Doggy Dilemmas

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Dog Training

Would you like to have a happy and rewarding partnership with your dog and become a more responsible and caring owner?

The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme is the largest dog training scheme in the UK.  Its aim is to promote responsible dog ownership and in turn, enhance our relationship with our pets and to make the community aware of the benefits associated with dog ownership.

To learn more about the scheme visit:

KC Good Citizen Dog Scheme

If you have a need for puppy training, adult dog training, clicker training, one to ones or any other dog problems, then just call us and we'll discuss the individual needs of your dog.  As well as training your dog we teach you (on a one to one basis) how to handle your dog.

Training dogs has changed a great deal in the last few years. It is no longer necessary, or acceptable, to use harsh methods in training, and the use of gentle, motivational methods are as successful as they are enjoyable to use.

The following are excerpts from letters written by people who come to Doggy Dilemmas dog training classes:

After being informed my six month old jack Russell, Tilly, was untrainable by another dog training group, I felt stupid and my spirits had been dampened and I felt I had taken on more than I could handle by purchasing a dog.

I contacted Debbie Mackay by email and she was very quick to respond, asking questions to try and help me with Tilly's behaviour.  We were invited along to a training group and at first I was very apprehensive and worried but we were very welcome and reassured that Tilly was trainable. In time, Debbie showed me some fantastic ways of training Tilly and the importance of the owner's body language; something I had never considered before.  Tilly was interacting with other dogs, and I with other dog owners and it was such an enjoyable experience for both of us. Debbie's professional and friendly manner made my dog and I feel most welcome.

 Now, Tilly has moved up to a more advanced training group as Debbie has helped me bring her on leaps and bounds!  We have even learnt some tricks which is great fun! Next, we are looking into doing the Bronze Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme.  This is something we never would have thought about doing before but with the help of Debbie we now can and who knows, perhaps even aim to do the Silver and Gold also.  I would recommend these dog training groups to anyone as there is no such meaning to the term 'untrainable dog' when you have the help of Debbie.

Tanya and Tilly the Jack Russell.


I had had a bad experience with a trainer, who both my wife and I were made to feel stupid and inadequate and quite the reverse of confident with my young dog. I was therefore relieved when introduced to Debbie Mackay by a neighbour, and signed up for her puppy training classes.

It was obvious from the start that Debbie loves dogs and dogs absolutely love her.

I learnt that Confidence is the key to success and that setting boundaries is also very important particularly with a willful dog; this means confidence in the trainer, in the dog and in the handler. There is no short cut to instilling confidence in a dog, they have to enjoy their training and feel relaxed with the humans they are working with. Under Debbie’s warm and relaxed leadership all the owners and dogs in our puppy class quickly learnt what fun training our puppies would be for both us and the dogs. Naturally, whether our puppies were large, small, extrovert, timid (and in a few cases psychologically damaged) our relationship with our dogs developed and we happily passed our Foundation assessment in the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen scheme.

 Since then a large proportion of this initial puppy class have stayed with Debbie to go on to train for the Kennel Club’s Bronze, Silver and now Gold award. All dogs passing successfully. It is a testament to Debbie’s approach and ability as a trainer that this wide range of personalities, in both dog and handler, developed happily and successfully.

Now, as a group of dog owners we still train with Debbie largely because our dogs love going to her classes and enjoy working with her so much.

There is no one I would trust more with our beloved dog than Debbie, and we have been lucky enough to be able to leave her with Debbie while away on holiday. My dog loves being with her. I cannot recommend Debbie Mackay to you too highly.

Phil and Mabel the Airedale


I have always found Debbie to be extremely reliable and trustworthy when looking after my animals. My dog has always been thoroughly exercised and very well cared for when with her. Debbie often puts herself out to make sure he is not left alone for too long and she always makes his well-being her first priority.

Debbie uses reward-based training techniques in her training classes. Exercises follow the disciplines required by the Kennel Club Good Canine Citizen Award scheme and we all work to attaining these awards. Shortly after our dog came to us as a puppy, Debbie gave us a one-to-one session on clicker training to get us started. I have since found this a very useful training technique.

