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Dill, Penni and Roo think Green, Amber and Red at Sefton Dogs Summer School in National Trust

Sefton Dogs’ Summer School held a special session at the National Trust’s Countryside office on 21st August. David and Tina, who are Kennel Club Accredited Instructors and qualified behaviourists from the Animal Behaviour Centre Training team at Lymm in Cheshire, led the session. Helping them were Margaret from Natural England and Sian from The Lancashire Wildlife Trust. However, the real stars of the evening were the three dogs. Dill is Margaret’s Ormskirk Heeler, Penni is Tina’s Labradoodle and Sian brought her Border Collie, Roo. These three friendly and well-socialised dogs showed examples of their reactions and body language in various situations.

‘Think Green, Amber and Red’ explained David, who used Tina’s Penni to show when a dog is comfortable on a lead (Green), beginning to tighten the lead (Amber) and Red when the dog is really stretching the lead and needs to be held back. She barked when she saw Chris’s camera pointed at her, but a gentle approach with a few dog treats and a scratch behind the ear, showed what a great companion she was when Chris came close and talked t6 her.

Dill, who as a Heeler is a ‘high drive’ dog, motivated to catch and claim what he sees as something to own and play with. He entered his ‘Red zone’ when Sian waved a stick at him and then ran away. He chased her onto one of the dunes until he was recalled by Margaret, showing that he was under close control. Had Sian, who as an experienced dog handler, simply stood her ground, Dill would have just grabbed the stick to play with it. Sadly some owners of these ‘high drive’ breeds simply don’t recognise this behaviour pattern or find safe ways for the dog to use the drive. Sian’s Border collie, Roo was the final ‘dog star’, showing her great attention to what was going on all around and demonstrating the Green and Amber on the lead. The moral is that Border Collies must never be allowed to get bored!

‘It’s been great to hold one of the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership Summer School sessions at the National Trust’ Margaret told The Bubble. ‘Improving understanding of canine behavior: what to do and what not to do, enhances everyone’s enjoyment. It gives wonderful opportunities for responsible dog owners and their dogs to enjoy our great Sefton Coast. We must also gratefully acknowledge the splendid sponsorship from Burns Pet Products that has made the whole programme possible’

Penni - Labradoodle

Border Collie Roo off lead

Margaret, Sian and Dill, the Heeler

Sian and Roo

Penni, Tina and David

Top Photo: Tina, Eva and Penni

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