Merry Christmas! What wonderful things await in 2015…

We’ve had a very exciting year here at Paws for Progress

Welcome to the ???????????????????????????????Paws for Progress Christmas blog post, where we will sum up another great year and give you a teaser of what we have planned for 2015! Thanks to the support of The Robertson Trust and the University of Stirling, we began the year by progressing from being a pilot project to gaining the status of Community Interest Company (CIC) in February which has opened the door to many more opportunities. We would like to thank our funders this year for their generous support; the Voluntary Action Fund, The Robertson Trust, the Big Lottery Scotland: Young Start Fund, The Cross Trust, The Nancie Massey Charitable Trust and The Tabhair Charitable Trust.

Summary of 2014

 In August, we celebrated the third anniversary since the Dog Training Course began operating at HM YOI Polmont. In this time, we have completed 12 cycles and 70 young men completed the course at HM YOI Polmont. 100% of the participants felt the course had been useful to them and responded positively about their experiences. The full evaluation will be completed early 2015, and we are looking forward to sharing the ensuing reports detailing the positive effects participating has for the young people and dogs involved.

Fundraising Successes

We have also had a very successful year of fundraising. In July, Tynewater Dog Training hosted an excellent seminar with Al Bunyan, with proceeds donated to Paws for Progress. Meanwhile this autumn Gary and Tracey, two of our wonderful Directors at Paws, ran more than 26 miles between them to raise money for Paws. Gary completed the great North run in September, while Tracey completed the Great Scottish Run Half Marawp28b51b52_06thon in October- a great effort from both.

Alongside some smaller fundraising initiatives and the Amazon Wish List this brings the total raised this year for Paws for Progress up to over £4,000 – amazing work and a huge thank you from all at Paws, your commitment and hard work is truly appreciated by everyone involved!

Christmas Fundraising

Christmas is approaching fast, and it would be fantastic if ???????????????????????????????you could help us raise money for Paws for Progress when you’re shopping online. If you sign up to support us on then you can shop with any of over 2,700 retailers and a percentage of what you spend is donated to Paws for Progress at no additional cost to you. Retailers include Amazon, John Lewis, eBay, Tesco and many more. In just a few short weeks our supporters have already raised over £60 which is a fantastic achievement in such a short period, so please do sign up and get involved and let’s see if we can hit our target of £100 by Christmas!

You can also mojo2help us raise money when you’re browsing the internet by supporting us on and use it instead of your usual search engine. There is now the opportunity for you to buy branded Paws for Progress merchandise, either for yourself or as a Christmas gift! For every item purchased from our web-shop we receive a  commission, so not only will you look great promoting Paws for Progress with your branded purchases but you’ll be giving money to a good cause too. Visit our webshop to browse a variety of products including mugs, hoodies, t-shirts and dog tags. Check out our mascot Mojo modelling his hoodie!

Many thanks for your support

Also a huge thank you to all the individuals who support us, your interest and kind support really makes all the difference! Our hardworking students would like to thank you, and from the letter below you can really see what a difference your support makes and how much it is appreciated:

“To all those who help Paws for Progress,

All of the students at Polmont HM YOI would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your support over the last few years.

If we didn’t have your support then this course would be nowhere near as good as it is. Thanks to you we are able to buy in lots of training tools like clickers, leads, treat bags, treats, toys etc. which means the dogs that we work with would not have such a good experience without it. Thanks from all the boys.”

Paws for Progress students, 2014

If you would like to make a donation of any of the items mentioned in the message above then please visit our Amazon Wish List!

Plans for 2015

Our final course of the year has now drawn to a close, and we are now preparing our workshop at Polmont for refurbishment. This is a really exciting development which will provide us with new, purpose built facilities for our indoor training sessions, and we are really looking forward to using the facilities. This is part of a significant investment in the learning environment at HM YOI Polmont. The refurbishment is due to be completed by March, when the course will resume better than ever. We truly appreciate the excellent support which has been provided to the project by our partners the Scottish Prison Service. We are really excited to be involved in the creation of the learning environment at Polmont and contributing to the Young People’s Strategy: Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens, Effective Contributors.

In the New Year we will be fast approaching our one year anniversary as a Community Interest Company. Now that we have a secure core of dedicated directors and a growing team of staff we are looking to expand our services further, enabling us to help more people and animals. This will include raising funds by running events which you can get involved with, and we will also be hosting conferences, training days and workshops. More details on the topics which will be covered, dates and how to get involved will be included in our next newsletter and regular updates here on our blog o watch this space.