Over the last couple of years I have found Debbie to be completely devoted to her own dogs and also to those that come under her care.

 Jo and Monty the Labrador


My own dog is a Leonberger who started his training at twelve weeks old and has benefitted enormously from these weekly sessions. I started in the puppy class where the focus right from the beginning was based on kindness and encouragement. Treats when an exercise was completed well or simply repeating the task if my dog didn't do what was required. Within a short time we had passed our first Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog award which was assessed by an independent judge.  I have moved between several classes to fit in with my timetable and the same teaching style has been apparent throughout. The advice I have been given has been very effective and the classes are great fun.  I am delighted with the training I have received and would recommend Debs Mackay as a trainer to anyone looking to work with their dog.  Debs has also helped me out with dog walking and sitting on many occasions.  My dog is always very excited to go out with Debs and always happy and relaxed upon his return. Discovering Doggy Dilemmas and Debs Mackay has, in short, been a God send.

Jane and Mungo the Leonberger


 I have a two year old brindle bullmastiff, and upon recommendation I have been taking him to Debs Mackay since he was 5 months old, obviously with such a large and powerful dog control and obedience is paramount.  From the very first lesson it was plain to see Debs was devoted to all the dogs in the class and she has worked tenaciously to get my dog where he is today, that is having passed The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze award and is close to his silver, he is also performing well in the show ring and socializes well with all dogs.

 Deborah and England the bullmastiff


 Debs has been training my 18months old Labrador for the last year.  Shadow has not been the easiest dog to train, but Debs has shown patience, kindness and gentleness on every occasion.  When firm handling was needed, this was also carried out with gentle persuasion, encouragement and authority.

I have seen Debs train other, equally difficult dogs several times in the same way with fantastic results.

I would highly recommend Debs Mackay to any dog owner who wants a dog trained to be well adjusted, obedient and happy.

Sally and Shadow the Labrador 


The classes are always relaxed and happy there is never any shouting from Ms Mackay or any of the owners. On the rare occasion that there has been prolonged barking Ms Mackay has dealt with it in a calm and reasonable manner and the behaviour has stopped very quickly. She has a calm authority with the dogs which is enviable, the dogs clearly respect her and I have never seen any signs of fear or distress. My own dog is always very excited when we get near to the village hall and whilst not really interested in the other owners he is always delighted to see Ms Mackay.

She shows a great knowledge of her field, and has shown various ways of training if for example one method doesn’t work. Aswell as other practical advice and support helping us all care for our dogs.

 The classes are well structured and cover all of the aspects of The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme.  There are always a manageable number of us in the classes, and if it looks like there are going to be too many Ms Mackay has started more classes. This obviously benefits both owners and dogs as we have a much more productive session.

 If there is any play during the session it is always carefully supervised.

 To conclude I have found the training classes a positive experience and helpful in so many ways. Ms Mackay is an excellent trainer, and the care of the dogs is always at the forefront of all she does. Many of us began at puppy classes and over 1 year on we are still attending dog training classes. Because it is beneficial but more importantly it is enjoyable.

 Sarah and Finlay the Bearded Collie


You were recommended to me by a gentleman who had taken in a rescue crossbreed and was having tremendous trouble controlling him. He came to your classes and after weeks of care and assistance you enabled him to learn how to handle his dog. This dog has now earned his gold medal for good citizenship.

I brought Casey to your classes hoping to achieve the same results especially as Irish Terriers are notoriously single minded. Carefully and with plenty of understanding all the things a dog owner should know were imparted to me. The most important aspect of training is the owner, as the dog can only do what he is consistently informed by his owner. You have shown me how to get the very best out of Casey and he has become a truly lovely dog. Everybody in my village loves him and we are welcome into anybody's house as they know he is so well trained. I put this down to your care and patience and the ability to put enormous amounts of effort and fun into how you train dogs.

Phil and Casey the Irish Terrier

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