Sudbrooke’s Very Own Dog Whisperer

Bradley Black settled in Sudbrooke 7 years ago after serving as an engineer in the RAF for 25 years.

After adopting a difficult dog, Brad spent 2 years and thousands of pounds desperately trying to find the help he needed. When he eventually did find help, it led him onto a journey into the dog training world. “I went in search of somebody who could help me understand her behaviour better” he recalls, “I think we ended up seeing ten different trainers and spending an absolute fortune, but we were so determined so at around trainer five or six I started learning myself.”

Wanting to develop his knowledge and continue to learn more about dog training, he began attending seminars, taking online courses, watching videos and reading, leading onto completing formal qualifications. Brad completed Ofqual and DEFRA approved qualifications including Canine Care Behaviour and Welfare, and trained with some of the best dog trainers in the world to ensure his knowledge was extensive.

Alongside his training, Brad has helped to assess and train rescue dogs at Lincs Dobermann Rescue, the place he adopted one of his own dogs from.

Working full time in the RAF as an engineer when his journey started, Brad would fill his weekends and evenings with training and volunteering. When he decided to take the plunge and pursue dog training professionally, he felt like although he had a lot of knowledge, it was still disparate. “I needed a common thread to run through it all, so I started looking for something to do that and it was really difficult to find.”

Eventually Brad decided the answer was to spend three months in America training with Jerry Bradshaw. “As well as doing the theory side of it, you get your hands on ten to fifteen dogs a day for three months – there was nowhere else in the world where you could get that real time hands-on experience.” During his time at Tarheel School for Dog Trainers in North Carolina, Brad was training with the most intense dogs that could be found, teaching them to target and bite, track, detect narcotics and to listen to their handler while in high arousal settings. It was here Bradley learnt that if you can understand how to create aggression, you can understand how to deconstruct it. “Having a thorough understanding of how you create behaviours little by little is fundamental.”

Although to some the bite exercises may appear counterproductive, it actually results in a highly disciplined dog. “The bite is the most exciting thing for the dog, so by teaching them they have got to regulate themselves in high arousal situations to get it actually helps them calm down and spreads through life situations, so the impact is far reaching. People think you will end up with a dog running around and biting people, but it’s quite the opposite and they are much more in control.”

When training a dog, it is vital to understand their genetics. “There are an awful lot of dogs in our homes that have been bred for a specific reason whether you’re aware of it or not. For example, you can get a show line German Shephard which is bred to look a certain way, or a working line Shephard which is bred to work. People accidently buy working dogs with a higher drive, higher energy and a need for an outlet and find themselves in trouble.”

Bradley’s business, GT Dog, launched in April and he is offering a discount to residents of Sudbrooke and the surrounding villages. Sessions usually start at £60 and are discounted for multiple sessions. For our Townlands readers he will be charging the discounted rate of just £50 for a session no matter how many sessions you attend.

If you would like to find out more or get in touch with Bradley, you can visit his website www.gtdog.co.uk or email him via brad@gtdog.co.uk Bradley is also in search of at least an acre of land to start running a sport dog club – if you know of anywhere suitable, please do get in touch.

Image Captions: Bicep Targeting with a Female Shepherd (Left), Brad with one of the rescues giving her some love (Top), Precision heeling with Brad’s girl, Daisy (Bottom) and Targeting Work – Stalking a Suspect (Right)