If you are interested in attending one of our events and would like to be on our mailing list to receive information please contact us at with your details and we’ll get in touch with news about our upcoming events.

In 2014 we had the pleasure of visiting Meadowbank Library in Falkirk to give a talk on the work that Paws for Progress carries out, which was a great opportunity to connect with the local community. If you are interested in having us provide a talk about Paws for Progress then please get in touch. We are also thrilled to be working in partnership with the University of Stirling in developing the new Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre.  This means that the new initiatives and services we provide will also be carefully evaluated to guide their development and ensure the needs of our clients are met. There will also be a new MSc course in Human-Animal Interactions at the University of Stirling from 2015. More details coming soon…

All in all there are plenty of promising opportunities waiting for us in 2015, and we can’t wait to carry on growing and continuing the success of 2014.

A Merry Christmas to you all from everyone at Paws for Progress, we look forward to updating you on our new ventures in 2015!


Exciting times…

We have been busy as ever over the summer months and have even more great news to share from Paws for Progress!

Firstly, we are very pleased to announce our successful grant awarded from the Big Lottery Scotland: Young Start Fund. This grant is vital to ensuring our project at HM YOI Polmont continues to operate successfully, by funding the post of our Course Instructor. When announcing the grants awarded, Chair of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Maureen McGinn, said: “Young Start helps ensuyoungstartre that Scotland’s next generation has the best possible start in life”; we share this ambition and look forward to reporting more success in achieving this as the project continues.


Thanks to the Volunteering Support Grant provided by the Voluntary Action Fund, we have also now recruited for the post of Support Officer for the Paws for Progress team. Our Support Officer will provide additional support to young men volunteering in the community, ensuring their skills are VAF LOGO put to good use and assisting the students to use the skills, learning and qualifications they gain from volunteering post release to effectively demonstrate their “work readiness”.


Two of our Directors at Paws for Progress CIC are also helping raise funds for Paws For Progress by running in sponsored events. Please help support their great efforts by following the links below to their sponsorship pages:



Gary Waddell – Great North Run – 7th Sept


Tracey McLennan – Great Scottish Run Half Marathon – 5th Oct



We are very grateful to all our partners, funders and supporters for the help they provide, ensuring we can continue to deliver our services and improve the outcomes of the young people and dogs involved. Please see our ‘About’ section for further details.

We are also thrilled to be working alongside the University of Stirling to develop the new and exciting Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre. Our partnership with SHAIR will ensure rigorous evaluations are built into all new developments, whilst also expanding our knowledge and understanding in the field of Human-Animal Interactions (HAI). In addition, a new postgraduate course will be developed in Psychology at the University of Stirling, complimenting the range of taught MSc / postgraduate diploma courses which provide training for a research career or for professional development. This exciting new development means that from 2015, the MSc in Human Animal Interactions will be available at the University of Stirling. Please contact the Psychology Office at the University of Stirling for more information.

Thank you for your interest and support; we look forward to sharing more news soon.

Paws for Progress CIC

Enhancing the well-being of people and animals

Promoting and supporting positive human-animal interactions

2014 – a great year for Paws for Progress!

The first prison based dog training programme in the UK, Paws for Progress was introduced to HM YOI Polmont in August 2011, and continues to operate successfully as we approach our third anniversary. We have been working hard to ensure the project is sustainable in the long term and are very pleased to announce that Paws for Progress was registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in February 2014 (see ‘About us: Paws for Progress CIC’).  We are very grateful to our project partnersfunders and supporters who continue to provide excellent support throughout the course delivery and project development (see ‘Our partners, funders and supporters’ for more information) which enables us to continue to improve the outcomes of the young people and dogs who are involved.

Latest reviews of our progress

We have now completed eleven cycles of the course at HM YOI Polmont, and the response is hugely positive. Overall, there have now been 66 young men who have taken part in Paws for Progress; over 80% of these continued to support us post-graduation as peer mentors and volunteer assistants, demonstrating their high commitment. Rebecca Leonardi (who instigated the project) is researching the efficacy of Paws for Progress in delivering the intended outcomes (as the focus of her PhD) and it will therefore be subject to a comprehensive review, due to be completed by the end of the year.

More good news!

