Co-operative Vet & Husbandry Care Skills Workshop


Dates for 2019 TBC soon (to be added to our mailing list for notification of dates for upcoming talks and workshops please email:



Does your dog dislike being handled by the Vet?

Do you have difficulty providing ear, eye or other medical treatments for your dog?

Is your dog avoidant of being groomed or having his nails clipped?

Does your dog panic or show aggression when they are physically restrained?


If so then this workshop is for you. Mandy is a Fear Free Certified Professional who specialises in fear free vet handling.  She will be showing you how you can teach your dog to actively participate in their own veterinary and husbandry care, using restraint free methods.  Physical restraint is often the main stressor for our dogs and can often be a trigger for aggression.  If we can teach our dogs to co-operate and offer voluntary behaviours that enables us to examine them and provide necessary care for them without the need for restraint, we can significantly reduce their fear and anxiety in such situations.

Participants will learn how to have a 2-way conversation with their dog.  We can provide our dogs with choice and control by teaching them a way to say 'I'm ready', ‘no’, ‘stop’ or ‘I need a break’.  This empowers our dogs, increases their motivation to participate and reduces stress and anxiety as well as the risk of aggression. 

Topics covered include:

  • Optimal learning environments – setting our dogs up to succeed

  • Understanding how dogs learn – classical and operant conditioning, counter-conditioning, desensitisation and overshadowing

  • The difference between bribery, rewards and reinforcement

  • Problems that can be associated with using food in the Vet environment

  • How to create a conversation with your dog – teaching them to say ‘I’m ready’, ‘stop’ or ‘I need a break’

  • Stationing – mat training, chin rest targeting

  • Muzzle training

  • Chirag Patel’s Bucket Game

  • Introduction to basic handling techniques


There is an Advanced Co-operative Care Skills workshop planned for 2019 where we will build further on the basic skills learnt here by teaching more complex handling/treatment skills. Please email me if you wold be interested in attending.

Places are limed to 12 spectator places plus 4 dog handler places. Spectators will be split into small working groups and will get a chance to work alongside a dog.  

Dog Handler places – your dog must be comfortable working alongside other dogs and people, but all dogs will be kept on lead so do not need to interact.  You will be working in small groups with your dog with other spectators.  Your dog does not have to be comfortable being handled but for safety reasons we cannot allow dogs that have bitten over handling.  The aim is to ensure all dogs progress at their own pace and are not subjected to anything that they do not feel comfortable with and are kept stress-free at all times.

 All dog handlers please bring the following:

  • Large supply of high value food rewards such as real meat or cheese.

  • You dog’s usual mat/bed to rest on in between exercises

  • Treat bag

  • A specific mat large enough for your dog to lay on that you have not used for anything else before – ideally non-slip.  A bath mat or rubber backed mat is ideal.  This will be used as a ‘handling mat’

  • A bowl and a bottle of your own water from home for your dog

  • Crate (optional) – if your dog is happy to rest in a crate in between exercises

  • Your dog’s favourite toy

  • Clicker (optional)

  • All dogs must be on standard collars or harnesses and standard leads (no flexi leads or slip leads). 

  • Anything else you feel would help your dog feel comfortable and relaxed


The workshop is 4 hours and includes regular sessions of PowerPoint presentation in between the practical exercises so all dogs need to be comfortable resting either on their bed or in their crate/car during these times.  Please leave your dog in the car when you arrive initially.

If anyone does have a dog that has shown aggression over handling or is reactive to strangers or other dogs, they would be better suited to 121 training. 

To book a place please email:



Fear Free Vet Visits


Dates for 2019 TBC soon (to be added to our mailing list for notification of dates for upcoming talks and workshops please email:




Is your dog scared of going to the Vet?

Do you get stressed taking your dog to the Vet?

Is your dog showing aggression towards the Vet?

Is it difficult for your Vet to examine your dog?



Vet visits don’t have to be scary, there are many  things we can do to make them enjoyable.  Mandy is a Fear Free Certified Professional who specialises in helping owners with dogs that are scared of Vet Visits and Vet Handling. This talk will  provide owners with useful strategies and advice to help them reduce their dog’s fear, anxiety and stress during Vet Visits and will cover the following:


The benefits of Fear Free Vet Visits and Vet Handling for owners and dogs

  • Positive vs aggressive coping strategies in dogs

  • Understanding how dogs communicate (body language and the Threat Response)

  • How to identify signs of stress

  • Trigger stacking

  • What does your Vet need to know about your dog to aid a Fear Free Visit?

