A Tideswell-based dog trainer has told how she calmed a ‘chaotic’ canine to take her third consecutive first place at Crufts in the Good Citizens Class.
Claire Lawrence, 31, has been working with dogs for most of her life and running her own training business for seven years - adopting a rewards-based system and specialising in ‘chaotic’ dogs with behavioural problems.
This year’s Crufts event is the third in which she has stepped in to show dogs for an exhibitor - taking first place at the annual international canine event each time.
However the competition was by no means a walk-in-the-park for Claire this year as in Crufts only dogs which show exceptional obedience will pass judge’s strict standards.
However the Rough Collie dog she was handling known as Pasha - or Barrenclough Diamond Days JW - was ‘stressed’ and fidgeting.
By relaxing Pasha through gentle massaging she was able to ‘bring her back down to Earth’ as the dog ‘stood beautifully’ and ‘did everything that was required of her’.
Claire, who has a degree in canine behaviour, said: “Twenty minutes is not a lot of time so it was a hit-and-miss moment.
“I was thinking ‘I’m at the end of the road here’ but I managed to relax her and engage her in play.”
Claire uses a technique called Tellington Touch - massaging areas such as the chest or hindquarters to reduce anxiety.
Handler Claire, who owns four dogs herself, specialises in working with chaotic dogs using mostly non-verbal training techniques.
She said: “Humans tend to natter on and to dogs talking is just another noise.
“I reward with treats and toys and use body language.
“When I’m making a coffee in the morning as soon as I put my spoon on the counter my dog knows I’m going up to my office to work and its time to go and lie down in her bed.”
To find out more about Claire’s business High Peak Dog Services visit highpeakdogservices.co.uk.