All posts in training

What do people say about us?… And what do you think?


Please let us know what you think … good and bad- it would be good to know how we could get better and it’s always great to hear when people are pleased.

Copied and pasted from our Facebook reviews (Click here to go to our Facebook page):

Benjamin Griffiths reviewed Affinity Dog Training – Northampton – 5 star

3 December 2017

Could not recommend highly enough. My wife and I adopted a 2 year old lurcher, originally a stray with no training. She knew no commands, had no training, and didn’t know her name.

Sue and Stu are “dog people”. They get dogs. We didn’t have much hope for immediate improvement, yet Stu had Luna sitting, standing, laying down, and waving within an hour.

They showed us how to use rewards and positive reinforcement to make desirable behaviour seem fun to Luna, and undesirable behaviour seem uninteresting.

After only 6 weeks Luna is a different dog. Check out my posts on their wall for some videos of Luna practicing her recall and waving, which is her (my) favourite trick.

Luna passed her bronze test which contains some basic, but essential obedience and is now allowed off the lead more and more as her recall improves.

We will be back for the silver certificate as soon as we can. And also to make their beautiful Labrador spin on the spot for treats. Just watch the Labrador, she’s a hustler and she’ll take all your treats in exchange for tricks!

I would honestly say, if you’re not sure if it’s worth taking your dog, just take a gamble. It absolutely is.

Thanks so much guys.

Sarah Burns reviewed Affinity Dog Training – Northampton – 5 star

19 October 2017

Sue and Stu are amazing! Thank you for a fun and really informative 6 weeks. Minnie passed her Bronze assessment tonight which we wouldn’t have believed possible 6 weeks ago! These two are so knowledgeable and helpful. They offer help by phone in between classes too which I think shows how much they care. Can’t wait to start Silver, after a break just to work on some bad habits (Minnie’s, not mine �) Thanks again from Sarah and Minnie x �


Charlotte Stephenson reviewed Affinity Dog Training – Northampton – 5 star

19 October 2017

Such a great class! We were able to get some great advice and help to get our little puppy behaving!! Can’t wait to try the next class!!

Gill Pittams reviewed Affinity Dog Training – Northampton – 5 star

10 October 2017

Thank you so much for all you help in turning a distracted, slightly disruptive puppy into a calmer more obedient puppy and proving he can do so much more than just “sit” would highly recommend.

Managed to get some photos of Thursdays class after they had all passed their test

Well done everyone 🙂 

So proud of you all!

Which photo is your favourite?

Here’s that one of Poppy

Where to hold and how to move your treats

With “lure- reward” training, the dog follows the treat and so it is easy to get them into position. Here we show how to get your pet to sit, lie down and stand up.  Once they are in position, give them the treat and teach them the word. Most dogs need a little practise- but they will soon understand what you want. When the penny drops, you can then reward less frequently or make things harder- try chaining things together. Pay attention to your hand positions- if you are consistent you will be able to signal to them- in fact they usually learn these signals faster than the English- no surprise when dogs are masters of body language!



Start with the dog standing up and, using the treat, encourage them look up. As they strain to bend their necks, they will often sit down. Try starting with the treat near their nose, where the “x” is in the photo and move the treat, following the red and white lines. If they are inclined to walk backwards, try positioning them in the corner of the room first.

Here’s our eldest, Poppy.



Look at Barney, on the left.

With the dog in the sitting position, move the treat in an “L” shape. Encourage the dog to put their nose near their paws and then draw the treat across the floor so they lie down. Again, don’t forget to teach them the word and reward them as they do it. Most dogs need to repeat the process several times before they understand. Let us know if their bottoms keep popping up.

Our darling Widget is on the right and they’re siblings. He was born 7th and she 9th in Smudgey and Cosmo’s litter of 10- I think they look like twins!



This command is quite useful when you’re grooming and putting on a harness. Encourage the dog to stand up- try and be quick with your rewards here and treat them before they take a step.

Here’s Widget again.

Here’s some photos from today’s new set of puppy class- which included a few familiar faces from Smudgey’s litter! I must admit I hardly slept last night, I was so excited- fantastic to see the cute pups again.

Appropriate greetings- Barney’s too excited! A famous beardie bounce …


Gaining focus isn’t easy with new friends and family in the room…


Here they are learning the basics- sit, down and stand

P1020953 P1020950

Walking to heel nicely is difficult, but it does get easier each week!


