Smudgey’s still smiling and the pups are getting bigger- their little tails are beginning to work and their eyes look less tight.


Getting the pups ready for their new homes is forefront in our minds. Their ears and eyes will soon open and when they do, they will hear all the sounds of a normal household- hoovers, radios, video games, the TV and  the washing machine, which being used relentlessly at the moment. It will be interestng to see what happens when they hear music- they seem to have favourites- I played Mozart (Queen of the Night, from the Magic Flute) to our last litter when they were around 5 weeks old and it made them all bark! They’ll also hear us talking and laughing. Dogs love it when people are laughing and most rush over to see what is going on.

As trainers, we recognise the importance of socialisation and thankfully we have no shortage of volunteers to come and visit the pups once their eyes have opened. Ian Dunbar stresses how young dogs must become accustomed to people and in order to be well rounded adults,  he recommends that puppies see between 2 and 3 new people every day. The postman has also agreed to see them occasionally while he is in his uniform. Our young relatives and friends have been invited and we are really pleased that some of the children from our class has agreed to come and help us with some basic training.

If you are, or have been a customer of ours and would like to visit the pups, please call us! 07 51 976 2411



Here is Smudgey and her 10 babies, a week old today! They are all gaining weight and progressing well, we’re so proud of Smudgey and Cosmo!

Here are a few individual photos of the pups taken earlier this  week- too cute!


Tip of the week!- Stop your dog chasing their dinner bowl across the floor

P1020366If you have a tiled or wooden floor and your dog’s bowl slips about as they eat, it is very easy to keep the bowl in the same place by putting a tea towel down first. The bowl stays stationary, the dog can eat their dinner in the one place and there isn’t the unpleasant scraping noise as it moves around the floor.

If they are a messy eater it doesn’t matter as the tea towel is easily washed.

It’s a quick and simple solution to an irritating problem (for dogs and people) which is also cost free- fantastic 🙂

Thank you!

P1020349Thank you to everyone who helped to make this event a great success! We have, so far, raised £150 for, a new website which will provide invaluable information about this relatively unknown disease. CRPS is the most painful long term problem- more painful every moment of day than a woman in labour, classified as neuro-immune CRPS can start with damage to a nerve (as in type 2, like Sue) but it is most likely to begin with a fracture or minor injury (type 1). CRPS is said to be most like MS in pathology.


This week marks the 32nd anniversary of Sue’s accident (a hit and run when Sue was a child) and we could not think of a better way to honour this date than to raise money and awareness.


The website is an international project, linked to a facebook page (CRPS research and developments). The website is needed as doctors are largely unaware of the serious disease and Sue wishes she had a pound for every time a doc has said “CRPS? Whats that?”


 We didnt manage to get all the way round the Racecourse, but no-one seemed to mind and everyone looked like they were having a good time. Many many thanks to all involved – so very proud of you all right now!



How should we list our reviews and testimonials?

Every way we try they look cheesy, naff or like we’ve made them up ourselves!

Why we get good reviews

Here at Affinity Dog Training we try really hard to make sure our customers are happy. We bust our guts so that each dog and owner achieve their goals and have fun together. We do two kinds of training- training classes, so that the dogs has manners and is safe, which is mostly done in class- the dogs know how to sit , how to wait, how to leave- it and so on. We also do individual appointments, which are mostly helping owners iron out a problem or quirk.

Training classes- training for safety  and manners

We roughly follow the Kennel Club and ADTB curriculum, but we’ve occasionally thrown the rule book out of the window-

* We teach leave it very early on, believing that “impulse control” is hugely important for all dogs, especially puppies who put everything in their mouths.

* We don’t make people walk their dogs only on the left- in real life this just isn’t always so convenient, so we teach change (and heel left and right in the more advanced classes).

* People don’t do the tasks one at a time, everyone has a go all at once. Working with the distractions of the other dogs sometimes is hard, but it is important lesson for real life.

* Classrooms aren’t like the real world, but we can do our best to teach things that are useful and practical. We try to make it fun too, so we teach tricks, turn, weave, paw and so on.


Behaviour adjustment- which is mostly done in one to one appointments

Things like dogs who reacts badly when they see another dog.

We tell our customers why their dog is behaving the way they are – and we know because we read. And read and read. Then go to seminars, then read a bit more. Data from surveys, analysis from articles, scientific facts. We don’t have a magic wand, we don’t “mystically” understand dogs, so what we learn we can tell our customers. So owners know the whats, the whys, the hows and wherefores, with references, if they want.