  • Preparation – before leaving home and transport to the Vets

  • What to bring

  • Appropriate equipment

  • Location – which location is best suited for your dog to feel relaxed

  • Arrival and reception – how to keep your dog stress free and under control

  • Consult room – reducing stress around examinations and treatments

  • Safety and Choice – the importance of these in reducing fear, anxiety and stress

  • What to do after the Vet Visit

  • Appropriate and effective use of food during Vet Visits

  • Shut down dogs and Learned Helplessness – how to identify these in your dog

  • Building a Trust Account with your dog

  • Happy Visits – what are they and how do they help

  • What is Co-operative Care?

  • What to do regarding emergency and very painful treatments/procedures

  • Medications to reduce fear anxiety and stress – prescription and neutraceuticals

  • Resources – useful resources for further advice and information


To book a place please email:



The Link Between Pain & Behaviour in Dogs Part 1



Dates for 2019 TBC soon (to be added to our mailing list for notification of dates for upcoming talks and workshops please email:




Does your dog no longer want to play with other dogs?

Has your dog become avoidant of touch?

Has your dog started showing signs of aggression when touched?

Does your dog suddenly seem old? 

Has your dog suddenly become 'disobedient' 



Often the first sign of pain or illness is a change in your dog's behaviour. If a dog is suffering physically from pain, this can affect their ability to cope with everyday life and as dog owners/dog professionals it is crucial that we learn how to identify signs of pain in our dogs so that we can ensure quick and appropriate assessment and treatment.  

This talk will discuss the links between pain and behaviour including behavioural signs of pain, links between pain and aggression, how fear, anxiety and stress can overlap but also mask signs of pain as well as a discussion of different types of pain, how animals may experience pain and how we can best assess, manage and treat certain types of pain.’

This talk is presented in two parts, the first half by Mandy Locks, Dog Trainer and Behaviour Consultant at Akira Dog Training, the second half by Cathie Forbes, Canine Soft Tissue Therapist at Southdowns Canine Therapy.

  • How dogs communicate

  • Normal vs Abnormal behaviour

  • Behavioural signs of pain

  • Pain, fear, anxiety and stress

  • How pain is linked to stress and fear

  • Recognising stress and pain

  • How dogs communicate

  • The link between pain and aggression


  • What is pain?

  • Different types of pain

  • Acute vs Chronic pain

  • How important is muscular pain?

  • Soft tissue injuries & repetitive soft tissue strains

  • Joint Disorders and how they affect mobility 

  • Identifying different types of pain

  • Posture & Gait - identifying common changes in body shape caused by muscular imbalances 

  • Canine athletes & working dogs - identifying common muscular problems 

  • Puppy Exercise and development

  • Simple changes that can help maintain muscular health

  • Teamwork 


The talk will include discussion of case studies.

 To book a place please email:



Defensive Handling


Dates for 2019 TBC soon (to be added to our mailing list for notification of dates for upcoming talks and workshops please email:




Do you live with a multi-dog household?

Do you work with dogs?

Are you concerned about how to deal with a dog fight 

or what you should do if you get bitten?



This talk is for owners and canine professionals and indeed anyone who comes into contact with dogs. You will learn about dog body language and how to recognise the signs of an imminent fight or bite so you can better manage and avoid aggressive incidents.

 The talk will also look at what to do when things go wrong, providing practical advice on how to deal with dog fights and dog bites. 

Topics covered include:

  • Why do dogs bite?

  • Understanding the threat response

  • Four main responses to threat

  • How dogs communicate

  • Threat reduction

  • Dealing with dogs that are fearful/displaying aggression

  • Reasons for handling dogs that are displaying aggression

  • Appropriate use of safety equipment

  • Risk assessment/reduction

  • Different types of bites and how to deal with them

  • What to do if you do get bitten

  • Pre-empting/preventing dog fights

  • Splitting up dog fights

  • Predatory Drift

 To book a place please email: