Classes learning useful things and fun stuff



Index: Click on a section or scroll down

* What do we teach? * How do they learn? * How to go about booking? * What do I bring? * What if we need to miss a class? * Socialisation * Map



Courses 2018  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. Dog club is Tuesday 23rd of October at 8pm

Courses run every six weeks and are either Tuesdays or Thursdays, 7 to 8pm 

classes due to start with spaces available


Tuesday 19th March- 23rd April 

Thursday 21st of March – 25th April

Tuesday 20th April- 4th June

Thursday 2nd May- 6th June

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 herefor a map)

To reserve a space: contact Sue and put your name on The List. (0751 976 2411).

Now including a free printed course guide

All classes now include a free printed booklet explaining 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.

On line versions are free to all graduates here– please contact Sue for the passwords.

We encourage people to contact us if they need to pick a brain, have a request or question.

Once you’ve signed up for classes you are under our wing forever.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question.

Whenever or whatever you need.  We are here to help. 


If we mention a website in class, we’ll put a link to it here



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 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.

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.

For a comprehensive list of  tasks, please click here for beginners and here for advanced, or on the picture links above.

We roughly follow the Kennel Club and ADTB curriculum, but we’ve occasionally thrown the rule book out of the window: we walk our dogs on both sides, teach leave 2 whole courses sooner than usual and don’t getting hung up on what words anyone uses- the best words are what comes most naturally to each person.

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.

We don’t bring our dogs so the class always has our full attention, but anyone wishing to meet Poppy, Willow, Widget, Cookie and Smudge can give us a ring- we’d happily go for a walk with you.

How do I go about booking and what should I expect?

When’s easiest for you? Hour long classes are on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Courses start every 6 weeks.

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!

* It may be sensible to bring something super yummy to keep their attention, but also bring some of their dinner (if it’s biscuits), especially if you are concerned about additives or their weight.

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)Jazz 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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  1. Hi, I have 2 cocker spaniels. Dylan is 15 months and Rolo is 9 months.

    We bought Rolo mid December 2017 and I must admit that the training with him was pretty non-existant.
    He is a really lovely, friendly, affectionate boy but he REALLY pulls when we take him for walks. He pulls so much that he huffs and puffs the whole time.
    It is really getting to the point where he is a strong fella who pulls your arm off and it makes walking him quite hard work.
    I would love to be able to take him and Dylan for more walks but he is too strong for me to hold.
    I would really love some help on lead training but don’t know where to start with it to be honest.

    Dylan has always been fine on the lead, Rolo seems to try to always be in front of him when we walk, huffing and puffing away.

    Is this something you could help us with and what would be involved? Also, if you could please give me an idea of when you are available that would be great.
    (We live in East Hunsbury, Northampton)

    • Hi Sandra!
      You have a couple of options:
      Possibly the better option would be a one to one. It’s £60 for an hour to hour and a half (depending on the dog’s concentration). It’s a good way to get to the crux of the problems and start working on the in a concentrated way.
      There’s a couple of things for you to think about-
      a) would it be better if I can to your house, went through the exercises with Rolo, make sure you knew what to do and ensure some progress. We could work or chat about anything you think would help, but I’d suggest learning the (snappy titled) education game called “listening while excited” as well as how to stop pulling and how to walk nicely (appointments are any time any day/ evening/ weekend- apart from Tuesdays and Thursdays as we have classes- it’s a good idea to think of a day and time that’s best for you before you next contact me).
      or b) would it be better to work with our dogs around- learning work with distractions, to manage energy levels around another dog (that’s not Dylon), making sure he introduces himself nicely without getting overly excited and giddy when they say hello? We could also go through listening while excited and walk to heel as we practise- or anything else you’d like to know.
      The last option is classes- general training which also includes a lot of practise while concentrating with other dogs around and learning to make the right decisions= leaves, walk nicely, come here, waits, listening whilst excited, plus tricks, activities and games. That’s Tuesdays or Thursdays at 7pm for an hour a week for 6 weeks in Abington Community Centre. It’s up to you as to who you bring- you’d need a person per dog at least if you’re intending to bring both of them- although that would work out more expensive as we charge £60 per dog.
      Hope that helps, Sandra! Let me know what you think- feel free to ring me if you’d like to know more about the different options or book something 🙂
      Sue (0751 976 2411)
      edited to say: the one to one with our dogs are held on the Racecourse- it’s near our house so we can swap dogs easily and there’s the possibility to use an enclosed fenced space)

