About Us


Affinity Dog Training

is Stu Lyall and Sue Lyall MA CANTAB.

Self- confessed dog nerds, when we are not training, walking or breeding we are reading up the latest canine behavioural studies so our customers (and their owners)  get the very best of what the dog training and behaviour world has to offer.

We have a light hearted approach to the serious business of dog training – what we teach is useful and fun. Our common-sense methods, down to earth attitude- and our combined knowledge and experience- will help with any problem.

We do two kinds of training

* Training which is useful and practical but also fun. We teach owners how to teach their dogs how to walk nicely, how to wait, how to leave- it and so on- and we explain how to apply the exercises to real- life situations. This is what we teach in our classes, although, by request, we occasionally do one to one master-classes in people’s homes.

* We help owners iron out a problem or quirk, from barking to aggression in one to one appointments. More info here.

We really can help with anything and we really do make our living teaching old dogs new tricks.

We think that word of mouth is the best advertising we can get and so we work really hard to make sure every dog and owner is happy. We are extremely proud of our reputation here in Northampton and we bust our guts so that each dog and owner achieve their goals and have fun together.

Testimonials and references are available for anyone.

Sue getting her first degree outside Cambridge senate house

We don’t follow tradition for tradition’s sake.

What we teach must be useful, or fun. As puppies are able to achieve the equivalent of the second KC exams (Bronze standard), we offer that test at the end of the beginner class. We also teach leave it very early on in the puppy class so that owners are prepared for teething, as puppies, like babies, put everything in their mouths. Traditionally this is not covered until the third (Silver) course. We don’t teach people to only walk their dog on their left, as it is traditionally done. We think that in real life situations, this isn’t always the most convenient or safe way to walk. We also tailor our classes so we include things which are practical and useful to each person- requests are always welcome.

We don’t “mystically” understand dogs.

We learn by reading up scientific papers and articles. What we learn we tell our customers. We don’t have a magic wand (sadly) but we do have plenty of practical common-sense ideas, hints and tips which are useful and effective. So owners know not only the whats and the wherefores, but also the hows and the whys.

Click here for why being a pack leader isn’t helpful


 We teach dogs by the way they learn 

Studies have shown that the most effective way to teach a dog is with fun, repetition and rewards. We use games to teach tricks or commands … often dogs don’t realise they’re learning as they’re enjoying themselves; owners say that the games are fun and helpful, and useful for learning new ways to interact with their dog.  Studies have found that dogs taught who are taught to process their emotions appropriately and think for themselves are able to make the right decisions.

We encourage good communication so problem moments are avoided. Owners say this is invaluably useful in many situations- like when when the doorbell goes as they are preparing or eating a meal and especially when they are out and about.

To compensate for any over-feeding, we suggest that owners use a portion of their meals as rewards.

Qualifications &  Experience


Stuart Lyall is a trainer and walker. Susan Lyall MA CANTAB is our consultant, qualified with the ADTB as a graduate, able to teach and assess all levels from puppy to gold.  With two Cambridge degrees Sue is also qualified to teach.


The ADTB expect dog trainers to teach responsibly. There are  puppy, bronze, silver and gold levels, teaching basic commands at first, like sit, then later include more difficult chains commands for near roads, like a recall with an emergency stop and lie down.

Dog WalkingP1020042

Stu is Affinity’s dog walker- he loves to go on mad rambles with dogs in Northamptonshire’s beautiful countryside, playing games and making the walks fun and stimulating for the dogs.

Being able to assess dog behaviour he can take steps to avoid any problem situation before it arises.

More about dog walking here

Dog Breeding- Smudgester Breeding Kennels

We have a waiting list for those considering a Labrador or Bearded Collie puppy. More info here

If you are interested in a puppy please contact us, with a few details about yourself.

It is the responsibility of breeders to prioritise health and well-being. We do all we possibly can to give a pup the very best start. Sue’s first experience of breeding was with Tara, the Manchester terrier, in 1991. As trainers we recognise the importance of such things as bite inhibition, toilet training and socialisation. Our mums have the appropriate tests as recommended by the KC and potential fathers are thoroughly researched and picked for their temperament, good health and genetic diversity. Our dogs are registered with the Kennel Club and puppies have pedigree papers.



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