for pleasure

for learning

for sharing

Latest …..

Learning begins with questions


One dog watching

One dog watching

The other dog working
or ….how to train the spectators to quietly rest and watch whilst you work, play, teach a single member of the group

The Power of Passive Learning

The Power of Passive Learning

Active learning: the learner takes active choice of what to do, how to respond, is attentive and making conscious effort
Passive learning: little conscious effort, reward is delivered for minimum effort.

Key Reading

Curiosity drives learning. Be curious

Thoughts that deserve time to digest, integrate and mature into changes.
Or just a way to browse and stretch the thinking muscles.

which course which conference?

The Experienced Dog

Sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions  …

Value of Experience

The personal knowledge and skill gained by doing or applying our knowledge for a period of time…

Chasm opening up?

Are we just making dogs compliant for people or should we consider what is  beneficial for that dog …

Choose to lure

It has become untrendy to lure. Surely our primary choice is what makes it easiest for the dog?

What is a Trainer?

I know what I am, as a trainer. But does my view of “A Trainer” coincide with, or even overlap with yours?

When we train a dog

it grows.
Can we be selfish trainers and still train for the benefit of the dog?

Guidance is not dependance

Shaping was the new sexy protocol to train. No guidance allowed !

Fade in Protocol

Disruption and distraction is always a risk, build resilience and robust learners with the fade-in protocol

Top Training

A selection of the best you can find.

Likely to expand your horizon, make you ask questions of yourself, your understanding and your expectations.
For browsers, for passers-by and of course for training geeks.

Surprising Puppy

After introducing the Obnoxious Puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the delightful Young Man he is turning into.

Obnoxious Puppy

When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Child of Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.

A day of learning

A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day, learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.

Stop doing that

There are times we need to be able to say “you cannot be doing that”.
Yep, me too.

Luring by Hand

Every time food is in your hand the dog will notice. What do we want them to respond to?

Luring at distance

There are occasions when we want the dog to approach for reward by something other than us.

Non-food lures

“the direct use of the reinforcer
to elicit the behaviour”
toys, play, companionship, running, affection ….  all lures

Prepare to train

Setting up the training area and environment before we begin any training, or learning, or teaching will be an important skill to develop.

Cue Seeking

The gap between the consumption of the reward and the begin of the next behaviour allows us to see the effect of the reward to the dog.

More than words

We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.

Going Shopping?

The foundation for food-less pockets, the foundation for extended behaviours, building a strong association  together.

Reasons to use a Clicker

A simple tool that can provides clarity but does not make you a trainer. 

Nose target ?

A popular behaviour that seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs.

Duration Movement

Asking the dog to continue, or sustain a movement in the behaviour we have already taught. 

Duration Stillness

“Stay!”, meaning don’t move, also “you stay here, I shan’t be long” when leaving …????

Re-lease or stay?

Is “staying” is something you
ADD to a behaviour,
ASSUME in a behaviour?


For learning, for pleasure, for exploring






Wheat or Chaff?

Wheat or Chaff?

What is the purpose of this video? To sell a product, to instruct or to inspire? It should be clear from the first viewing. Often we are seeing an unhealthy blend of talking head, dripping treats into bored dog, convincing you of their innate expertise.

Not all lures contain food

Not all lures contain food

“the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour”
This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.

Confused by Collies?

Confused by Collies?

The classic training protocols are too often about supressing the annoying behaviours without realising that a sheepdog can no more stop being a sheepdog than you can stop being a human and become a hamster.

What is important … ?

What is important … ?

… when your dog is sick and fearful? If you have a dog who is sick and fearful you can feel lost and alone. The weight of opinion, expectation and information can be overwhelming. What is right? What is true? What is best? Throughout this journey I have allowed my ethics to guide me. The individual who is Merlin is at the heart of every choice I make.

Isolation hell or solitude heaven?

Isolation hell or solitude heaven?

Strange times often give birth to new insights and understanding.
Certainly a new aspect of empathy as we experience social situations that may not be of our choice.

The Table Game

The Table Game

Coming up to 20 years since I designed this game for my college students in computing – to improve communication!
Who knew it would become a future piece of technology for world of training and behaviour analysis?

… and cruises of course!

Ethics in Dog Training

Ethics in Dog Training

Whether you are an owner looking for help with your dog, a trainer taking your first steps towards helping others or an experienced trainer looking to improve – keep working, keep learning, stay curious.

Changing is growth

Changing is growth

We are naturally attracted to familiar ways of training or living with our dogs. We have often worked hard to learn those habits and there is a reluctance to make changes since this is hard work. It takes mentally energy to note what we are not doing well, recall what changes we need to make, find the prompts that can move us to the changes and then work on the skills those changes require.

Dogs can only behave like dogs

Dogs can only behave like dogs

We should not be trying to change dogs, but change the world in which they live. This extract from Every Dog Every Day brings light to the conflict that can sometimes occur between people’s expectations of dog behaviour and the reality – what dog’s actually do.

More than words

More than words

We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.

The life of my Time

The life of my Time

Time is my ninth generation of collies. He lives for being a collie and all that collies have done for generations – work in partnership and assist in what their Person likes to do. This ranges from collecting sheep off the mountain to toddling round the main ring at Crufts.

One day you will love him again

One day you will love him again

The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.

Are you coasting?

Are you coasting?

Are we coasting or are we improving? Is time so precious that we cannot invest in doing better? Looking at “Leave it” protocols, which are just another way of saying “no”. If we focus our training around what we don’t want the dog will focus on what to avoid. Focus on what we do want.

Get in touch

News on courses, articles and stuff you don't want to miss.