If you get a chance to go to the park, its one of the good ones and well worth a visit, the website is

What’s next? Time to do some more writing I hope and I have a two day course to put together for a TTouch hydro course I’m running in the autumn and a number of articles to finish. Then it’s a full on season of workshops and demos to finish off the year, oh and of course the book launch  for The Truth about Wolves & Dogs. I think I need a lay down just thinking about it all.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My dog Bea

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks supporting Bea my dog who has had a crisis of confidence. She has always been shy around other boisterous dogs but generally copes well with a little support from me. She used to bolt if they were to full on but I quickly showed her that coming to stand by me was a much better idea as I can protect her whist showing her that the other dog was quite friendly and just wanted to say hello. Recently there has been a couple of, what I thought, were minor incidents which she would normally shake off quickly but she took to not wanting to pass other dogs and when they came nearer bolting away from me and them. This was unusual but not a huge problem as I went back to basics with her, using a body wrap for confidence, doing ttouches on her in the park and taking care not to put her in overwhelming situations. In short I wanted to build her confidence up again slowly. At a round the same time I noticed when sitting she was throwing her right hind leg out to the side at a weird angle, some thing she never did. Claire Shepherd my canine osteopath was due to see her this week so I was keen to get to the bottom of this. Bea was also slower to climb the stairs and jump into the car. As posture and behaviour are linked the light bulb came on in my head as to why she was acting out of character. Sure enough her right hip was stuck. The very next day her behaviour towards approaching dogs began to improve. With the osteopathy and continued support with Tellington TTouch the situation can only get better. A play date with friends Monty, Leah and Mandy also helped. It amazes me how discomfort in the body can influence our perception of the world. Unfortunately so many dogs go through life in discomfort and get labelled as difficult. Many of my clients get blocked by vets when I suggest they visit an osteopath or chiropractor but instead suggest they see a behaviourist. Be brave people, if you think there is something amiss fight for your dog’s right to be pain free.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Swimming Dogs & Swarming Bees

I’ve decided I’m a workaholic. It’s the bank holiday weekend and although I’m not seeing clients, well not until Tuesday, I’m still itching to do a bit of work now and then. I’ve been working on an idea for a book which is very much still at the idea and development stage but it keeps popping into my head. I am trying to recharge my batteries after an exhausting four months. Not helped by my dog getting me up at 5.30am with an upset stomach. All better now but not the best way to start the day.

Last Sunday I ran a workshop for the Canine Hydrotherapy Association. It was specifically aimed at hydro therapists but also attracted physiotherapists. The venue and weather were perfect. We spent the morning in a paddock moving around with the shade and the afternoon saw us cooling off in the dog pool with practical sessions. Tellington TTouch can be so beneficial when combined with hydro. It can relax stressed dogs, calm excitable ones and help with pain relief amongst other things.

After a busy week I was walking my dog Bea yesterday and found a swarm of honey bees clung to each other on a low branch. They were cold and wet and as the weather wasn’t getting any better soon, I really feared for the 2000 odd bees’ survival. We need every bee we have as they are so important for pollination. A friend put me onto a local beekeeper that sent the word out and within a very short time they were rescued and re-housed in a cosy hive a few miles away. The cold can really be a problem for swarming bees that get caught out with our unpredictable weather. If you see a swarm please do call the local beekeepers representative who will be very grateful for the tip off.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Pigs, Wolves and more collies!!

It has been a while since my last blog. Just too much going on and little time to catch up on paperwork and prepare for the next thing. I’m in the final phases of editing The Truth about Wolves & Dogs with Hubble and Hattie my publishers. The re-writes are done, just the layout to go. Will it ever be out? In the mean time I’ve had a new idea for another book – I must be mad. I’ll have to do a bit of research and mull it over for a while before I decide one way or another about pitching it to a publisher. One thing I will say it will be about rescue dogs if I do go ahead with it.
On the Tellington TTouch front I’ve seen more collies. I had five of them in my house at once. They stayed all day and went for a run with my dog Bea. She was hilarious mooching alone but doing double takes as five collies hared past her. I visited some lovely cats too. One was having trouble using a litter tray but with a change of tray and some TTouches within a week the owner reported her cat was using it. Some cats, especially older cats or those with less mobility find it hard to turn around comfortably in an oblong tray. I use large round water trays for patio garden pots for my oldies. They are lower to the ground and have so much more space. If you are having trouble with cat litter trays another tip is not to have them to close to the wall as again cats can struggle to feel comfortable turning around.

