Classes learning useful things and fun stuff
Current classes started Tuesday 30th July- 3rd Sept/ Thursday 1st August – 5th Sept
Next classes start Tuesday 10th Sept- 15th Oct or Thursday 12th Sept- 17th Oct
New classes start every 6 weeks
Beginner classes are 7 to 8pm on either a Tuesday or a Thursday, advanced class is 8 to 9pm on Thursdays.
Courses run every six weeks and are either Tuesdays or Thursdays, 7 to 8pm
Please click here to see the start dates for new classes (with spaces available).
Tuesday 10th Sept- 15th Oct or Thursday 12th Sept- 17th Oct
Tuesday 22nd Oct- 26th Nov or Thursday 24th Oct- 28th Nov
All classes are the same price- £80 per dog (for an hour a week for 6 weeks).
We’re in Abington Community Centre, Wheatfield Road South, Northampton NN3 2HH (click here for a map)
To reserve a space: contact Sue and put your name on The List. (0751 976 2411).
Now including a free course guide
All classes now include access codes to our on line library here. The course has a guide which explains how to do each task and how to level them up (as well as when to use them).
There’s handy hints and tips to make it easy, fun and enjoyable or dogs and people. I’ve tried hard to write it so that things are as clear and straightforward and as easy to follow as possible.
If you’re a graduate and would like to see, please contact Sue for the passwords.
We encourage people to contact us if they need to pick a brain, have a request or question.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question.
Whenever or whatever you need. We are here to help.
What do we teach?
In class, we train pet puppies and dogs so that family life is easier and more fun. We have a light hearted approach to the serious business of dog training and we’ve been told our teaching style is “informal”, “caring” and “very effective”… which we thought were huge compliments.
We have never thrown out a dog for being too naughty or badly behaved for class… for us it’s a sign that we need to roll up our sleeves and help. (For the more serious behaviour problems, we usually would advise people to consider a one to one. Being able to concentrate on an issue gives us amazing results).
With feedback, research and experience (as dog owners, walkers and trainers), we have arrived at a comprehensive list of tasks that are either practical or funny. Because we train this way, we find that people are able to pass the equivalent of KC exams very easily and in the beginner class, people take the second level (bronze) test. Whilst we don’t take the puppy exam as a rule, if you want to, you can.
For fun we also like to teach cool educational games to play with your dog, showing how to occupy them so they are tired and content. Every week we do a trick or party piece- it’s great to see owners having a laugh with their dogs and people tell us they love showing off the tricks to their family and friends.
We also have “activity week”- we bring in some play equipment/ floor agility and teach games to occupy your dog both with you and on their own. Whilst we always encourage people to invite their friends and family along, if they only have time for one class, bring them to activity week (4) as it’s always our favourite.
As well as the set course material, wherever possible we like to make time in the class to learn any specific trick or game you may like or address any issues you may have- requests are always welcome.
We roughly follow the Kennel Club curriculum, but we’ve occasionally thrown the rule book out of the window.
The biggest thing is that we teach “leave” on Day One- two whole courses and an astonishing fourteen weeks sooner than recommended.
Leave is a safety thing- so useful in the early stages as pups put everything in their mouths. My goal, in the 6 weeks beginner class, is for owners to be able to ask their dogs to (for example):
- Leave something like cooked chicken bones or chocolate on the pavement/ or floor. Both cooked bones and chocolate can be lethal to a dog.
- ignore food in a child’s hand.
- Falling things: I hope that owners would be able to stop their dog pouncing and eating medication, or a chilli/ chocolate etc as it’s dropped on the floor. I’ve heard food dropped while cooking is called “sky food” lols!
- And leave a grumpy looking dog in the park,
- stop teething or gnawing on something dangerous (or expensive) …..
the list of how useful this is goes on and on- I could be here all day.
We simply don’t understand why on earth the good citizen scheme recommends that we don’t teach this so late. That’s just bananas! For their own safety, every dog needs to learn leave as soon as possible!
Stu’s goal for silver is to ensure dogs can leave their owners dinner whilst they answer the phone or door.
Other things we don’t do by the book:
We also walk our dogs on both sides and don’t getting hung up on what words anyone uses- the best words (and signals) are what comes most naturally to each person.
If you want to show and do ring-craft, please tell us- we’ll explain how to get the best from both worlds without compromise.
