Activity Weekend

Association of Pet Dog Trainers
– Activity Weekend 2020 –

Saturday 30th May and Sunday 31st May

Guest Topic Class Type Location No. tickets
Saturday 30th May
Chirag Patel Teaching with Kindness, Creativity and Science Lecture Theatre 100
Jane Ardern Impulse control Practical Field 8
Sandra Fraser Assistance Dogs Practical Classroom 8
BONUS – 7.30pm
Susan KcKeon Digital Marketing After dinner Talk Theatre Open to all
Sunday 31st May
Sarah Fisher Animal Centred Education (ACE) Free Work Lecture Theatre 100
Gemma Fisher Puppy Culture and focus with distractions Practical Field 8
TBC Scentwork Practical Classroom 8



(includes tea and coffee)
Spectator (practicals only) B&B
Lunch  Dinner
£85 per day £25 – 1 day

£40 – 2 day

£40 – single

£65 – twin

£10 £10

*Please note that tickets are available to Association members only until 31st December. If, after this, there are spaces available it will be opened up to members of the public. From 1st January 2020 ticket prices increase to £95 for all.

Activity Weekend Tutors


Chirag Patel
Teaching with Kindness, Creativity and Science

About Chirag

Chirag entered the field professionally in 2004 and has since become a leading figure in the profession internationally. He consults on the behaviour management and training of all animals living under human care including (pets, zoo and laboratory animals). Chirag is passionate about the application of ethical behaviour change science to improve the life of animals living under human care by teach animals to be active participants in their own daily and veterinary care in a low stress manner.

About Chirag’s Workshop

Teaching with Kindness, Creativity and Science

During this workshop we will spend the half of the day discussing and exploring ways to working with clients, inspiring behaviour change, “dealing with difficult clients” and coaching skills. The other half looking exploring practical common training exercises taught in many classes and 121 lessons. We look at fun and creative way to teach these exercises and skills in lessons in a way that is easy for clients to follow and understand. This workshop will allow opportunity for you to ask questions and discuss these topics throughout the day.


Jane Ardern
Impulse control


Sandra Fraser
Assistance Dogs

Sarah Fisher
Animal Centred Education (ACE) Free Work

About Sarah

Sarah Fisher is a canine and equine behaviour advisor. She has worked with animals for over twenty years and is the founder of Animal Centred Education. She is experienced with a wide range of breed types and teaches staff workshops for many of the UK’s animal welfare organisations including Battersea. She has also worked in Europe teaching staff workshops for shelters including SPCA Malta and GIA (Romania) and has taught workshops and clinics for dog trainers and behaviourists in Holland, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, South Africa, Ireland, Romania and Poland.

Sarah gives presentations on a variety of topics at dog training and behaviour seminars in the UK and abroad, and is a regular speaker at the annual Dog Behaviour Conference. She also conducts behaviour assessments for private clients, animal welfare organisations and court cases.

Sarah is a published author and has participated in numerous television and radio programmes over the years including the recent Nightmare Pets SOS for BBC1. She runs Animal Centred Education (ACE) courses for trainers, groomers, veterinary nurses, physiotherapists and animal behaviour counsellors who wish to broaden their expertise by learning detailed observations combined with Free Work, and a blend of techniques inspired by animals and by other professionals working in the world of animal welfare and behaviour.

About Sarah’s Workshop

This seminar will include a mix of Power Point and practical demonstrations. The day will focus on ACE Free Work, detailed observations and appropriate learning exercises at a pace to suit each dog.


Free Work is a simple, low impact activity that can be rewarding for the dog, and illuminating for the guardian/care giver; it can be set up in any environment.
The aim is to give the dog opportunities to engage with a variety of different items enabling guardians and care-givers to highlight items the dog really enjoys, and those he actively avoids. For example, a dog may avoid soft textures under foot because:

a) The surface is novel and new experiences can sometimes make all beings feel unsafe (the dog may have lived in a kennel, or a barren environment and never experienced the sensation of different textures underfoot).
b) Standing on something soft creates more movement in the joints and soft tissue which may be uncomfortable due to undiagnosed pain/discomfort.
c) The dog had a bad experience when moving on something soft that may not have anything to do with the actual surface but the dog has paired (associated) that sensation under foot with something that made the dog concerned.

As the dog starts to relax and slow down, postural struggles, habits, and worries about handling or other aspects of daily life become more apparent enabling guardians and caregivers to modify their own habits and address these small, or more obvious, concerns. Sometimes it is our own habits that create the behaviours in our animals we wish to modify.

Stripping everything back and giving the dog complete freedom of choice enables dogs to reset, rebalance and release. It also gives the guardian the opportunity to gather data from the dog whilst the dog is at liberty to gather data from the environment. This low impact exercise can help to improve the posture and ensure the dog works every muscle in his body without engaging in fast, arousing games.

Using a blend of different textures, scents and tastes helps to engage the sensory part of the nervous system. Placing treats on objects of varying heights can help to improve posture and release tension in the neck, back and hindquarters.

Free Work can help dogs to settle and calm and has been beneficial for some dog with noise sensitivity as they focus more on what they smell, eat and feel rather than focusing purely on what they hear; a dog that is more relaxed through the body will be more relaxed on an emotional level too.

Gemma Fisher
Puppy Culture and focus with distractions