In the meantime, we are delighted to report some of the headline results and initial findings e.g. in the last year (as of May 2014):

- 30 young men completed the 8-week dog training course

- Almost 300 SQA qualifications gained in core skills such as reading, writing, calculation and measuring

 – 100% of participants felt the course had helped them, and that it had a positive effect on their understanding of dogs too  

 – 21 dogs gained APDT Good Companion Awards

 – 55 dogs successfully re-homed


Fife College

Feedback from the young men involved in the pilot project has been extremely positive, with participants feeling more confident about their communication skills, problem solving abilities, patience and management of emotions as they progress through the course. The young men feel a real sense of accomplishment, gained from the achievement of targets and goals, and from seeing the improvements in the dogs they work with (see examples below).Over 75% of our graduates have also continued to engage with us following their release, allowing us to continue to provide support and facilitate volunteering opportunities.

Student feedback

Student feedbackLearning together


Happily rehomed

 The dogs participating in Paws for Progress have continued to respond very positively to the training they receive. Overall, 111 dogs have now been successfully rehomed, and 48 APDT Good Companion Awards gained. The students work very hard under the guidance of  Paws for Progress staff to ensure the dogs’ continuously progress.

Whilst the full evaluation of the dog outcomes is ongoing, the initial findings are very positive, demonstrating improvements to behaviour across training tasks. The dogs’ improved behaviour and sociability also increases their appeal to adopters, and the extra promotion the students’ work provides can help these great dogs find the loving homes they so deserve.

Happily rehomed


Following on from the successful Paws for Progress Event at HM YOI Polmont last year, we will be taking part in a number of conferences and events during 2014 to showcase our work and share information with supporters and stakeholders. This includes attending the IAHIAO Symposium 2014, where we will engage in important discussions to share perspectives, practices and knowledge in Human Animal Interactions (HAI).

Paws for Progress CIC is based within the University of Stirling, who are supporting the development alongside the new and exciting Stirling Human Animal Interactions Research (SHAIR) Centre. We will host a HAI Workshop at the University of Stirling later this year, and will provide you with more details soon.

Paws for Progress continues to receive widespread interest and support and we are thrilled that this momentum continues to grow.


Thank you to everyone who is helping us achieve our ambition to deliver positive change in the lives of both people and animals.

We look forward to sharing more news with you soon.




“How dogs are teaching young offenders new tricks”

In case anyone missed the recent coverage of Paws for Progress in The Guardian, the link above will take you to the article, published online on Tuesday 17 September 2013. Our thanks to The Guardian and

There are lots of exciting developments happening at present, and we look forward to sharing more news with you soon. Thank you to everyone for their support of this great project.

Welcoming Paws for Progress into 2013…

As we begin training another new group of enthusiastic students on the Paws for Progress course, we thought it was time we provide you with another update on the project’s developments and achievements so far.


We have now completed six cycles of the course at HM YOI Polmont, and the response so far has been hugely positive. Rebecca Leonardi (who instigated the project) is researching the efficacy of Paws for Progress in delivering the intended outcomes (as the focus of her PhD) and it will therefore be subject to a comprehensive review. In the meantime, we are pleased to say that the Visiting Committee and HM Inspectorate of Prisons have been very impressed by our work, as seen in their recent reports (see quote below):

HMCIP Report

The results of our first year review (described in a previous post) were so impressive that the Scottish Prison Service have continued to increase the resources dedicated to support Paws for Progress. We were provided with dedicated work area for the project  at HM YOI Polmont, now known as ‘The Dog Training Workshop. We were thrilled to welcome a dedicated SPS Officer to the team, who now works with us on a full time basis. Combined with the excellent assistance from our training team throughout our practical training sessions, and the Learning Support provided by Carnegie College, this increased staff support has meant we were able to increase the number of training sessions per week, and increase the opportunities available to participants.

Educational achievements

Our students complete an SQA in Personal Development, in which they design a personal project based on their work in the course, and review their progress in relation to individual targets. Paws for Progress developed a partnership with Carnegie College in early 2012, and began contextualising SQA qualifications in Communications, IT and Numeracy within the coursework. These core skills are very important for future employment (as highlighted in the Curriculum for Excellence), and made relevant and enjoyable to the students by being integrated into our work with the dogs.Working with the dogs Since then, our students have gained a very impressive number of qualifications; from units in reading, writing, speaking and listening, to units in calculation, graphical information and measuring. Our students now make digital displays to promote the dogs to potential adopters, whilst also gaining an IT qualification as a result of their hard work. Students who continue as peer mentors and assistants can achieve higher levels of qualification. In total, there are now 10 educational qualifications which our students can gain through the dog training course. The students also work towards Course Certification and each successful rehoming of a dog is a recognised achievement for the trainer.

