This weekend I have been out with Emma, Pam, Gavin and Wayne with their dogs Misty, Dudley and Maisy. I have been joined by Gael McGuigan, a professional dog behaviourist and trainer, to run our mountain dog training course. The idea of the course is to educate dog owners as to their responsibilities and opportunities for taking their dogs out in the mountains and to provide the training necessary to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for the dogs, their handlers and of course the other people out enjoying the mountains. Yesterday we focused on our legal and ethical responsibilities, understanding the body language of our dogs, other peoples dogs and other dog owners and some basic commands. Today we progressed the skills on with some dog agility in a natural environment which allowed us to look at teaching new skills and progressing existing ones that are relevant to days out in the mountains. We looked at the recall, walking to heel on and off the lead, asking the dog to wait whilst the owner negotiates a bridge or gate, using the "up" command to negotiate styles or walls and some retrieving games to keep the dogs focused. We also spent an hour looking at dog first aid. Throughout the weekend we have also taught dogs and owners to deal with livestock safely and responsibly. It was extremely wet all day yesterday but today has thankfully stayed dry and sunny so the boots have dried out a little!