My love affair with man’s best friend started when I was just a child. From the age of 9 years old, I was working German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers to a high competition standard, under the watchful eye of my step father (Trevor Rigby) who ran a successful dog training business – Dorntanza Gundogs.
Upon leaving school I joined the family business and was involved in training dogs (mainly Hunt Point Retrievers – HPR) for the gun and birds of prey. This proved the ultimate ‘apprenticeship’ and provided me with a valuable grounding in field training and how dogs think and behave.
At the age of 27 I joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) and for 15 years enjoyed a fulfilling career as a Dog Trainer. My role involved instructing UK and international students and soldiers within the Armed Forces, Police, Prison Service, HM Customs and civilians both at home and overseas in Canine Search, Protection, Tracking and Obedience.
From the training, instructing and handling of Specialist Dog teams for the London 2012 Olympics to training defence professionals on how to work with dogs to detect ivory and buried explosive devices, my position as a Training Sergeant for Detection Dogs took me all over the world. I was humbled to receive the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery whilst serving in as part of an operational Tracker Dog Team. As a respected Class 1 Canine Instructor and SME (Subject Matter Expert) in Military Working Dogs I have had the privilege of delivering lectures and demos to the Royal Family, Special Forces, Police and Prison service as a member of the British Counter IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) Team.
Upon leaving the RAVC I returned to Dumfries and started my own business in training dogs with behavioural problems and their owners.
Since then I have shared my knowledge and expertise built up over a career spanning over 30 years, to offer specialised training for working (gun) dogs and their owners, as well as helping pet owners deal with a variety of obedience / behavioural issues with their dogs.
I have recently relocated to South Lincolnshire where I continue to deliver bespoke one-to-one training for dogs and their owners.
My ethos is straightforward, success through an innate understanding of dog psychology – never brute force! Dogs need a focus, they need to have a purpose and this gives them stimulation and a far greater bond with you their owner and Pack Leader.
Many of the dogs who I come across in my professional career as a Dog Trainer have recently been re-homed and are rescue dogs. On a personal level, I derive a huge amount of satisfaction at witnessing the transformation of a dog which was potentially sitting on ‘death’s row’ – as a result of its unruly behaviour – into a happy, content animal that can benefit from a secure and settled life.
Not all of our clients are ‘troubled dogs’, some merely require a bit of expert guidance to address minor obedience matters – and essentially to learn some manners! Here’s an outline of the training that I can help with:
In addition, I offer professional HPR and Gundog training and problem solving. Training spans from the basics up to shooting over your dog as a team. Bespoke training includes:
An initial one to one, 90 minute Gun-Dog assessment is £75.00. Follow up sessions are charged at £50.00 per hour for individual bespoke training sessions. A full training program will be written to help you continue in between lessons.
Courses will be charged at the rate shown when advertised on social media.
If behavioural training is required prices are available on application.
Our Intensive Training is totally bespoke and can be adapted to your requirements, it is aimed at any level of handler and breed of dog, from the complete novice looking for basic training to field trailers needing to go back to basics. Our aim is to provide a relaxing environment where you can immerse yourself in your training, spending time just thinking about you and your dog.
The training is 1-2-1 only, this way we can guarantee that you receive individual attention from Matthew to cover any areas of training which you are having problems with or areas which need developing.
By the end of the few days, you will have learned lots of new methods, seen improvement in your handling skills, which in turn will help you to train your dog effectively. You will go away with a set of skills to enable you to carry on with your training at home.
The training will include some theory and practical lessons using the facilities at Dorntanza. Our facilities include:
From March 2022 we will be offering self-catering only accommodation in our “Snug” which is located on our secured gated premises with access to lots of parking. The Snug has a fitted kitchen with appliances, jet shower, toilet, King Size bed, TV and seating. We provide bed linen, towels and basic toiletries. In the summer you can sit out on the Snugs private patio, perfect for watching the amazing sun sets we have at Dorntanza.
Partners are very welcome to stay with you and we can offer the option of a Mini Break - Training weekend. Training will take place in the morning, and the afternoon can be spent visiting the local area. We are close to Grantham, Newark and Lincoln which have very good restaurants and places to see. We are also surrounded by some lovely villages which have great pubs for evening entertainment and eating out. We are more than happy to look after your dogs whilst you are out.
The Snug is “well behaved” dog friendly. We do ask that you do not let your your dogs on the furniture; we can provide crates for your dogs to sleep in.
Please use your common sense, and do not let them in the accommodation if wet and muddy. We have taps and dog towels if needed, or you can put them in your vehicles or the kennel temporarily until clean and dry if easier.
Please bring with you everything that you would normally bring to a self-catering holiday property, including dog food, treats, dummies and dog towels.
The weather can be changeable please bring suitable attire for the weather season, waterproof jackets, boots. The barn and kennel area can be used to hang wet coats and store boots etc to save bringing them inside.
For any more information or our current prices and availability please email Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: our Facebook page tends to be a little more up to date and automatically shows how many people have confirmed attendance. You can visit it HERE