Jo & Bertie’s Trip to Bowerland

I had been over 14 years without a dog and was persuaded by my daughter to re-home Bertie in the middle of lockdown in June 2020. My daughter had rescued him from friends who could no longer cope with him. And as she works full time as a Hospital Doctor, it was difficult to keep him herself.


Bertie is a most loving but excitable, energetic and unpredictable dog. He chases anything that runs, particularly deer, and he pulls on the lead. I have had several injuries as a result. After searching the internet and making lots of enquiries about dog training, someone told me about Devon Dogs. So I arrived at Bowerland after a 2 hour trip from Bristol late one afternoon, full of anxiety… and hope.

Training at Devon Dogs – the first day

The first morning was like learning a foreign language however the two phrases that stuck with me and made sense were “they practice what they become” and “every dog has a bucket.”  Head collars, double ended leads, ditching the bowl, calmness, proximity zone, boundary games and so on. Things I had never considered.

The second day

The next day was easier because some of the same ideas were discussed, the same games were rehearsed with the addition of more phrases that both stuck with me and made sense “ABC” and “A to B”.   The concepts were reinforced but I was still very unsure how I would move things on.

The final day

The last day of our Stay & Train holiday consolidated lots of training ideas. I was starting to think of changes to make and practice ahead of me to improve my relationship with Bertie. And we are now really enjoying the Sexier than a Squirrel Challenge!

About the author: Jo is a retired GP and mother of 4 grown up children. Many years ago, her children persuaded her to get a Golden Retriever puppy, who was gentle and good natured. They never considered taking her to dog training since she learnt quickly and the children spent a lot of time with her in the garden putting her through her paces. As she got older the family bought a second Golden Retriever puppy who slotted into their chaotic family life. Both dogs were well behaved on and off the lead and caused few worries or problems. The dogs became old and died just as all the children were leaving home and starting their college lives.

Featured image by Jo Paterson