I went to visit my good friend Pia who works at the Paradise Wildlife Park. They have two socialised wolves that are related to some of the wolves I used to work with. I wasn’t expecting it but Pia and some of the keepers took me in the enclosure to get up close and personal with the girls. Wow, it was amazing to be back in the company of wolves. They were so gentle with me. Tatra even put her feet on my shoulders and gave me a lovely muzzle greeting. Later they asked me to look at a pig that was recovering from a serious illness and was reluctant to stand. At first he was a little defensive of the sore areas but soon relaxed. Everyone watching commented how his face softened and how he looked more comfortable. It was fab. I’m going back in July to do some staff training with the keeper. I can’t wait.

The highlight of this week was another staff training afternoon at the Newbury Dog’s Trust Centre. Maureen, the centre manager is so open and friendly and she loves the TTouch work. We concentrated on ground work as the weather was so nice. It’s so good to see how the dogs can change so quickly in the obstacles with the aid of body wraps and harnesses with a front contact ring. One GSD went from being reactive on the lead towards dogs to being able to sit and watch them calmly within minutes. Another who was so strong and unfocused eventually could take some steps in balance with out pulling us all over the place. The staff seem open to the work and are really getting to grips with its uses.

Next week I’ll be at The Highclere Game show on the Xtra dog stand. Come and see Matt, Alex and myself if you are going. I’m also teaching a TTouch workshop for Canine Hydro therapists. It’s all busy, busy, busy.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Raining Collies

It’s been a week of Collies. These dogs are so intelligent I can see them thinking. They are brilliant at chaining things together, some times getting themselves into trouble. Sensitive and mentally astute they need lots of the right stimulation and direction or they will go self employed. My favourite quote of the week from a really fantastic owner about her collie, ‘The problem is he’s more intelligent than I am’. By the end of the session I figured it wasn’t just her he was brighter than. This dog would look you right in the eye with a ‘Is that all you’ve got’ type of look. It really did make me laugh. He really enjoyed the TTouch ground work we did with him and had an expression of joy and engagement on his face. After being in my company for a couple of hours he was so relaxed he just came and sat by me for more work, all this from a dog that can be wary of strangers. Tellington TTouch is amazing for building relationship and trust, it never stops surprising me.

I’ve also been up the farm this week teaching some river studies days with children. Bea my rescue dog came out on the dry day with us and had a great time. It was wonderful watching her playing and running around the water meadows. She was even brave enough to interact with a few of the teachers and children. When I first met Bea, to encourage her to interact, I taught her to touch my hand. She now does this routinely with strangers she meets and likes. If she sniffs your hand and touches it you are, to her, a friend. She might not want you to stroke her, but a nose touch is a big step forward.

I’ve written another article this week. It’s about a spinal injury case I worked with jointly with a physiotherapist I know. The idea has been rattling around in my head for so long; it felt a little strange to finally have it down on paper. I’ve sent it off to Karl Jones so he can add his bit then we will see what to do with it.