Quito - example slide

In addition to more practical training time, our students now have more opportunity to develop the dogs’ promotional material, further improving their chances of finding new homes.

Thanks from new owners

Training Sessions

Each student is paired with a dog, and their work is focussed towards helping the dog be rehomed. We use Agility trainingkind, fair and effective dog training methods; positive reinforcement techniques are employed to teach the dogs new skills, and our students design individual training plans using reward based methods to achieve their training goals. And thanks to the kind donations received through Tynewater DoAgility Trainingg Training’s fundraising event, we were able to purchase additional equipment, including the agility equipment shown, meaning the dogs benefit from even more positive stimulation and activity during their visits. Our Agility Trainingthanks also go to Broadleys Veterinary Hospital for their kind donations of equipment for our Training Room.

The dogs show great enthusiasm for their training and make excellent progress, and the affection between dogs and handlers is moving to observe. Handlers work towards APDT Good Companion Awards with their dogs, to help provide practical skills that will benefit both the dog and new owners when they are successfully rehomed.

During the theory training sessions (without the rescue dogs present), participants learn the theory behind dog training and animal care, complete coursework and are visited by guest speakers, to discuss their work with animals and encourage our students to put their skills to use in employment in the future.

We are so grateful to the increasing number of organisations that support us, providing external speakers for course sessions and work experience opportunities for Paws for Progress graduates. These organisations include Blair Drummond Safari Park, Edinburgh Zoo, Broadleys Veterinary Hospital, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the Guide Dog Association, the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA), Willows Animal Sanctuary, Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service, Safe Paws and Tynewater Dog Training.

Our students thoughts...

We hope you agree that the project is progressing well for everybody as we begin 2013! So a big thank you from all of us at Paws for Progress for the fantastic support shown to us, and we look forward to sharing more news with you all soon.


Our thanks to Tracey for all the help she has given us at Paws for Progress, and for sharing her experiences in this lovely article.

Originally posted on The Joy of Thought:

group brushed.2In 2004, I started the journey to become a TTouch practitioner. At that time, I didn’t imagine that I was setting off on a path that would lead me to prison. And yet several times now, I’ve stood outside Polmont Young Offenders Institute with bags of groundwork equipment and a life-size toy black labrador waiting to be picked up and taken into the prison.

This started in 2011 when I was contacted by Rebecca Leonardi who runs the Paws for Progress project. Paws for Progress is a collaboration between the Scottish Prison Service, Dogs Trust and the University of Stirling and is the UK’s first dog training program based within a prison. The Paws for Progress courses run in eight week cycles and in each one, a small number of prisoners take part in three training sessions a week – two of these with rescue dogs from the Dogs Trust…

View original 1,483 more words

Hot off the press: Our students opinions on dog training methods…

Paws for Progress: Dog Training Methods

Which dog training methods should you use with your dog? This has been a hot topic in the UK in recent weeks, as the celebrity trainer Cesar Millan began publicising his upcoming UK tour. Many professional dog trainers and behaviourists have voiced their concerns about the confrontational methods which are shown in his TV show (brought together here), and an interview with Cesar on the Alan Titchmarsh show led to coverage in a number of UK newspapers (e.g. here, here and here), in blog posts (e.g. by Jez Rose) and on forum sites (e.g. here). It’s a controversial topic – although UK animal welfare, behaviour, training, canine and veterinary organisations are united in their objections to the use of such aversive training techniques (see statement here), Cesar is popular celebrity figure who has many fans in the UK, and so the debates can often become heated (interesting points on this issue are highlighted by Karen Wild). And to make it more complicated, there are many points made by Cesar which few would argue with – such as the need to provide dogs with adequate exercise, appropriate boundaries, and the recognition that many behaviour problems exhibited by dogs are caused or exacerbated by people. However, it is the methods used by Cesar to address behavioural problems, (which typically involve triggering the unwanted behaviour and then punishing the dog) which have led to increasing concerns regarding both the dogs’ welfare and the safety of dog owners who imitate what they see on the show.

