What a week!

Well, its getting a little chillier isn’t it but we have had a few rain free days recently which makes a change. The supermarkets already have Christmas stuff on the shelves, pet shops have dog Christmas stockings hanging up for sale by the tills full of dog chocolates and squeaky toys – and its not even Halloween yet!!

Yes its that time of year folks when your dog has a poo and you spend 10 mins looking for it in the leaves even though you saw exactly where they did it!!!

I’ve met some lovely people and some amazing dogs since my last post, the graduates from my last puppy class were amazing, the latest class started on Tuesday and it is a lovely mix of puppies – including shy little Smudge, a cocker called Keith and a bouncy Bulldog. I think we are going to have lots of fun together over the next six weeks.

The next Adolescent class starts in a couple of weeks and I am really, really excited – all the dogs ¬†have been to my puppy classes so I can’t wait to see how all grown up they are and how they are doing.

I have been a very busy bee updating my website, and starting a monthly newsletter full of tips, links, funny stories, news and upcoming class dates etc. so if you want to get it (and a freebie help sheet all about Enrichment for joining) go to http://www.leedsdogtraining.com and subscribe.

I have got loads of exciting things going on – planning events for my clients, some seminars/courses including dog first aid as I haven’t done it in a while, one of my dogs Leon did magnificently at Master dog trainer recently and I was super proud of my boy. I am looking forward to a meet up with the other education volunteers at the Blue Cross at the weekend which will be fun. Soon I might be in your children’s school teaching them all about dog safety and animal welfare so wave at me in the playground if you see me! You will probably see Lola too as she passed her assessment to be a Blue Cross Education Dog to come with me into schools – no mean feat it is a tough test – so I’m proud of her too. Plus she looks ever so cute in her Blue Cross coat ūüôā

We also got a new addition to the household – I was getting broody for a puppy but as we already have five dogs, a cat and a tortoise it was a crazy idea – so we got a snake instead (sensible choice I think you will agree!) … Matilda the Corn Snake. Ive wanted a snake since I was about 15 and one of my boys has been wanting one – so here she is.

Now I need to have a little rant…. I know, my blog is a happy place but sometimes we all need to let off a bit of steam.

Puppy farmed puppies – please, please guys stop buying them! … that’s what keeps these places going. Most people are unaware of how many puppies are farmed in the UK and Ireland and many have no idea they even have one. I have lost count of how many I have seen in the last six months and the number I see each year continues to rise. There is lots of research now on the behavioural and psychological problems puppy farmed puppies can develop as an adult – including aggression, either to owners or strangers, fear of people, other dogs and other stimuli outside on walks, separation anxiety, attention seeking, sensitivity to touch …. the list is huge, but people still continue to buy them. Not even starting on the physical problems they can come with.

Yes, I totally get why, when faced with a dirty bedraggled puppy in a car park people just want to save them from the awful people selling these puppies, but once they are sold their mum will continue to sit in a dark, dirty shed producing litter after litter of sad, scared puppies to be sold online.

I am not having a go at people, many people have no idea their dog is one of them until we have the conversation – but education is a must. So if you haven’t already got your puppy, or you want another do your research and CHECK THEM OUT before you buy.

Just this week I have met…

A puppy bought in a car park (off Gumtree) from “two awful men who wouldn’t give me their names” – the pup was in such a terrible state she took him there and then as she just couldn’t leave him.

A puppy bought from a pet shop

A puppy bought online from what they afterwards suspected was a puppy farm, with terrible roundworms, no proof of the vaccinations she was supposed to have had and no reply from the breeder at all chasing said vaccinations once they got their puppy home.

A Border Collie, bought as a puppy from a farm – from a farmer who had a licence (from the council) to breed dogs not just a farmer selling some of his working dog’s puppies, the farmer had told them that the litters of puppies were imported from Ireland to sell here.

Another dog who had come from a breeder who’s house was filthy and disgusting but the kennels where the puppies were housed were clean and nice, there were several different breeds of puppies there.

All potentially farmed puppies.

So on that note I will leave you alone, its nearly the weekend and for once I’m not working and having a couple of well deserved days off. Enjoy your dogs, get them out to play in the leaves, have fun with them – thats, after all what its all about.