I’m still getting phone calls from people I met at the All About Dogs Show the other weekend. It’s always nice to know you have helped people and their dogs in such a short time. It’s another busy period next week so I’m looking forward to a chilled weekend. Just one more dog to see this, then its spending time with Bea, I need to finish clipping her nails, a job that gets easier each time we do it.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cats, Dogs and Shows

After a few days off over Easter it was back to a busy week. I ran a Tellington TTouch workshop for cats at the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre (DBARC). I had a fantastic group of people who really embraced the work and did a fantastic job working with the rescue cats. In the morning several pens had bumps under blankets. These nervous cats don’t show well and it can take a while to re-home them. Imagine our delight when in the afternoon beautiful cats emerged from under the blankets. So many cats and dogs need forever homes right now. It seems madness to me that people breed un-necessarily or buy pedigree animals. If you have the time and patience, a rescue animal can be so rewarding.
The weekend took me to Newbury Showground for the All About Dogs Show. Many thanks to Alex and Matt from Xtra Dog who are such great supporters of TTouch. Xtra Dog has worked closely with Marie Miller a fellow TTouch Practitioner, and have designed a harness which incorporates the TTouch principles. The fleece harnesses have a ring at the front on the chest as well as over the shoulder. Having two points of contact can really balance a dog effectively and quickly, turning habitual pullers into mild mannered, easy to lead pooches. We had a TTouch ring beside the stand where Marie and I worked with many dogs whose owners asked for help. Lots of the dogs where anxious or scared of something and it was great to be able to give advise and see how simple techniques could quickly start to have an effect. For as many dogs we could help I personally noticed just as many whose owners shouted at or pulled them around as the dogs bucked against tight grips and inappropriate equipment. Some dogs were obviously over faced with the whole experience and in my opinion would have preferred a quiet day at home. On Sunday I had to take my rescue lab Bea with me. She would have found being out and about around the show too much but coped well in the car behind the stand with my Mum sitting with her. She came out once, very briefly for a quick toilet break and then back in the car with a tasty treat. I know her limits and there is no reason to make her ‘cope’ with this, what she thinks, is a scary situation. It would undermine our relationship and destroy her trust I me.

I was over at the Newbury Dogs Trust on Wednesday doing some staff training. I’m invited a few times a year and I’m able to pass on tips to help the staff work with the dogs in their care. They have so much work and so little time to work with the dogs. That makes TTouch perfect as just a few minutes a day can have a profound effect and can really help turn these sticky dogs around. Dogs Trust use TTouch in lots of their centres and at their STAR unit which rehabs the most challenging dogs in their care. I love watching the staff work and come up with ideas on how this ttouch or that body wrap etc. would work with a certain dog.

After a busy couple of weeks I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, (Only one dog to see on Saturday). I know the garden needs tidying but I might just have to chill out with my lovely dog and take her on some long walks in the countryside. Bliss.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Mum's, Pups, Ewes and more

It has been a while since my last blog. I’ve been busy with my other passion which is teaching children about farming and the environment. We have just finished six long weeks of lambing. If you are interested in learning more about the education programme which runs out of Rushall Organic Farm have a look at  Over this period we saw about 4000 children and this year are on target for 1300 lambs. It was whilst in the lambing shed over the Mothers Day period that I came to the stare realisation that ewes get better care than the poor bitches in puppy farms. We often talk about the puppies which are visible due to their being in our world, often sickly, but the mothers live in a perpetual hell. If you can take a few minutes and support that would be great. I understand the physical and emotion issues these ex-breeders go through as my little rescue was used in this way and will bare the scars both externally and internally forever.

On a lighter note recently I’ve run workshops and talks for some fabulous organisations in the past few weeks. I’m exhausted and looking forward to my Easter break but it’s been loads of fun teaching a one day workshop for Cara Dog Training in Sway down in the New Forrest and giving a talk and demo for the Southern Golden Retriever Society in Woldingham. Such lovely people and dogs,  it’s been so much fun. It is great when you and the TTouch work get such an enthusiastic reception.

So it’s chill out time over the holiday weekend but then back in full swing next week with a TTouch cat workshop at Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue and then the All About Dogs Show at Newbury Showground the following weekend. If you are going, see you at the Xtra Dog Stand.