At Paws for Progress, we like to address current dog related issues in the news as part of the training for our students. For example, when Jordan Shelley appeared on ‘The One Show’, we followed the topic and our students watched the clips, and wrote essays giving their opinions on the methods which were used. We also look at the UK laws pertaining to dogs and dog ownership, and discuss the positive and negative aspects of our current legislation. So as the topic of dog training methods has arisen in recent news, we showed our students the resulting newspaper articles, and a number of clips of famous dog trainers taken from television shows. The main purpose of this exercise is to encourage our students to use their observation skills to assess the dogs’ behaviour (e.g. noting stress signals) and to then consider the positive and negative consequences of different training techniques.We then asked our students to write their opinions about the different training methods they had seen.

We thought you might be interested to see what they thought, and so here are some of the responses we received… The first was written by one of our students, who chose to write an essay on this topic, which is copied directly below:

Why you should use positive reinforcement/ reward techniques to train dogs instead of punishment.

I believe positive reinforcement using reward based training is not only a great way to train dogs, but is in fact the best way. I first discovered this during my time in Polmont Young Offenders Institution, when I started a dog training programme called Paws for Progress. Before starting the Paws for Progress course I did not know anything about dog training and had never tried anything like this before. On the first day of the course Rebecca, the course leader, explained to me everything that I would need to do and told me that we would be using positive reinforcement to train the dogs and that we were never to use punishment on them.

Positive reinforcement is when you reward your dog for doing something right, instead of punishing them for doing something wrong. To do this we use clicker training, this is where I would ask the dog to do something, for example I would ask the dog to “sit”, then as soon as the dog’s bum touched the floor I would click my clicker and give the dog a treat. That way the dog learns a lot quicker that it is doing something right, as the action is clearly marked as correct and the dog recognises they are being rewarded for it.

Clicker training is very easy to learn, you just need to get your timing right. As soon as your dog does what you’ve asked them, that’s when you click your clicker, otherwise if you leave too long – between the time your dog does what you’ve asked it and the time you click your clicker – you could just end up confusing your dog. But it is good that with clicker training, you won’t do damage to your dog if you get it wrong – they just won’t learn as quickly.

When I was growing up I’d never had any pet dogs, until I was seventeen and I moved in with my friend and his family. They owned three dogs but not one of them had ever received any training and my friend’s family did not know anything about training dogs, yet they seemed to expect the dogs to understand everything they were saying to them. They used to shout at the dogs and sometimes hit them for not doing as they were asking and I always remember thinking the dogs looked scared and confused. Yet all that shouting at them never helped at all as the dogs never learned anything from it, which to me proved using punishment on your dog to train them does not work and should never be done.

Positive reinforcement however does work which is why I believe you should use this to train dogs instead of using punishment. Using reward based training is extremely effective, it is easier, quicker and much more enjoyable both for you and your dog. It is also a great way for you to build up a good bond with your dog, whereas if you were to use punishment on your dog you are more likely to break that bond.

So if you are looking to start training dogs please use positive reinforcement instead of punishment as it is the best way, the right way and for me the only way to train a dog.

While on the subject of positive reinforcement, just recently Cesar Millan, or the “Dog Whisperer” as he is known, began publicising his UK tour.

Cesar Millan is probably the most famous dog trainer/ psychologist in the world due to his US TV show ‘The Dog Whisperer’. However this does not make him the best, in fact I would say he is far from it due to his barbaric training methods. Cesar uses things such as prong collars, electric shock collars, nooses and leads to restrict the dog’s air supply and I’ve even seen him do what I can only describe as physically assaulting dogs to get them to do what he wants.

Now, to me that is not dog training, but simply an act of animal cruelty and I would strongly discourage anyone, especially new dog owners, from watching his shows for advice or tips on how to train their dogs.

I’m not the only one who disagrees with these training techniques as most, if not all of the UK animal welfare, behaviour, training, canine and veterinary organisations would also advise you not to copy Cesar’s methods, as from a welfare perspective it is totally unacceptable and using methods such as his can in fact worsen the behavioural problems you aim to address (see statement here).

This brings me to my next point. What do dogs learn from these methods? Well, firstly, using punishment on a dog such as kicking the dog’s underbelly or pinning the dog to the floor, two acts that I’ve seen Cesar use on a number of occasions, will teach your dog that you are a source of pain and will put a fear of you into your dog and may well cause an aggressive reaction which could lead to you being seriously injured and then the dog being euthanized (put to sleep), all because you tried to train your dog to do something right, but unfortunately in the wrong way. Also it is, again in my opinion, impossible to build up a good, strong bond with your dog by using these methods. And in relation to training, yes, some of Cesar’s methods may work, but why use these when you can achieve the same and more by using reward based training, which is used very effectively by dog trainers all over the UK and is a much safer, humane, enjoyable, rewarding and effective way to train a dog.