Till next time




The Fairydogmother Classroom

New Classroom

Puppy club sign

I updated my classroom so I could start running my puppy classes from home and I am loving it! Smaller classes mean more individual attention for people and their dogs which I love. Plus all my gear is here so no dragging it to venues (and I do tend to ad-lib in classes to help with clients questions and how they are progressing so it is fabulous for that).

CLassroom 1

It is lovely in class that people are so relaxed, the floor is soft and I absoloutely love seeing people siting on the floor interacting and playing with their pups.

Its not a huge room but big enough and now I have run a few puppy classes and all is good I am re-starting an adolescent class for 6 Р14 month old dogs as it is a difficult time; hormones all over the place, gaining confidence but not having the life experience to know what to do in new situations. Keeping up with training at this time is hugely important as they go through a second fear impact stage when your dog can show fear of new situations and even familiar situations as they go through hormonal and neural changes.

Online booking

Admin takes up soooooo much time but I started using some new software a few months ago to save me hours of time. It means people can go on and see what classes are available and book in and pay online.


Social Events and the Fairydogmother Community

I already have my Fairydogmother Page on Facebook for sharing useful and fun dog training related posts – with 848 likes – wow! But I decided to start a closed group just for all my past and current clients to share progress updates, photos of their pooches and share things they think others may find useful. I will also share training tips and ideas to help them along the way. I also think it would be a nice idea to organise social events where people can practice and progress their training so watch this space!!

If you are a client look on Facebook for the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/fairydogmother/ and request to join.

Animals make us smile

This is not at all dog related but it popped up on my Facebook from a couple of years ago and made me smile …. Francois our tortoise decided to climb on top of Sherlock, our cat, ¬†as he had already taken over the warm spot in the corner and as I am currently trying to clicker train my cat and tortoise I thought I’d share a little of the craziness that is our house!!. All my pets get on well and love a cuddle with each other.




I, rather unusually for me, checked the weather forecast last night and it said snow. I still didn’t expect to wake up to this …

I love snow … But I love snow in winter, I had just started getting used to the lovely warm sunshine and distinct lack of mud underfoot. Our puppies (not technically puppies any more as it was their first birthday on Monday) however were LOVING the snow. They have only seen snow once or twice and so lapped our garden about 20 times, chasing each other and rolling around in the snow!

Early Sunshine ūüėÄ

Up early on what is traditionally my ‘lie in day’ as my first appointment is over in Seacroft with a ‘huge’ lab who is pulling his owner over. I’ve no idea if he is a big dog for his breed or just been eating too many pies!. Whichever it is he will seem positively tiny in comparison to the stunning Neopolitan Mastiff I was with with on Tuesday who had a penchant for jumping up at people. Eeeeek!

It’s been a real mixture so far this week – garden barking, protective dogs, dog aggression, adorable puppies, a couple with equally funny and adorable children as their pals, giant dogs who knock people flying (and put them in hospitalūüė¨), labs who think they are sled dogs and a bit of puppy aggression to sort out.

I think quote of the week goes to a lovely funny little five year old girl I was teaching with her puppy, Charlie. On asking her how she knows when her puppy is happy she replied “he sits down and his willy sticks out and turns pink”

What a star ūüėā

Enjoy the sunshine!

A houseful of furry things

We have five dogs, a cat and a tortoise … yes I know that’s a little crazy (we did have three rats too but unfortunately they all recently passed away), all the dogs are very very different in looks and temperament so there is never a dull moment. They all get on great and snuggle up together (yes, even the cat and the tortoise!!).

I’ll start with Leon, he is a rather large, handsome¬†Rottweiler, nearly six years old. He is a big baby except when it comes to protecting his home and family. He likes to spend his evenings watching our Tortoise Fran√ßois potter around the living room, after nearly three years of living together he is the only dog who still can’t quite work out what he is!
Lola is my darling girl, an American Bulldog cross¬†Staffordshire Bull Terrier, she is about eight¬†now and was rescued from a flat where she had been locked in and left to starve¬†nearly six years ago. She is gorgeous, I’d trust her with my life, plus she is very food orientated so she¬†is always eager to learn. Princess, what can I say about Princess? She is our¬†pretty, but very, very greedy,¬†5¬†year old Chihuahua (standard not teacup) and currently on a diet (yet again) as it can no longer be blamed on ‘baby weight’ after having her puppies last year. Which brings me on to Ethel and Tinkerbell, her puppies, adorable is the only word to describe them. Despite always being a ‘big dog’ girl in the past I totally and utterly get why people love having little dogs now. Totally different from each other in looks and character they are hairy little things¬†as their dad is the tiniest teacup Yorkshire Terrier I have ever seen. Sherlock, our cat is cool as a cucumber and just gets on with it in a house full of dogs.


