Here we are in February again – it’s cold and wet as usual, and after the high winds we experienced in December and January everything looks as if we have been in the middle of a hurricane.

I was lucky enough to be in Bath for a few weeks over the Christmas period where we were fortunate enough to only have a couple of days of really high winds and not too much rain. There were plenty of days filled with fresh blue skies and soft sunshine and it was warm enough to go out without my thermals on; a lovely change for me!

As well as having a well-earned rest after a busy year of work, I was also there to home sit for a client in the most beautiful house surrounded by stunning scenery. It gave me the opportunity to work at my Bath training venue and work with some new clients from the area and train some lovely young dogs. I love going to Bath as I can catch up with existing clients who live in the south who I have been working with over the past year.

Home sitting was a complete joy as the setting in which the house sat was stunning with open fields and lovely views across the Golden Valley, as it’s known. The sunrise each day was as breath taking as the sunsets and looking out across the valley over my morning coffee was lovely.

I did have a few heart stopping moments though as I had five chickens to look after, 4 brown and 1 white. They were free range and lived near the house in a huge open enclosure surrounded by an electric fence to keep the foxes out. They had trees to roost in and a lovely hut to sleep in, and were fairly easy to look after, they just had to be cleared out every few days, as well as being fed. The girls were a bit naughty and didn’t lay eggs everyday as the owners said they would, I think they had decided to have a Christmas break as well, but after the new year they decided to buck there ideas up and they started laying again.

The white chicken was the one that had my heart stopping several times as every morning when I went out to feed and check them she was never there! All the others came to see me but not her, after a few days I realised that she was a home bird. She really didn’t like coming out but preferred to sit in her little house just peeping out. However after a few days we had a routine, when I went and called them she would pop out let me see she was still alive and well, and then pop back in again. I wonder do I have another gift should I become a chicken trainer instead of a dog trainer!!

Meeting up with clients who had all attended my training school in Bath over the past years was great, and really important to do for any trainer to help maintain a good working relationship, as well as friendships. I know clients like to feel confident that they always have total support and help from the trainer and it was fun to see how much work they had put into their dogs and how they have developed. The people that I saw in Bath really surprised me as I didn’t expect them to be so perfect, but they had all worked really hard and had maintained the training that they had been taught, the dogs, as well as the owners, were all having a great life and a lot of fun together. It was very satisfying to see them all again and that is what makes training so rewarding and so worthwhile.

For me training is not just about seeing an owner with their dog, doing the training, and then forgetting all about them. The role of any good teachers is to build up a relationship with the owner and the dog and then to remain in both of their lives for back-up and total support should they need it. I must say that over the many years of training I have always had excellent clients and dogs and over half of them have turned out to be really good friends, a really rewarding part of my job and which I feel very blessed to have.

I’m really looking forward to 2014 and the events and work it will bring – already I have some exciting business ideas in the pipeline, so watch this space!

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