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 started my own business in training behavioral problems and their owners. For the last two and a half years 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 Hertfordshire 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:
An initial one to one, 90 minute Gun-Dog assessment is £45.00
All other prices are available on application.
Dorntanza holds regular events which you are welcome to attend. These include Game Experience and retrieving Workshops and are kept updated on both this page and our Facebook Page.
Places are limited and cost is normally in the region of £40 for a 3 hour session. if you wish to attend, please contact us using the CONTACT FORM on this site or the Events Section of our Facebook Page.
Payment is required in advance and whilst cancellations are refundable, we reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee of £25 in the event of a late cancellation for which we are unable to find a replacement.
A list of scheduled events is below:
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