A bit of history

I have loved animals, and dogs in particular, since being a very small child but the field of dog behaviour has been my main interest for more than 14 years when I first started undertaking Canine Psychology courses.

From around 1998 until 2006 I worked for a local rescue centre as a volunteer, spending time on a daily basis walking dogs, fostering puppies and spending time with the many cruelty cases they took in with their varied behaviour problems. One of my own dogs at the time, Billy, had some behavioural problems and wanting to understand and help him sparked my interest in dog training and behaviour. I took dog assessment courses on behalf of the charity and canine behaviour courses and also spent several years as a trustee.
Since then I have passionately enjoyed learning about dog behaviour and along with years of hands on working with dogs I have undertaken courses with Compass Education, IABTC and The Animal Care College including – and as often as possible I attend seminars run by well known behaviourists as there is always something new to be learnt. I am currently working towards my KCAI accreditation with the Kennel Club.
I am a presenter for Family Dog and Doggone Safe (Be a tree), both of which are aimed at helping children learn how to be safe around dogs.

Dellys doggy day centre

Last Friday I went to see Adele for the open day for her¬†new dog daycare centre in Ilkley. Its way, way, off the beaten track in lovely rolling fields with fenced off areas for dogs who love nothing better than sniffing, digging, playing and romping around in the fresh air. It was a bit chilly that morning but hot coffee and several biscuits later during my tour we have come up with a plan to provide a¬†service for Adele’s clients to have one to one training sessions whilst in¬†daycare. After an initial phone call or meeting with the dog’s owners to find out what their training issues are¬†I can provide¬†one off or weekly/monthly training sessions with the dogs whist they are at the day centre. I know people have busy lives and may just need a little extra help to speed up their pet’s training whilst they are busy at work. ¬†This obviously must run alongside sessions¬†with their owner at¬†home to update on progress and make sure they know how to continue their training on a day to day basis. There is also a small area for classes.

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 19.35.01

I had a lovely morning and I really hope Adele makes a big success¬†of her new venture,¬†it was¬†lovely to see all the dogs playing happily together and¬†pottering round on their own rooting around in all the trees and bushes. Follow the link below to have a look … she¬†also picks up and drops off the dogs so if you fancy letting your dog have a ‘play day’ give her a ring.


Its looking a little bit like Spring!

Well, what have I done this week? Its school holidays so quieter than usual as I like spending time with my boys. The training room is still out of action because of a leak in the roof so I have been all over the place visiting dogs at their homes. Though often its much better to see dogs in their ‘natural environment’ to see how they (and their humans) behave at home if clients live a little too far away it means I can fit them in sooner if they can come to me.

An unusual week as Ive had cats and guinea pigs to feed which has been fun as they are all lovely. Ron (one of the cats) doesn’t even mind me giving him his tablets! ūüôā

I few dogs of I have met this week:¬†A¬†very exuberant but beautiful Red Fox Lab in Harrogate who was just too excited and super bouncy about everything in his life and needed to learn to chill. I have also ordered his owner a harmony harness to help with his pulling as he has a back problem so¬†teaching Hunter not to pull like a steam train needed urgent attention. Monty the miniature Schnauzer ¬†over in Farsley looked like butter wouldn’t melt with his adorable little face – “its always the quiet ones” hahahaha – can’t wait to go back in a couple of weeks to see how he is doing with his ‘screaming’ at other dogs.¬†Had loads of fun with two adorable Springer pups on Thursday, Piper and Poppy. Poppy is starting to copy all the older pup’s bad habits¬†and needed¬†to help Piper’s owners solve her serious lead pulling¬†issues before¬†Poppy is allowed out for walks and tries to do the same. Rosie the labradoodle won my heart this week, her owners just need to first undo Rosies¬†‘I have to give my paw eveytime I am asked to sit’ behaviour so they¬†can start with some focus practice without getting pawed at every time she looks at them! . It won’t take long though, it’s a habit easily taught by accident as a puppy and can be undone easily with plenty of rewards and consistent marking of the right behaviour.

….. Then my handbrake cable snapped, so off to the garage I go.