Who am I?
My name is Sarah Winter and I have been involved with dogs for the last 15 years. Before becoming a dog trainer I worked in a large corporation as Global Training Manager. I spend around 20 years training people, preparing training programs and creating training documentation. I am a qualified trainer and coach. People learn differently and so do dogs and my experience with training/coaching helps identify the right approach for each individual.
I have been part of the Gundog Display at Crufts for the last 6 years. I have also been part of the Golden Retriever Gundog Display team at The Game Fair for the last 2 years and I lead the team in 2019, The team will be back again in 2021.
My first dogs.
My first dogs were a Chcolate Labrador called Maya and a Golden Retriever called Caspar. My fairytale of having 2 puppies at the same time really didn’t go to plan as I never realized how much time they would take. However, I had them so off to puppy training we went and my bug for training dogs began.
I started with a Dog Training Club called UpnOver near Banbury where I learnt the skills to work through the Kennel Club Good Dog Scheme (KCGDS) Bronze, Silver and Gold. I found it fascinating that if you put the time and effort in, your puppies would walk nicely, come back when called and quickly gain new skills that would help keep them balanced and stimulated. I eventually put 5 of my dogs through the scheme, all reaching Gold.
AGILITY AND BEGINNING THE GUNDOG JOURNEY
Its all about enjoyment.
I started Agility classes with Maya and Gundog training with my Show Bred Golden - Caspar. Maya and I trained in agility up to Grade 5 and competed successfully for a couple of years. I started to work towards the grades with The Gundog Club and Caspar passed his Grade 2. I was hooked on Gundog training.
My passion for gundogs took hold quite quickly. I enjoyed going out with my dogs and setting up retrieves, teaching them to walk to heal off lead, be steady, learning to stop to a whistle and the enjoyment of watching your dog retrieve.
During this time, I watched the Gundog Display at Crufts where they used clicker, treats and toys to train. I was intrigued and wanted to know more.
I started to attend clicker workshops, participate in training weekends and weeks and learnt the power of positive reinforcement.
My next dog was a full working golden retriever called Riley and he was taught his gundog basics using these new exciting tools. He loved it and so did I.
It is a fact that dogs learn quicker when trained using positive methods over the traditional approach and this is so important. I love watching dogs enjoy what their learning and how they try to please their handlers
Photo taken by Max Furnandiz
BECOMING A TRAINER.
Helping others embrace their dogs needs.
My first experience of helping people with their dogs started at UpnOver Dog Training Club 11 years ago. They asked me to join their team. I started to train Puppy, KCGC Bronze and KCGC Silver classes. I found that I really enjoyed helping people work with their dogs and learn new skills. Around 6 years ago I started to train a handful of people with their gundogs. I have also spent 3 years working in a training kennel where I have led training groups from puppies up to those preparing for working tests. I have trained fun agility for those that want to do something else with their dogs and assisted individuals that have key areas they wish to improve.
I have passed my instructor course with a Merit at the International Animal Behaviour Training Centre. I have attended conferences held by APDT, IMDT and Positive Gundogs as well as clicker workshops run by Kay Laurence and Sally Richardson.
My approach is fair and positive, working with the dogs and handlers to improve their relationship and understanding.
My pleasure is from helping people get the best from their dogs and to see a dog enjoy its learning experience. Dogs learn so much better in a relaxed and calm environment.
What do I enjoy about training.
Well! where do I start. I now have 6 Golden Retrievers. All are trained as individuals to be well balanced members of the family. With each dog I have learnt something new which has helped me gain the some of the knowledge I have today.
My passion with training is helping people to have a better understanding of their dogs needs and to improve their relationship.
Puppies - Puppies - Puppies
My favourites are puppies. Blank canvases with a massive desire to please. Puppies are like sponges and will soak up their environments if given the right stimulation.
Pets needing guidance.
I enjoying helping owners with loose lead walking, improving recall and showing new games they can play. Building the bond between handler and dog.
I currently have 6 dogs and all are Golden Retrievers, I have lost my labradors in the last year, both were trained and sat on the peg or picked up, All my adult dogs have been successful at various times during their working lives including Field Trials, I pick up throughout the shoot season where I can watch my dogs do what they were bred to do. All have been trained using reward-based methods. Its important to me that a dog enjoys what it learns.