Do not worry if your dog is distracted in class and finds it hard to concentrate
… you are here to learn!
We worry if a dog is perfectly behaved. Our classrooms are full of fun distractions (doggie mates and their yummy treats). Hopefully you’ll have some yummy treats too.
Classrooms aren’t like the real world, but we do our best to teach things that are useful and practical. We try to make it fun too, so we teach tricks; like roll over.
The first class is always the hardest so we spend much of the first lesson teaching how to gain focus and the beginnings of impulse control, patience and concentration, which will help in future classes. Coming to training is also great way of realising that you’re not alone and that every dog and owner face similar challenges. If you never made a mistake, you’d never learn!
We train dogs by the way they learn
… with fun and repetition. Animal behaviour studies have worked out that this is the way dogs respond best. It teaches co-operation and is a great way to encourage a happy, trusting bond. Even though we repeat the tasks, usually it won’t take a long time- depending on the dog, the breed and so on, most learn a word rather quickly and a hand signal even faster. It’s not only people who remember more when they’re enjoying themselves!
Then we show how to use those tasks to make everyday life easier. We teach how to communicate with your dog, form a loving bond and also how to establish routines that take the hard work out of daily life. This down to earth, practical method has been gained from years of experience and study of canine behaviour articles and papers. Check out this page for info about different training theories and methods.
Years of study and experience in canine behaviour guarantees the courses are informative and fun. Being dog breeders as well as dog trainers we recognise the importance of puppy socialisation and dog training.
Socialisation is a very important part of a dog’s development and it is wise to really encourage as much as possible as early as possible- in class puppies learn how to behave with people- the trainers and other owners- and they learn how to interact with other dogs by making friends with their classmates.
When someone passes the beginner bronze course, they are invited to join our Advanced Class, offering Silver and then Gold level training.
How do I go about booking and what should I expect?
Contact Sue on 0751 976 2411. She will answer any questions you have and reserve a space on your chosen start date, if you wish. It’s a good time to pick a brain and show off about your dog! Sue will tell you what you need to bring but it’s always good to have it written down…
What do I need to bring? You turn up on the first day with your dog, their usual collar or harness and lead, some treats you know they like*, a toy (for leave with objects and listening whilst excited) and the £80. Once we’re all together, we take a couple of minutes to fill in the registration forms and then we’re ready to start!
Can I bring my friend or family along? Of course! Anyone and everyone is welcome. Sensible children too- we charge per dog, not per person.
What if something happened and we had to miss a class or two? It’s OK, you won’t be thrown in the deep end- with a small class and 2 trainers, we will soon have you up to speed.
What if my dog falls ill/ My girl has a season? Don’t worry- if you let us know, then we’ll arrange for you to start again on the next course. We wouldn’t charge you if your reasons are genuine.
We’re disabled friendly. Please let us know if you need any help with anything- the centre has ramps and is easily accessible. Please ask if you need to teach your dog something specific to help you- perhaps “pick that up” or “open the door” …. whatever you need, just ask We are interested in this specialised training as Sue has a disability herself (CRPS2). Being able to walk and stand for short periods so it does not effect classes in any way.
Please don’t be alarmed when my hands and feet turn weird colours (anything from gray to red or purple), or if you happen to see me taking (and then hiding) tablets. It may look odd but the tablets are strong so the dogs can’t go near them. I was diagnosed with Causalgia, now Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, type 2, in 1981. It’s a pain disease that has been compared to MS. There’s plenty of chairs in the hall it’s easy for me to take a seat next to each dog and owner as we work and play.
Although we are a straight married couple, we are (proudly) LBGTQIA (Lesbian, Bi, Gay, Trans, Questioning, Intersexual, Asexual) friendly.
Susan Lyall MA CANTAB, (Affinity Dog Training, Northampton) is a dog trainer qualified as a graduate with the ADTB able to teach and assess puppy – gold levels. I am also qualified to teach with two Cambridge degrees.
Children’s Club … (like the BBC’s “Who let the dogs out?” for beginners) As a qualified teacher I am looking into starting a fun club for children (7 to 14) wishing to train their dogs here in Northampton, possibly on Saturdays.By the way, children are welcome to attend with their parents in all of our classes. Once you’re 15, then you can train your dog in a regular class on your own :)Please contact me if your child is interested. More news (hopefully) soon!
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