I live in Cambridgeshire with Ava and work full time as a medical writer. After my previous ‘challenging’ dog died I was planning on adopting an older rescue for a slightly easier life, but then along came Ava, a 6 month old GSP puppy who wasn’t coping well in rescue and desperately needed a home. As a large and very energetic puppy who didn’t seem to have had much training, she has been very challenging, which is how I came to discover Absolute Dogs. She responds really well to this style of training and has come on in leaps and bounds.
My First Stay & Train
In early September, I came for my first Stay and Train holiday at Bowerland with Ava. After a very long and hot journey from Cambridge we finally made it to Devon and quickly made ourselves at home in the lovely Dartmoor Inn, which, to my relief, was laid out so that even my counter-surfing kleptomaniac couldn’t get into any mischief!
I was very nervous about the actual training
Was Ava going to be a complete hooligan and show me up? Were people going to think I was a terrible owner? The answers were yes and no. I worked with Sam, Jamie and Michelle and although they all got to see Ava at her worst, there was no judgement – only understanding, support and encouragement.
Disengagement & Arousal
We had a couple of attempts at training off site, but it became clear that this was just too exciting for Ava. Most of our training was done back at the cottage working on disengagement and bringing her arousal down. All three trainers were excellent and I learnt so much about me and my dog, coming away with a much clearer idea of how to move forward.
Absolutely the best thing
If anyone had told me before I came to Devon that my dog would spend time during our training session resting while I talked to the trainers, I probably wouldn’t have been very impressed. But it was exactly what Ava needed and our stay at Bowerland was absolutely the best thing I could have done for us.
Ava is now so much nicer to live with
Between the work we did at Bowerland and the plan we put in place for when I got home, we have smashed our three-week target and I now have a dog who is SO much nicer to live with. She is learning to make good choices and I have learnt how and when to intervene if she doesn’t.
Featured image of Ava resting in Dartmoor Inn by Helen Heffron