Kay Laurence

Life managed by Border Collies, style demanded by Gordon Setters

Dickon Jojo Bob Ciaran Jack Abacab Murphy Mouse Wally Daisy Clover Buff Lynnie Flight Bobby Kiwi Tip Mabel Quiz Speck Dot Quick Flink Time Merrick Zip Todd

Kay has been involved in training, breeding and rearing dogs for fifty years. What began as a hobby morphed into a full-time business via college teaching and sheep farming. The constant thread has been a passion for learning about dogs and effective teaching.

The business Learning About Dogs was established in 1996 and provides learning opportunities for people with a passion for dogs and who want to make a change and do better.

Kay leads the way in developing innovative and creative techniques that deliver connection and effective teaching blended with passion, joy and enthusiasm. From teaching communication skills, computing for the terrified to sheepdog training for a range of learners. Masters education specialising in curriculum design, learning styles and designing competency based qualifications.

Online courses are the main feature with a wealth of supporting learning in the massive Setter Members Library and Articles. Individual learning is focussed on developing skills for both dogs and people that can make a significant contribution to their future. Training experience has been shaped by working and sports dogs that demand high levels of precision and performance to designing online courses.

Presenter at the Karen Pryor Clicker Expo for 12 years; Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK & Australia; University of North Texas, ORCA Conference for 8 years. WOOF Conferences. Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) Conferences, IAABC Conference Manchester

Designer of the Genabacab Table Game for teaching operant conditioning (aka PORTAL). Designer of the Clicker CAP (Competency Assessment Programme).
Competitor at Crufts in Obedience and Heelwork to Music finals.

Publisher, editor and general collator for Teaching Dogs Magazine. Several books and DVDs on training lifeskills, training and specialities.

A lifetime of learning and living with dogs and teaching people is blended into the Members Library and Courses.

Frances McCormack

Frances came to the world of learning about dogs (in lower case) several years ago via a dog who needed more knowledge than she had at her disposal. After feeling her way around in the dog world and learning much about what she didn’t want for her dogs along the way, she was finally led to Learning About Dogs (with caps) by her best friend and co-conspirator, T: a Border Collie who insisted they learn Sheepballs together. A recovering click-and-dumper, Frances has slowly learned of the importance of attentiveness, the root from which her entire approach to living with dogs has grown.

She grew up afraid of dogs after several bites in childhood, and defined herself as a “cat person” until a Border Collie called Jess, adopted into her sister’s family, persuaded her to expand her horizons. Still, “any dog but a Border Collie” was the phrase she repeated when she planned to adopt her first; her urban upbringing had shown her the fallout of pressured living on sheepdogs. However, the mysterious “cross” in her Golden Retriever Cross turned out to be Border Collie, and Frances, recognising that she was possibly mistaken in her assumptions, became a firm convert to the Society of the Smitten by Sheepdogs.

She has written an extended study on the representations of the Border Collie across multiple types of sources, from the shepherding tradition to fiction to peer-reviewed science, to analyse how our (mis)understanding of the Border Collie is constructed.

Frances is passionate about embracing dogs for who they are, and about compromise and negotiation in interspecies living. A keen educator and researcher, data gatherer, detail-explorer, healthy sceptic, and pattern-spotter, she relentlessly questions all received information and the cultural norms that underpin them. Often while surrounded by cats.

Collie and massive pile of toys

It would be disrespectful to only introduce ourselves when our dogs have shared this journey with us and generously been our teachers. 

This is Tighearnan and his legion of friends. 

Below is Kay with her last appearance at Crufts with Time. One judge placed them first, one judge placed them last. 

Collie and massive pile of toys

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