Because we have spent a long time studying, we know when a lesson is boring or interesting and work hard to make even the most dull task as interesting and as fun as we can. Like most people we like to have a laugh and we find that people remember stuff more when they’re enjoying themselves. This means they enjoy themselves more, learn quicker and improve faster.



So occasionally someone posts a thank you card, or sends us an email or text, or writes something in the comments box on this site. We’re always chuffed,  proud and thankful. But how do we put them up on the site so they don’t look cheesy?

What format ought it be?  Here’s one from last October that a customer sent to us after a one to one appointment, after a basic training masterclass:

Affinity Dog Training…..a BIG THANK YOU. After only an hours home visit both I and Maddie are excited,tired and bursting with new treats,tricks and knowledge.All ready to start our homework. I already am so happy you both were so nice and genuine. Thank you xxx

It’s absolutely lovely to get just good reviews, but don’t be shy in telling us if  we could do better … we’d also like to know how we could improve! 🙂



Here is a sponsor form I made for the walk we are doing on Saturday the 1st of June. Although we are doing the walk primarily to raise awareness, any money that is raised will go to the new CRPS research and development site, which will be a resource centre for doctors and patients suffering with this rare neurological problem. Please click on the picture, press print and fill it in!

Good Luck, Sue 🙂


Apologies, this post has been moved to our training information guide here

Hopefully there is bearded collie puppies on the way!


P1020279Bryonyhill Triple Truffle and our Smudge got on famously and if their mating was successful, she will be due around the 20th of June.

Test results:

Both dogs have hip scores of 3:3

The KC’s virtual mating inbreeding calculator said that the puppies would be 3% lower than average for beardies

Watch this space!



Many thanks to those who helped in my search!

From all the people I rang up …. including Sue Bird whose number I found when I was checking out any beardie stud who had fantastic genetic diversity, sadly her beautiful boy was older than the internet led me to expect, but her advice was brilliant.

Many thanks are due to Sue Hood and also to the very lovely Lesley, and to Mel Carter for invaluable advice about progsterone levels. A huge round off applause is due to Karen Edwards- her calm and confident manner set just the right tone and I was able to pick her brains and learn some fantastic tips. It was a joy to see her beautiful Roxilyn dogs- I must admit I rather popped a fuse when I saw those gorgeous beardies!

Here’s hoping … more news on Smudgey soon!

Bearded Collie Stud Dog Needed!


Well, there’s timing for you …. Smudge’s hip scores are in: she’s 3:3! We’re very lucky her scores are so low, the vet is as pleased as punch, he said  a total score of 6 is unheard of in a Bearded Collie! But she’s coming into heat, started bleeding on Sunday morning! This means I have only a few days to find the right man- so we’d love to hear from you if you have a handsome chap, with good hip scores, a lovely temperament and is they generate favourable results with the Kennel Club’s Inbreeding Co-efficiency calculator. To say I’m excited would be an understatement- praise and thanks are due to Becky, her breeder. Well done!

Fun group walk for dogs and owners around the Racecourse, Northampton


On Saturday the 1st of June we are holding a walk round the Racecourse to raise some money for charity.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare neurological problem and by doing this walk we hope to raise awareness and fund a website that will answer doctors and patients questions by collecting the latest research all in one place.

CRPS is the most painful long term problem there is- patients are in more pain every moment of everyday than a woman in labour. People liken it to MS and there is no cure. Symptoms include pain, fainting, falling, nausea, twitching and different parts of your body being at different temperatures. Imagine someone touching you makes you yelp in pain. Imagine going to your GP, your mind full of questions, exhausted from the pain and scared about what will happen to you … and the doctor says “CRPS? What’s that?”

We are hoping to get as many people and dogs along for a walk round the Racecourse, which hopefully should be fun! We’ll ask each participant to donate a small amount of money, which we will donate to CRPS awareness charities and Northampton General Hospital’s Pain Clinic.

This is a subject close to our hearts- Sue was hit by a car on Saturday 6th June 1981 and diagnosed with Causalgia (now CRPS2), but as she was a child, she wasn’t told about it. As her problem changed from hot, acute CRPS, to cold, chronic CRPS in 1983, treatment stopped. It wasn’t until after another accident, also on Saturday 6th of June, in 2009, that she found out what had been wrong for the last 29 years. It was 2 weeks before our wedding!