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About Us- Affinity Dog Training

About Us: Affinity Dog Training is married couple Stu Lyall and Sue Lyall MA CANTAB.

Does your puppy nip you and toilet in the house? Does your dog try to eat whatever’s on the counter or go through the bin? Do they jump up, knock you over, or leave muddy prints all over your clothes? Are walks stressful? Do people shout at you because of your dogs behaviour? Does your shoulder or back ache because the dog pulls on the lead? Does the dog eat rubbish from the pavement? Are they in your face when you try to eat? Do they get jealous or try to join in with intimate moments? Are they humping/ twerking (despite being neutered)? Do they steal your socks? Chew or hide the remote? Turn off your alarm and make you late for work? Ignore you? Is the dog great in the house but can’t hear you in the park? Do they woof loudly at visitors, your neighbours, the telly, other dogs or when you drive? Do they react to other dogs?

We’ve heard- and helped- with it all. Friendly, caring trainers can sort out anything for a fair price with scientifically proven techniques.

Want to make life easier? Want a fun, happy and polite dog?

As self- confessed dog nerds, when we’re not training, walking, breeding or generally mucking about with our dogs, we’re reading the latest canine behavioural studies. It’s in order to help our customers (and their people) get the very best training and behaviour. People say that our many years of experience shows. Apparently it’s like magic how we can teach so quickly. I always say thank you, but the only magic word we know is “leave”.  On this page (About Us- Affinity Dog Training) we explain why we do what we do.

Our common-sense methods, down to earth attitude- and our combined study, knowledge and experience- will help with any problem. 

In general dog training classes, we have a light hearted approach to the serious business of dog training. What we teach is useful and fun. Dogs (and their people) are with us to learn. Puppies are easily distracted and their concentration fades. What they are born with is enthusiasm, a wish to please and enjoy life- and an unlimited amount of love. Obviously the more effort you put into your dog, they more they return it- by the thousand- fold. 

We’re informal in class and not very “regimented” as for us, it gets the best results. Behavioural science says that dogs (and probably people) learn best when they are enjoying themselves, so we try to make things as fun as possible. Dog trainers have a strange reputation. People are surprised as we’re not stuffy, strict and full of ourselves. On the other hand, we prefer a more personable, positive approach. We’re basically the positive positive reinforcement trainers (lols). Customers seeing our techniques working is considerably better than anything we could say.

If someone doesn’t understand something, it’s not their fault, its ours- we haven’t explained it well enough. Working (and breeding) animals makes you very down to earth. When a dog behaves badly we won’t throw them out! It’s a sign that we need to roll up our sleeves, get to work and help.

Our history

In the late 2000’s, Stu was an electrical engineer in Tesco’s and I (Sue) was a keyboard player in a gigging reggae band. We had 2 dogs then, Labrador Poppy and Beardie Smudge.

Affinity things began quietly. Passers- by asked how our dogs are well behaved, focussed and under control. I started reading up on dog training because what I knew, I learned in primary school. My grandfather taught me on the family farm. He stressed it was super important to train with kind encouragement. When asked how I did it, I was afraid I’d say something wrong and make things worse rather than better. Advising people felt a huge responsibility and wanted to get it right. It was fascinating info and so I started telling Stu interesting little facts. We were both hooked very quickly.

"</aAbout Us- Affinity Dog Training- We do two kinds of training

Training which is useful and practical but also fun in beginner and more advanced classes.. We teach people how to teach their dogs how to walk nicely, how to wait, how to leave- it, how to listen while excited, how to come here, or do emergency stops and so on- and we explain how to apply the exercises to real- life situations. 

A master- class version is available (in a one to one) in people’s homes. Useful for those who can’t get to class or are busy on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Much of our experience and research is with challenging and problem behaviour. More info here. We troubleshoot behaviour in both classes and 121’s. We are often asked to help iron out a problem or quirk. Whilst things like jumping up and negative attention seeking is appropriate in either situation, reactivity rehab is best done in short one to one appointments. We can really concentrate on the issue at hand, working so we see improvement without stressing out the dog or their people. 

As we specialise in behaviour, we’re interested in fear/ aggression and lead- frustration. Attending seminars learning the most kind and effective techniques was fascinating. Dogs are encouraged to prioritise flight (rather than fight/ freeze) instincts. We train our dogs to help and they’re kind, calm and steady and consequently the other dogs gain confidence. 

It’s entirely possible to make a living teaching old dogs new tricks- we really can help with anything.

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

Testimonials and references are available for anyone.

Please ask- mention you saw this in our page (About Us- Affinity Dog Training) and we’ll be honoured to share the nice  compliments.

There’s info on dog training theory and why we do what we do on our methods page here. Click here for why dominance training and being a pack leader isn’t helpful.

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

What we teach must be useful, or fun. Consequently 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 prepare people for teething by teaching “leave it” on day 1 in the puppy class. Puppies, like babies, put everything in their mouths. Traditionally this is not covered until the third (Silver) course. “Normally” people walk their dog solely on their left. In real life situations, this isn’t always the most convenient or safe way to walk. We like to walk between the dog and cars. Dogs are trained to walk on both sides as well as to swap sides, in case the path gets obstructed. Requests are always welcome- we tailor our classes to include things which are practical and useful to each person.


 We teach dogs by the way they learn 

Science says that the most effective way to teach a dog is with fun, repetition and rewards. Therefore, we use games to teach tricks or commands. Often dogs don’t realise they’re learning as they’re enjoying themselves; people say that the games are fun and helpful. It’s also useful for learning new ways to interact with their dog.  Studies have found that dogs are able to think for themselves when they’re taught to process their emotions appropriately. Subsequently, dogs can learn to make good decisions.

Good communication deters problem moments. People  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 to use a portion of their meals as rewards.

About Us- Affinity Dog Training: Dog WalkingAbout Us- Affinity Dog Training Stu playing in Sywell

Stu is Affinity’s dog walker. He loves to go on mad rambles with dogs in Northampton’s beautiful countryside, playing games and above all, 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

About Us- Affinity Dog Training Dog Breeding- Smudgester Breeding Kennels

About Us- Affinity Dog Training breeding experience

Check out our guide of sensible things to bear in mind when picking a puppy.

We have a waiting list for those considering a Labrador or Bearded Collie puppy. More info here. Please contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list. We like to get to you know all future adopting parents.

All our puppies are endorsed.

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 that it’s particularly  important to consider such things as bite inhibition, toilet training and socialisation. Our mums have the appropriate tests as recommended by the KC. Potential fathers are thoroughly researched and picked for temperament, good health and genetic diversity. Additionally, we register our dogs with the Kennel Club and puppies have pedigree papers.

(About Us- Affinity Dog Training) Check out Sue’s new book on Amazon- there’s kindle, paperback and hardback versions available.

click for more info!