Practical Dog Handling Accredited Four Week Courses

Interested in becoming a dog trainer or working with dogs?

Lat year we had such a great response to our Practical Dog Handling courses that we have again teamed up with Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary to do some training with their canine residents this summer. 

Robin Bates and Sandra Gilliland will be running a four week Practical Dog Handling course at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary beginning Wednesday 18th July at 6pm – 8pm for four consecutive weeks OR Wednesday 15th August 6pm – 8pm for four consecutive weeks. 

The course is accredited by the Open College Network NI to level one standard.

At the course you will learn:

- How to understand dog body language and how dogs learn

- Practical dog handling and training skills working with rescue dogs using reward based methods

-Information on how to work safely with unknown dogs.

Places are very limited as we need to keep class numbers small for this course.

Cost for this four week accredited course is £225.

A £100 non-refundable deposit is required for payment by Monday 28th May with final payment due by Monday 18th June 2018. This course is non-refundable.

Email to book your spot on one of the course dates ASAP as spaces are very limited.

New OCN NI Accredited Four Week Puppy Development Course Starting Wednesday 23rd May

New course starting on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 on the important stages of development in puppies

Dog trainers and behaviourists Robin Bates and Sandra Gilliland will be running an accredited four week Puppy Development course at the Skainos Centre in Belfast stating on Wednesday 23rd May from 7 – 9pm.

The course is accredited through the Open College Network in Northern Ireland to their level one standard. No prior knowledge on this subject area is required, (there will be no dogs at the course).

This course would be of interest to veterinary staff interested in taking puppy parties, dog trainers or anyone who works or wants to work in the dog /pet industry.

Check out our Facebook event page for more information.  



A Snifftastic Time was Had!

Well done to the dogs and owners who completed our four week Scent Workshop in January at Glenvarna Christian Centre in Newtownabbe.

Our dog owners enjoyed getting to know all about just how powerful their dog's noses can be!

We have a Reactive Rovers workshop coming up in Glenvarna in February which is fully booked. We also have a few Canine Enrichment Hours and Loose Lead and Recall workshops coming up in March in Glenvarna, as well as 'A very different dog training course' starting on 8th March, check out our events page for info. 



New Additional Location for Puppy School Courses

Robin is the regional manager for Puppy School in Northern Ireland and a Puppy School tutor. He has just got himself another hall in Belfast to take even more Puppy School courses during the week. The new hall is the Agapé Centre Belfast on the Lisburn Road. The first course in this new location begins on Monday 8th January at 7pm. There are s few spaces left on this course if you are interested please email All puppies must be under 20 weeks old and have had both sets of vaccinations before the course begins.

DiscDog 3 Day Workshop

Want to do something new and exciting with your dog?

Disc Dog, A.K.A Dog Frisbee  is a fab dog sport that focuses on teamwork to get the most impressive catches within the allotted time limit, but also has various games within the sport, just like agility! 

Ruby Welsford of ClickerTastic and the UK DDA (Disc Dog Association) and her dog Betsy will be leading this fun three day event over the May bank holiday from Saturday 26th May - Monday 28th May 2018. 

Get in touch with us to book either a dog and handler spot for the three days or a spectator spot! 

The Gift of Knowledge

Looking for some Christmas gift ideas to get the dog-obsessed person in your life?

We now have gift certificates available of any amount you wish to cover Robin's home visits, workshops, educational courses, seminars or any Puppy School courses covered by Robin.

Check out our events page to find out what is coming up that may be of interest and email to order your gift certificate, which our dog friend Mia is kindly modelling.

Dog Friendly Tours in Northern Ireland

Robin and his rescue yorkie Jake had a great time with Dog Friendly Tours in November 2017 on the group's first Belfast dog friendly tour going around local dog friendly pubs and restaurants and meeting new people and their dogs.

The group is Northern Ireland's first Dog Friendly Walking Tours. They encourage people to bring their dogs, explore new areas, and enjoy local Northern Ireland food, drink and craic in dog friendly venues.

If you think your dog would enjoy a social day out in the company of other dogs and dog owners we would recommend signing up for a tour with the friendly group.

Keep up to date with their upcoming tours across Northern Ireland via their website:




Canine Enrichment Talk at Cromlyn House Veterinary Hospital and Clinic

Thanks to Cromlyn House Veterinary Hospital and Clinic for having me over to talk about canine enrichment, it's importance in dog's daily lives, the fact that it can happen anywhere and the different forms of enrichment that can be used around the home.  The attendees also heard from Vet Kathryn who gave an invaluable talk on first aid for your pet. Thank you to everyone who attended and donated towards Debbie Doolittle's Wild Life to help Debbie with all the good work she does across Northern Ireland with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. I hope to see some of you and your dogs at our upcoming Enrichment Hours at Smithvale Dog Centre on Thursday 14th December, and Thursday 28th December 2017. Email Valerie at Smithvale Dog Centre at to book your dog's spot to get a chance to practise some new enrichment ideas that you can set up for your dog around the home. 

Canine Enrichment Hours at Smithvale Dog Centre

We held our first Dog Enrichment Hour at Smithvale Dog Centre in November 2017. Both dogs and owners had fun engaging together and the dogs just loved using their brain power and noses during the exercises! Remember enrichment can happen anywhere, the home, on walks, in the garden. Enrichment does not have to be expensive, there are a lot of great canine brain games on the market, but sometimes an old shoe box filled with scrunched up paper and a few treats thrown in, or a folded up tea towel with a few treats hidden inside can be just as enriching! Our next enrichment event at Smithvale Dog Centre is on Thursday 30th November, there are still a few spots left so get signed up before it books up! 

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Interested in working with dogs or already in the industry and want to increase your skillset?

Sign up for our accredited course starting in January 2018!

Our Principles of Dog Training and Behaviour Course is accredited through the Open College Network Northern Ireland to their level 3 standard. 

It is held over ten classes covering topics like learning theory, the domestication of dogs, stages of puppyhood, socialisation, taking a class and teaching exercises and working with behaviour problems.

The course begins on Monday 22nd January 2018 at 7pm in Belfast, for further information please email

Registration for the course closes on Friday 8th December 2017.