Obedience and Agility Training


Sherborne Vale Dog Training Club

Our Trainers

I have had dogs almost all my life and the very first dog  I owned was a miniature poodle which I showed.  I tried to start agility when we had our first standard poodle in 1984 although the sport then was in its infancy.  More recently, all our poodles have gained the Kennel Club Silver Citizen award and I have won out of Beginners Obedience courses. I really became involved in agility 11 years ago with Ruth who was very successful – for a poodle. She started her competing career winning 16thplace out of over 200 dogs.  She adored Heelwork to Music when we completed a course – with her help! 

Since then she and my other poodle, Amy, have been placed many times  and have gained many clear rounds.  Both dogs have taught me a lot about agility and how to apply this to the differing approaches of dogs to agility. For example, those that are calm, unsure and desperate to please to those that are hugely excited and launch themselves at everything! I started as an agility trainer 5 years ago and have built up a lot of experience. I now concentrate on the Foundation puppies and Beginner dogs of over 1 year and  dogs who have completed the Beginner course and really enjoying watching how the owners and dogs develop.   



I began training for agility 10 years ago with Sasha, our rescue mongrel .Sasha was a 'special needs' case from the RSPCA in Wales who we adopted in 2004. Despite having had rescue dogs (and cats) from a young age I was not prepared for Sasha. She blasted into our lives and turned them upside down! To cut a very long story short, she had a lot of behavioural problems but with patience and a lot of counter conditioning, we managed to help her enough to ensure she could enjoy a relatively normal life. She is unrecognisable now from the dog we brought home.

My lack of understanding of her extreme behaviour encouraged me to do a Foundation Degree in Canine Behaviour Management which I passed with Distinction and honours in 2008. I believe passionately in reward based, non coercive dog training, having seen what it can achieve with difficult dogs. I feel a dog should do something because they want to, not because they're afraid not to. To watch a dog who starts training with trepidation, and in time with patience and reward based methods becoming a confident individual who develops a good bond with their owner really is the biggest reward for me. I have been teaching agility for six years now and enjoy watching the bond between owner and dog develop, and especially those who need some extra help. I also love helping club members into competition and enjoy watching them progress.
Sasha retired from agility competition in 2015 having reached Grade 5 and competing in three national finals, including the National Rescue Dog finals twice. She also achieved her Bronze Agility Warrant before retirement. 
For her, it's the best thing we've ever done, and for me, well despite the early starts, wet feet and hours stood in the pouring rain in pursuit of some coloured ribbons I really can say the same. Since her retirement she still enjoys an active retirement and I have put my effort into helping others get the best from their dogs, whatever their circumstances and past experiences in life.
In 2016 I took and passed the Kennel Club Agility Judge's exam and assesment and have been judging at Limited and Open KC Agility shows since then. I especially enjoy judging Grades 1 - 3 as I find setting courses which both test basic skills but also build confidence in new dogs and/or handlers rewarding. 



My name is Pam Morris and I’ve been a member of Sherborne Vale DTC since 1985.  I love animals, especially dogs, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have an animal of some type at my side.

I’m married to Roger; we have two Golden Retrievers, Kimba and Jasmine and one tortoiseshell cat, Bubbs (it’s what she answered to).  I work at a Health Centre.

The older Golden is a rescue brought over from Ireland, she was used as a breeding bitch and dumped when she stopped having seasons, she was only 3 when she came into my life, she’ll be 10 years old this December. I had a male golden rescue shortly after her arrival, also from Ireland, he was very old, I managed to keep him with me for 3 years, I adored him.  Before that we had a golden from a broken marriage, she was the best teacher on dog body language I ever had, once she got over her fears; they are both at Rainbow Bridge now and are greatly missed.  The youngest golden is our 2½  year old “puppy”, she is as mad as a hatter and great fun to be with. 

The cat just moved in, she was determined from the outset that she was going to live in our house & I was equally determined she was not, she was so well looked after she must have been someone’s much loved cat.  We eventually decided her owner was a man living  just along the road from  us, he had a fatal accident so she got her way and is now “The Boss”.

I got into obedience when I was living in the Midlands, our obedience dog was named Susan, initially we just went along to dog club to learn but then I got more and more interested and ended up score-boarding then ring stewarding at obedience competitions, even judging occasionally.

When we moved down here I was asked to teach obedience;  I was very reluctant at first, extremely nervous at the thought of getting “out there”, but eventually I agreed and here I am all these years later, really enjoying it.

I “dabble” in agility – Jasmine was going to be my agility dog but she hurt her leg earlier this year, so whether or not we continue is still under debate.

My hobbies aside from the dog training are complementary therapies, I am qualified in Reiki Healing, Holistic Crystals & Flower Essences, and am insured to work with people and animals – I have also studied canine anatomy & physiology, animal behaviour and canine first aid amongst many other topics.


Having trained and competed in obedience some years ago returned to it when Rachel, the best lurcher ever, was adopted.   After several years training my own dog the opportunity arose to become a trainer and now help owners train their dogs from Puppy up to Good Citizen Gold standard.  My particular interest is companion dogs but always willing to help owners with competition ambitions.

Always patient, approachable, understanding, forgiving, modest....  

Pictures attached of me and my boys and in relaxed mode.