Well done everyone- really looking forward to next time 🙂



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’s a photo of some of the graduates from Sunday’s puppy training and socialisation class … Congratulations!


Looking forward to meeting all the new people and their dogs and puppies who will be starting their classes next week!

Classes begin again on the 17th for Bradlaugh Fields Barn and 19th of March for Abington Community Centre.

It’s the time of year again where we look back and take stock and look forward with new plans …

What’s your New Years Resolutions?

Poppy and puppies

Last year began with Poppy’s pregnancy and the birth of her 8 beautiful pups. We were very lucky- they were all nearly the same weight, all enjoyed their dinners and grew well.

We couldn’t be prouder of Pops as she took to motherhood so easily- cleaning and feeding her pups tirelessly and then when they grew, playing with them. They were bouncy bundles of fun who were into everything!

willsOur home was turned upside down as the puppies stayed with us in the living room- we had already moved everything higher than 4 foot and any electrical wire was hidden and protected with masking tape- how different it all looked, especially as a sofa had been replaced with the whelping pen!

We organised ourselves into night shifts and days shifts and by the time the 8 weeks were up we were exhausted but it didn’t matter. After Rosie, the first pup left, Poppy and I went for a cuddle on the sofa and to everyone’s amusement we both instantly fell asleep for a quick nap! (Guess who had been on the night shift, up with the pups!)

So (the now not so Little) Willow bounced into our lives and stole our hearts.



Classes began at Bradlaugh Fields and then Abington Community Centre .. loads of the cutest puppies and lovely older dogs… it was great to see everyone trying hard and having fun. Our reputation for tailoring to individual needs and providing common-sense, practical answers to any problems is growing- we get much of our business from word of mouth.



Don’t forget There’s no classes in Bradlaugh Fields Barn tomorrow as they’re shut til the 20th. If anyone is keen to start again sooner, you’re more than welcome to come along to our Tuesday sessions- 7pm for Bronze and 8pm for puppies. Hope see you there!

Dogs have been use assist the disabled for many years, from seeing eye dogs to assistance dogs for those who are in a wheelchair. Whether you have a disability or a sprained ankle, you can teach your dog so that they help you in your routine.

Sue was first diagnosed with causalgia in 1981- now called CRPS2- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome- the world’s most painful long term problem is thankfully quite rare (we should do the lottery!) Sue’s CRPS has spread from her right leg throughout so walking can be painfully hard, it’s difficult to carry things and she gets tried very easily. Sadly this limits the time that we can do one to one training (although if you do have a time and day in mind, please say, we’ll do our best!)

We’ve taught Poppy to open doors- a shoe string was tied to the handle and she was encouraged to tug it to pull the door open. This can be helpful if negotiating a chair about the house, if you’re struggling with crutches or your hands are weak. This same principle can be extended to include the fridge.. then you can teach a dog to bring you a bottle of water.

Dog rucksacks / panniers can be  used to help you carry lighter things about if you’re on crutches and can’t carry anything. Poppy can hold and carry a small parcel.

We have also taught her to be a courier- she can take a small parcel to someone- as long as she knows their name. The parcel could be anything- from a note to a mobile phone (we put electronic or perishable things in a sandwich bag).

A dog that knows someone’s name can also be asked to fetch that person in an emergency.

Sue finds her hypersensitivity heartbreaking- where a light touch is very painful. She loves her cuddles with her dogs. Sue’s beardies are very gentle- we were very on the ball with their touch sensitivity training. All our dogs’ soft mouth is very good- proving the old adage wrong – it’s not just Labradors who can carry raw eggs!


Here at Affinity Dog Training we can teach your dog to help… please contact us for more info.

Updated July 2014



Yesterday a mate came round. A cat person, loving owner of 4. I showed him the website so he could marvel at the pictures of Popsy’s pups.

“What is this with the pack leader thing, Sue? You go on and on!”

I had to admit, I do. I see loads of good intentioned people who have listened to the dodgey information and then got themselves in a muddle. It’s a shame, because they’re always really nice people who have been given not just the wrong end of the stick, but the wrong stick entirely. I feel for them- by the time they get to us they’re frustrated as all their well intended efforts have made things worse. We see them frazzled and apologetic- but there’s no need to be sorry, no-one should be blamed for trying to do (what they were told) what’s best.

One good thing is the smiles on their faces as things begin to go right- their posture changes, the weight seems to begin to lift as the dog becomes their best friend again.

Yeah, I do go on and on… but for good reason, I hope.