Obedience and Agility Training


Sherborne Vale Dog Training Club

Our Trainers



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 and being fully responsible for their training 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 seven 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 from agility she still enjoys an active life and I have put my time and 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 have adopted three dogs who came into our care – Ruby (now 9) and Sam, who is 8 and a loony Lurcher called Twiglet who is now 1.

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 loved it. I sadly had to retire him from competition when he was 7 as he was struggling to jump the competition height.

When we started we made slow progress at first, but then it 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.  We went to the start line, expecting him to run around and bark, but 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 were dubbed “Wildcard Sam” and “Windmill Woman”. That description sometimes still applies to me!

We went on to compete regularly at the Grade 1 level in agility competitions.  Sam now regularly achieved clear rounds and also won his fair share of competitions, but he is a bit on the chunky side and did not really have the speed to compete with all those collies he was up against in his jumping height!  His speed was hugely improved by having had regular massages for tight muscles and he achieved some faster rounds. 

His main issue used to be weaves.  He hadn’t a clue what I was asking him to do when we started training and bit our hands each time we tried to train him with treats.  However, when I was 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! 

Sam is not a confident dog.  He is rather insecure and looks to me for reassurance and is very responsive. That means that he relied on me to give him the correct directions. Even his manners improved a bit.  He is not an easy dog and I learnt the sport with him. So I know what it is like to overcome those difficulties and hope that I can pass that on to my training group.  Sam barked, pulled on his lead and lunged, sniffed other dogs in the competition line and could be snappy if he felt threatened or trapped.  Sam’s main problem is still me and he is still a wildcard, but the important thing is just how much he loved 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 Twig in the future.  



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.


My parents bought our first family dog when I was 9 years old after months of my badgering them to do so, but it wasn't until after I got my own rescue springer cross that I realised I would need help with dog training.

So in 1987 I took Fella, newly acquired from the RSPCA, to the local dog training club. I was lucky enough to meet a talented trainer who competed in obedience and agility and who I bought my first obedience puppy from, a hairy crossbreed called Heidi and so began my passion for dog training.

Heidi was a fabulous dog, she loved her training as did I and together we developed into a very successful team, representing Wales and the West three times at Crufts in the Inter Regional Competition and then later qualifying for the individual Obedience Championships.

Heidi’s appearance along with her fabulous bouncy obedient character won us appearances on TV and a couple of photo shoots.

By now I had joined Sherborne Vale DTC which was a great support to me over these years, especially Pat Castell the club’s current president, who went to great lengths to help Heidi and I with our training and preparation for Crufts.

I taught my first ever obedience class for SVDTC back in 1990, this was well before the introduction of the Kennel Club Good Citizens Scheme and all obedience was based on formal competition obedience.

For many years I spent my weekends travelling up and down the country competing, with my hairy crossbreeds (I now had three of those) and a couple of collies. Never quite as successful as Heidi, but almost.

I spent several years competing in Working Trials as well as Obedience, with my collie Dizzy, which gave us another string to our bow.

Between 2008 and 2011 I went back to education and studied for a Foundation Degree in Canine Behaviour and Training, where my advanced dog training unit focused on scent detection, Dizzy now had to learn to be an arson detection dog. I have subsequently become an accredited Level 1 & 2 Scentwork UK trainer.

My studies opened my eyes to more modern scientifically based dog training so I applied for membership of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers whose ethos I respected. After submitting an in depth paper application and taking a practical assessment I was accepted, which I am very proud to have achieved.

I still compete in competitive obedience when I can and get a great satisfaction from helping newcomers to the sport. I also usually accept a couple of judging appointments each year. However my newest bow string is Agility, every dog I've owned has done a little bit of agility purely for fun, but now Cody and I are competing, still having lots of fun but working that little bit harder to try and move through the classes.

Just this last year, since retiring from my day job, I started teaching a Beginner Agility group and have also just joined SVDTC committee, so will have a slightly more active role within the club in the future.

Yes I am competitive but I am never more proud than when out walking and someone says “what well behaved dogs” that's really what my love of dog training is all about.


I have been a member of SVDTC since 2016, so I'm the newest member of the obedience team.

I have a degree in Animal Science which involved studying animal behaviour, genetics, nutrition and health. I also have a teaching qualification, specialising in adult education, which is very useful as its the handlers we are training, not the dogs. I have worked with all sorts of animals over the years including horses, farm livestock, reptiles and fish but dogs remain my first love (closely followed by cows, but they don't make very good pets!).

After the loss of my last 2 dogs (a rescued German Shepherd and a Mastiff/Staffie X) I tried to take a 'pet-break', but missed canine company so much I soon ended up volunteering for a rescue centre and SVDTC. I had several sucessful foster dogs who went on to lovely permanent homes, but the most recent, Shenzi, came to me as a 4 year old who was so reactive towards other dogs she could not cope with being in the rescue centre. Realising she would be very difficult to rehome, I decided to keep her. Managing a dog like that can feel like a lonely struggle when it seems that everyone else has beautifully quiet and social dogs, so I have lots of sympathy for people who are struggling with their dog's behaviour. I like seeing people learning to relax and enjoy their dogs, rather than being worried and anxious, and its amazing how the dogs respond once their handler is calm and in control.



 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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