Like many others, I’d like to see Cesar Milan ditch his current techniques and to start using positive reinforcement as his shows are watched by millions of people around the world and then people could see what I like to call ‘the right way to train a dog’ instead of his current medieval tactics and I’m sure in doing so a lot of his critics would turn in his favour.

Lastly, I would just like to reiterate why I believe inexperienced dog owners should not try out the techniques seen to be used by Cesar Milan on his TV shows.

Cesar Milan is a self-taught dog trainer and has never been trained by a professional himself, in fact Cesar has even said himself “I tell people to consult a professional”, well, at least that’s something we agree on. Cesar’s training methods come with huge and sometimes dangerous risks. For example if you’re using punishment and aggression towards a dog, you are highly likely to promote the same reaction back which is the last thing you want to do. I’m not saying everything Cesar Milan does is wrong but there are some of his training methods that I strongly disagree with and for that reason I would advise anyone who is looking to learn how to train a dog to be on the safe side and steer clear of doing what he does and instead use positive reinforcement/ reward based training.

This report is not directly against Cesar Milan but at the methods he sometimes uses as I feel they are completely unnecessary and on some occasions down right cruel. So if you want to be a good dog trainer please take my advice, as it is the right way, the best way and the only way forwards for you and your dog.

After watching clips of the ‘Dog Whisperer’ show, the rest of the group of students answered 3 questions; these are copied below, with the responses of each student.

1. What do you think of the methods that were used?

  • Useless, kicking the dog was not right, electronic collars should not be used.
  • I don’t think the methods he used were good because he often hurts the dog.
  • These methods are barbaric and in no way helpful and in my opinion people who use them should be treated the same way to see if they like it.
  • I think they were uncalled for. He was kicking the dogs even when they were behaving and in doing this he was getting the reaction that he was probably looking for in the first place.
  • The methods used were outdated and brutal and this is no way to treat an animal, and he has got himself fame and fortune for teaching people wrong methods of training.
  • I think of him as a cruel dog trainer and I would never let him take my dog or any of my family or friends dogs. And I would never call this man a dog trainer.
  • Not necessary in ANY way.

2. Can you see any problems that might arise if people try these methods?

  • They might get bitten, they might not train the dogs right, although some people might not like it some people might try to copy them, meaning even more dogs get treated in a bad way.
  • I think if people use these methods then the dogs will bite them.
  • A lot of pent up anxiety, frustration and aggression that will have to be released some time
  • Yes. People might end up getting bit due to shady treatment and in the long run it is dogs who will suffer and get a bad name, all because of bad treatment.
  • If people try these training methods they could lose the bond and trust you have with a dog not to mention the fact the dog might bite your hand off and the dog might become fearful of everyone.
  • Yes. Dogs can be worse and end up biting their owners or other dogs.
  • Dogs are more fearful and therefore might attack.

3.  What did you notice about the dogs’ behaviour? What do you think the dog learnt from the training session?

  • Anxious, stressful, fear, upset, did not want to be there, agitated, the dog learned nothing and became more scared, more fear.
  • I think the dogs got aggressive when he was kicking them. The dogs were also anxious and scared. I don’t think the dog learned anything.
  • That it will be battered if it does not do as it is told, even if it doesn’t understand what it is being asked to do. And so gives the dog more fear and causes more aggressive behaviour.
  • The dogs were often calm at first, then got kicked and got aggressive. What would you do if it happened to you? The dogs learnt nothing good!
  • A lot of the dogs it shows you in the show are standing, doing nothing wrong then suddenly gets a snidely kick to the stomach/ groin area. IT’S BANG OUT OF ORDER!
  • The dog didn’t learn anything apart from being abused in a cruel way.
  • To be scared of the trainer – nothing more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our student’s opinions on this topic. We feel it is a very positive outcome for the young men taking part in this project that they are able to see the potential problems with techniques which cause fear and distress, and are able to empathise with the dogs’ situation. It is very reassuring to think that the dogs’ they own in the future will be treated compassionately and fairly, and that they will promote the use of kind training methods to others too.

We also hope you enjoy gaining an insight into the teaching content on the Paws for Progress course, and look forward to sharing more news with you soon.