  2. Hi there,
    I sent you a message earlier on re Cooper our puppy.Looks like I got dates mixed up and he’Lloyd have his last vaccinations on 12th Jan so will be ready to start on your next sessions. Can we book to join your Thursday classes 7pm – 8pm starting the 1st of February please.
    Many thanks,
    Louise, Matt and Cooper ☺

    • Hiya and congratulations! I have put you down for Thursday the 1st- so we’ll see you at 7pm in Abington Community Centre. Please bring Cooper, his usual collar or harness and lead (don’t buy anything especially). You’ll need some treats- it’s best to bring a mix of his dinner (so you can keep an eye on weight/ additives) but also bring something super yummy incase he finds concentrating hard with all the others there. You’ll also need a rope toy (if you can find one that doesn’t squeak, that’d be great) for listening while excited and leave with objects. It’ll be £60 to last you the full six weeks so please bring that too. You’re welcome to invite anyone who is interested in coming along (as we charge per dog not person lol). Looking forward to meeting you all – our number is 0751 976 2411 if you need to pick a brain in the meantime 🙂

  3. Hi, I am interested in your Thursday night course starting 19th October the beginners.. I have a 14 month old cockerpoo toy variety so a little dot but bursting with energy and enthusiasm.. I did some training initially but am now finding unless I go to the treat jar she is ignoring commands.. this more of an issue at home then when we are out where 90% of the time once she’s run of the excess energy she is actually quite good.. I just wanted to check if you have spaces and make sure she’s not too old to start in the beginners albeit its probably more that needs the training to support here 🙄

    Kind regards

    Sharron Reaney

  4. Please could you quote and explain your options for recall training of two 7 month old pups. Thanks

    • Hiya Ian! You must have your hands full with 2 “teenagers”! We teach recall by making it easy and obvious for them at first, calling them over, touching their collar or tickling their necks and rewarding with a treat or a game. The collar touch is to pre-empt the time when they see the leads come out for the end of the walk and they’re not ready to come home yet so they bolt- if come here means they get a quick tickle and maybe attached to the lead, maybe not- then leaving the park becomes much easier.
      We suggest calling them over and rewarding starting quite close-by in the house, making it obvious and easy for them so they’re encouraged to continue. Then as they get the hang of it, make the it gradually harder- move further away and then start adding distractions, like trying the tasks outside in the garden and then in the park when it’s quieter. Until they are reliable, it’s sensible to use a long line and let them off in enclosed spaces- like the old tennis court on the Racecourse. I would work with them individually at first and then together- expect things to go backwards a bit at that point as they will distract each other. The trick is to make them realise that lovely treats and/ or fun things happen whenever they come to you- it’ll be sorted out when they see you are more fun than the distractions.
      The trouble with dogs that are in puberty is that they become so excited and distracted outside that they can’t listen properly- you could shout until you are blue in the face and it won’t make a blind bit of difference. This is where training really comes into play- such things like listening while excited and controlling their impulses really saved our sanity when our 5 dogs were at that age.
      If you’d like, we can tackle this in either of 2 ways. We cover all of the above (and much more) in classes, 6 hour long sessions on a Tuesday or Thursday evening costs £60 per dog- the next lot begins on the 17th or 19th of October.
      However, if you’re keen to get to the bottom of this quickly, then a one to one session would be more apt. We would work purely on the the issues at hand and make sure that you know what to do and the dogs are improving. The sessions are £60 (regardless of how many dogs), whenever you’d like and last between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on the dogs’ concentration. I would come to your house and teach you how to do the tasks and educational games. People get a lot of info very quickly so I am happy to chat over the phone afterwards, if any of it doesn’t sink in at the time (plus I always love getting updates).
      If you think any of this will help, then please feel free to give me a ring to book an appointment or training course
      All the best, Sue

  5. Have you any spaces for 5 month vizsla beginning sept. Thanks

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