I have always had dogs.  I volunteer with a Springer Welfare Charity and love the breed.  We have fostered many dogs over the years and adopted two of the foster dogs who came into our care – Ruby (now 6) and Sam, who is 5.  I was Sam’s third home before he was even two years old and he certainly has his issues.  He is a very bright dog and not the easiest fellow to manage.  We knew he needed both physical exercise and mental stimulation, so I brought him along to the Agility class, and the rest, as they say, is history!!   He absolutely loves it.

We progressed slowly through the classes at first, but now it has clicked for both of us.  When we first started, Sam spent most of his time barking, running off and sniffing.  I spent a lot of my time losing my way on the courses, giving him all the wrong commands and flapping my arms about in all directions.  When we entered our first show, everyone (except me and Sam) had their eyes covered, and fingers crossed when we went to the start line, expecting him to run around and bark.  He didn’t.  I heard a hushed voice from our team saying, “wow, he’s doing it” and he did a really good round.  Only afterwards, did they tell me they didn’t think we were ready and he was dubbed “Wildcard Sam” and I was dubbed “Windmill Woman”.   That description sometimes still applies, but we have now gone into the competition training group and compete quite regularly at the Grade 1 level in agility competitions.  Sam now regularly achieves clear rounds and also sometimes gets placed.  He has done quite well in 2014 with a few second places.  We have yet to win a first, but he is up against some very fast collies in his jumping height!

His main issue used to be weaves.  He had no clue what I was asking him to do and bit our hands each time we tried to train him with treats.  However, when we were shown how to do channel-weaves, he was up and down 12 weaves in the garden, from either side within two weeks.  Just shows you have to be adaptable in training, and use whichever method suits your dog!  More recently he spooked himself on the see-saw, and then took to launching himself off the top of it.  With some one-to-one help to build his confidence, he is now a lot better and usually makes the contacts.

Sam is not a confident dog.  He is rather insecure and looks to me for reassurance.  He is a lot more focussed and attentive these days and his manners have improved a bit.  That does mean that he watches me and relies on me to give him the correct commands.  I have put in some extra training on my handling in the last year and hope that I can pass that on to my training group.  Sam still barks sometimes, and pulls on his lead, sniffs other dogs in the competition line and can be snappy if he feels threatened or trapped.  He has hugely improved since having had regular massages for tight muscles and is now achieving some faster rounds.  Sam’s main problem is still me and he is still a wildcard, but the important thing is just how much he loves doing agility.

So with that track record, going from being absolutely hopeless, making slow progress, then competing and enjoying it all, I hope that I may be able to help other people with less easy dogs, to learn from what I have learnt.  And I will continue to learn through training and competing with Sam.  


Hi I’m Sue, dogs have always been in my life as pets. In the last almost 30 years I have trained our 6 family dogs in basic obedience and some agility. Although our dogs have all primarily been part of our family, they have all done their basic training with Sherborne Vale Dog Training Club. Each time I was learning something new every time I came back to the Club.

At the start I had fun training our 1st dog, a Boxer called Sire, and then an Irish setter called Max in basic obedience before being allowed to train them both in Agility – 2 breeds that need a lot of vocal encouragement to keep their attention! Resulting, on one memorable occasion, Sire leaving the ring, during a competition, where he proceeded to tour around the outside of the ring investigating any bag with food in it, with me running around after him, before he returned to me! The only way we managed to get Max around a course was to repeatedly say his name, whilst giving instructions, just to keep his attention on the job at hand and not what was going elsewhere!


I am currently in training with my white Boxer Chloe (who thinks she is a lap dog) and my Crossbreed Ayla (who is lovely, but very needy), for the Good Citizen Scheme Gold Award, which I’m hoping we will both achieve this year.

I don’t train to compete. I train my dogs to keep their brains active, so we can have well behaved family pets that are a joy to be around.

I started training the Puppy Classes last year, I thoroughly enjoy doing this and seeing them all mature and progress over the 6 week course. And then, sometimes, going onwards and upwards through the Bronze, Silver to the Gold Good Citizen Dog Scheme training. At the end of day I am training the owners how to teach their puppy so they too can have a lovely family pet. I also enjoy helping out and teaching the other classes offering help and assistance as required.

I am a member of the SVDTC Committee and I have recently taken over as the Puppy Course Coordinator.

 I started agility training with my lovely collie Rosie in 2002.  My son made me begin agility when he said ‘you can do it Mum’.  We went on to have eight very successful years competing in Agility Shows when we gained many places and clear rounds.  We were so pleased when we gained Firsts in Agility and Jumping rounds.  Both Rosie and I have had a lot of fun.  I have been a trainer for five years and have built up a lot of experience.   I do enjoy teaching the dogs and their handlers from Beginner Groups to those progressing further.  It is a pleasure to see them improve and both dogs and handlers having

I now have a rescue collie, Suki ,who has achieved the Kennel Club Gold Citizen Award in Obedience and I am intending to compete with her in Obedience Show.  I am now training her in agility which she does enjoy.  However,  she is a  rather timid dog but she has the potential to achieve as much as Ros


Dog agility and obedience training in Somerset and Dorset. Classes in Mudford near Yeovil and Milborne Port near Sherborne. A fun and friendly club.
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