Monday, 12 March 2012

What's in a Word

I recently had a conversation with a friend about a gundog training class she was attending with her dog. She was being corrected because she wasn’t giving the ‘right’ commands. Her, and my opinion, is what does it matter what word you use, as long as your dog understands what you are asking. She felt to have to retrain her dog to the new words would be confusing. She never intents to work her dog to the gun, the class is just to give her young dog more focus and mental stimulation. My own dog has really bad associations with traditional commands. In her previous situation she was obviously harshly trained. The first time I asked her to sit to see if she knew the word, she ran away from me and urinated herself. After much confidence building and patience she is just now, a year and a half later, starting to really enjoy learning. What I have done is take things really slowly and renamed commands. For example I use ‘with me’ instead of heel. Some trainers will be fussy about using two words. It really doesn’t matter; she knows what it means and heels beautifully. Dogs are more than capably of understanding this.

What this highlighted to me is the inflexibility of some trainers. If they can’t move on such a simple point, how can they be adaptable to different dogs? Dogs like humans have different learning styles and speeds of taking on information. Stress can block learning and everything should be done to limit this. If the dog doesn’t understand what you are asking, a new way of presenting the information should be sort. You may have to change the environment you are training in or be creative, like using a prop to aid understanding. Clicker trainers do this by using lures and target sticks. Other trainers have been known to use a chair or their leg to lure a dog into a down. You don’t even need words to train your dog. Think of all those deaf dogs who understand just as many commands as dogs with perfect hearing. It’s just their cue is a visual one not a spoken word.

We have to be adaptive and creative when dealing with dogs. Please don’t limit yourselves or you canine companions by insisting on a word.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Opposite ends of the spectrum

I’ve had two ends of the spectrum this week. That of people who are adamant that dominance training is the only way and owners so in tune with their canine companions it can bring you to tears. I know the owners I like to spend time with. Old school trainers always seem to want a battle with you. In fact this is the basis for their method of training as it puts you in direct conflict with your dog. Surely nobody wants a constant battle. How tiring must that be and how confusing for their dogs? After months researching for my book ‘The Truth about Wolves & Dogs’ I have come to the conclusion that there are two personality types who own dogs. Fixed, inflexible people who don’t want to move with the times and like to control and open minded, forward thinking types who work with their dogs not against them. This may seem harsh and yes there is a third type, the people who just haven’t found reward based training yet. 23 years ago at the start of my long career working with dogs I worked for Guide Dogs for the Blind. At the time we were taught about pack hierarchy, not letting dogs win, who should start a game etc. It wasn’t until I started training as a Tellington TTouch Practitioner in the late 90’s and later when I worked with wolves, that I began to question the old beliefs. The journey I have taken over the last two decades has been an incredible one and I hope the book which is out in July helps others reach the same conclusion as me. That is, you don’t have to battle with your dogs on a daily basis. Teach good manners and give them boundaries. Most of all allow them to express themselves and be your companion. These are living creatures with emotions and it is about time we started to realise that in the dog training world.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Power of our Emotions

I finally have a full weekend off after a long but brilliant month. It’s been tiring and some times stressful with challenging cases. When we feel drained or stressed our animals really pick up on this and can act as human barometers. My first dog Buzz used to let me know I needed to calm down by staying away when I was rushed or annoyed. His perfect recall would disintegrate before my eyes and only then would I recognise that my emotions were running high. He sensed that I needed to calm down using calming signals to help me change my behaviour. He would sniff the ground, move in wide circles and stay away. The second I dropped the irritation he would come bounding up as if he was the cleverest dog in the world for helping me to calm down. My present dog has a different reaction to my emotions. The one anti-social (To us humans, not dogs) behaviour she has, that of eating other dogs pooh, increases if she gets stressed. If I get more annoyed with her, she will hunt and eat more faeces. On days like today when I am light and happy around Bea, engaging her in fun activities the intake of pooh drops. Why am I talking about my dogs foul habits? Because it highlights how our behaviour affects those around us, especially our animals. They are so in tune they pick up our intentions with easy, disappearing at the first thought of bathing them or going to the vets. We rush everything. Just by being patient and allowing them time to settle can make a huge difference. It took me ten months of gentle handling for Bea to be happy for me to clip her nails. I know now that she will be relaxed for me to do this task for the rest of her life. I could have pinned her down and insisted on getting them all done at once but that would only result in a life long struggle.  So the lesson for the week is to let go of irritation and unrealistic expectations and go with the flow. Enjoy the weekend folks and have fun with the amazing creatures that share and enrich your life.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Busy week

