Barney’s Dog Training Holiday by Angela Kerr
I came for a dog training holiday at Bowerland on Friday 28th September with my lovely dog Barney, a 2 year old cockapoo. I booked the holiday primarily for some nice doggy bonding time.
I travelled from Nottingham and the journey took roughly about 4.5 hours. We had a lovely stop off at Gloucester services as we knew there was a nice dog walking area there and also a great farm shop.
Prior to arriving, my main expectation was about how I could learn more about Barney’s behaviour. In particular – shadow chasing – why he does it and what I can do to help.
Previously I have been to one of Tom and Lauren’s workshops before (via the Absolute Dog set up).
Because of my interest in dog training, I looked through the pictures of the cottages on the Bowerland Cottage Holidays website, so I knew roughly what kind of structure to expect.
Our Arrival at Bowerland
I had a lovely first impression. It is a beautiful location with lovely scenery. I settled in really easily. It was so straight forward, very secure, and easy to find everything – Barney loved it, every little bit of it.
The dogs that were around on site were nice and quiet, I didn’t hear a thing – testament to the Devon Dogs training programme and proof that it works! To be honest I got a bit lost as it’s very quiet!
The helpful manual that was left in the Annexe was easy to read and explained how to use everything. One suggestion I would make is to supply a recycling bin. But afterwards I learnt that if guests separate recycling, you can always dispose of it in the appropriate recycling bins after the guest has left.
We were only there for a weekend and had lots to digest from the training so we didn’t go out too much. I did visit Okehampton once. I loved the Pegasus trail – there was some beautiful scenery. If I had been there longer I would have ventured out onto Dartmoor a little bit more.
Overall in my training I learnt lots about arousal state, keeping Barney in the middle zone rather than a higher gear, figure of 8 walking, food scattering etc – basically lots of behaviour to help to regulate him to stay in the middle zone. It really is working! It is keeping him calmer. Thanks to Michelle’s training I am now able to look out for signs of his over-arousal and deal with it.
My favourite memory of the weekend was my last training session where I could see the outcome of all the work we had been doing with Barney and how all the plans were coming together. Since returning home we have come face-to-face with a squirrel and Barney hardly reacted at all – amazing!
About the author: Angela and Barney live in Nottingham close to the river Trent and a nature reserve where they enjoy daily walks. Angela owns and runs a community based rehabilitation company providing therapy and care to those suffering traumatic brain and spinal cord injury caused by road traffic accidents. Barney is a Cockapoo with bags of personality who goes into the office with Angela and loves attending home visits to see her clients and bring joy to their lives.