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Barney’s Dog Training Holiday by Angela Kerr


Barney loved it… every little bit of it!

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 Annexe

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.

Arousal State

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.

Favourite Memory

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!

Angela KerrAbout 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. 

Do you have a training issue you want to tackle? Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and make the most of our fantastic training facilities onsite.


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