It has been a long week with highs and lows. A couple of clients struggled with behaviours from their rescue dogs. One case in particularly distressing as the behaviour, I believe could have been easily nipped in the bud if the owners had received the right advise in the beginning. Inappropriate advice can leave owners struggling both physically, emotionally and financially. I just wish so called trainers and behaviourists would hold their hands up and say they don’t know how to deal with a problem and refer them on to someone more experienced. It is so much harder for the dogs to deal with when they are mislabelled. Often out of date dominance theory methods are employed. This never goes well for the dog and often the owners are left feeling confused, discontented and guilty. Their wallet also feels the pinch.
On a nicer note I have been in talks with various wildlife parks about a book tour and signings. Watch this space and my facebook and twitter account for more info once dates are confirmed.

I spent last weekend at the International Animal Behaviour Training Centre. This is Angela White’s base up in Lincolnshire. She had organised for me to teach Kennel Club instructors and other canine professionals in Tellington TTouch Training. The group of 12 dog handlers and 18 spectators where amazing and fun to teach. In spite of the weather we all enjoyed the wonderful facilities and hospitality. For information about the centre visit

Angela and Mick have a wealth of information about writing, publishing and advertising books and I learnt a lot. Angela had written many books on dog training and breeds. They run their own publishing house. Angela has kindly offered to review The Truth about Wolves & Dogs, thank you Angela and I hope you like it.

In amongst all this Bea, my sweet rescue Labrador had to have a minor op. She never copes well with the experience or the drugs and her recovery is always difficult. She often feels nauseous and paces all night after a GA. Thank dog for ttouch as I was able to settle her and increase the expulsion of the drugs from her body. A visit from the osteopath further increased her recovery. I hated to leave her over the weekend but she coped really well and she showed minimal stress when I arrived home on Sunday night. My Mum had done an amazing job of managing Bea’s stress behaviours which occur when I leave her or other people are around. When I did some ttouches on her Bea felt relaxed and flexible throughout her body. It is great to know she can now cope with my occasional trips away.

Also this week I had an amazing day at the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre in Hurst, Berkshire. DBARC is a forward thinking shelter, who have been working with me for years. I help train their staff and volunteers and see new owners once animals are re-homed if they are struggling to settle or show challenging behaviours. It works really well and I love working with them.

After four days training people in ttouch, seeing numerous clients and one day off I’m looking forward to some time off at the weekend to reflect on the last week and spend time with my darling dog.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Welcome to my blog. I've been encourage on this new adventure by a fellow writing friend of mine. Its a great way of sharing all the news about my work and the new book which is out in July 2012. Its called 'The Truth about Wolves & Dogs - Dispelling the Myths of Dog Training. Its a myth buster on the outdated dominance theory. All those questions you always wanted answered about why you do this or that with your dog, are in there. There are some surprises along the way and some tips on what dogs really need to be happy. It also has 130 amazing photos of wolves and dogs displaying all sorts of fascinating body language, with some cute ones thrown in for good measure. You can pre order the book from Amazon,, Waterstones and WHSmiths. Just type in the book name. I hope you enjoy it.

You can also follow my work as a TTouch Practitioner with workshop and demo dates being posted. I want to share wonderful moments of my Lovely Labrador Bea's recovery from an abused life. She has come so far in just over a year from the cowering wreck she was but we still have a way to go, especially around meeting and interacting with strangers. At home she is a joy to live with.

There will be fun and rewarding stories of dogs I have been working with, to round it all off. Just one slight note I am slightly dyslexic so please excuse any weird spellings or wrong words etc. Nobody is perfect, especially  me!