ThinkDog! ‘Training Mastery’ Course

An Advanced Practical Training and Behaviour Course

with Sarah Whitehead and Stella Bagshaw


Only 5 places remaining!

So, you can train all the basic exercises without a second thought, clicker train like a pro, and understand all the many options available in teaching every kind of dog from Chihuahua to Great Dane. But you still want more!


Why? Because achieving training mastery doesn’t stop – ever. It relies on practising the right things at the right time with the right dogs. It’s also creative, and allows for behavioural growth – but this is all-too-often a ‘luxury’ in our busy profession.


My new course: Training Mastery, has been directly inspired by the fact that at the moment I am spending a lot of time in rescue centres training dogs one-on-one (some for the TV, some, just because) and I have just realised how lucky I am to be able to do that.


Training unknown dogs with their behavioural future at the heart of everything I teach is an incredible learning opportunity - and it transforms the dogs, too. I leave with a big smile on my face every session, because I know I’ve made a difference, changed a life even, as well as being taught something new by each and every dog.


This course is not for everyone. In fact, it’s unashamedly exclusive, because it’s training at a level that’s well beyond the basics.

  • 1.

    We are only taking a very small number of participants (all at a high standard of training already)

  • 2.

    Two days together, then a further follow-up day the following week

  • 3.

    At RSPCA Millbrook, Guildford Road, Chobham

  • 4.

    Unparalleled access to dogs that need your training

  • 5.

    We train according to the dogs’ behavioural needs, not to teach them set exercises

  • 6.

    Individual coaching by Sarah and Stella, in their humorous and inimitable style

  • 7.

    Discussion around some ‘big’ questions will be included!


When I go and train in the rescue, I start by training in the kennel – which is an art in itself. This stage is all about trust-building, getting the dog’s kit on, and / or getting the dog out of the kennel in a safe and stress-free fashion.


I rapidly assess the dog and make a decision as to what the top training needs are for that particular individual. For example, some dogs may be so fearful that they won’t initially approach, so all the training then needs to be based around trust-building and connection work. This takes time but is very satisfying and lays a foundation for the next stages.


These next steps might include social skills that increase ‘home-ability’ – for example, giving humans eye contact, sitting, offering chin on hand, or calm approach work.


Beyond that, we need to make critical decisions on the type and focus of the training that will bring most benefit to the dog. We might teach ‘manners’ using transferable or environmental cues, cute tricks which may appeal to someone looking for a dog to rehome, or impulse control for those dogs that may present a challenge in a new home without it.


In essence, all the training is for the higher purpose of behavioural modification: it’s fast, fun and gets great results that stick.



This course is designed to build on the ‘training exercise proficiency’ and clicker skills that we taught in the ThinkDog! Practical course, while focusing on reading dogs, as well as being creative and imaginative in our positive-reinforcement approach.


We will include husbandry behaviours, cue responses, social orientation, and confidence building, as well as ‘learning how to learn’ as a basis for future training.



- Jo Smith


"The Training Mastery course has given me even more confidence that I can provide my behavioural clients with up to date science-based methods which are kind and which get results quickly! It's really helped me to hone my ability to quickly observe dog body language and make context based training decisions from these observations and to decide what training the dog needs and what a difference this will make for them and their handlers/owners/my clients.


This course provides such a unique opportunity to train alongside clever, knowledgeable trainers in a completely open/safe environment with the feedback and guidance of Stella and Sarah.


I loved feeling the relationship grow, through training and in such a short time, between me and my dog Lucky. My heart melted in our final session when he turned and gently placed his head in my lap so that I could stroke his face. Not a feeling in the world like it!"



Millbrook RSPCA, Guildford Road, Chobham, Surrey, GU28



Wednesday 4th & Thursday 5th September (10am - 4:30pm)

& Friday 6th September (10am - 2pm)


- Sandra Raw


"Where do I start? Training Mastery has given me an in-depth understanding of many aspects of dog behaviour especially complex areas such as arousal, aggression and how dogs learn. Not just the fluffy bits but the science behind it.


Boundaries were pushed in both our teaching and shared personal learning and the incredible knowledge and skills of Stella and Sarah is magical to witness in action.


You could visibly see the real difference we made to the dogs we worked with over the course, my mind was opened, I have gained significantly more personal confidence and the whole thing was set up for success.


Since attending the course, I have taken two cases on I probably would have passed on as I believed I could not do it and I have! Life is tough out there and sharing info with others always leads to new ideas or a new way of doing something. Working on cases with that kind of experience in the room and in small numbers is the most fabulous learning tool.

Highly, highly recommended!"


1x Payment





4x Payments


£249.50 x 4



Hope to see you there!


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