Acorn Dog Training


Here are some of the testimonials we have received from our present and past clients:

“I am more than happy for you to use my comments on the website but these few lines don’t represent how much we’ve all enjoyed coming to the classes and the benefit it has brought to us as a family.Winston was always a joy to be with, but now we have the basics of obedience it makes his play both in and outside of the home a lot safer and therefore a lot more enjoyable. His responsiveness and ability to learn makes me really proud and I don’t think we would have realised this or seen the potential had we not been to your classes.
Your methods of teaching the owners and training the dogs are fantastic as it is all based around the relationship we have with Winston. We all feel very comfortable in the classes and the coaching during the session is a perfect balance with the reading material (which always great to reference).
I think the biggest testament of all is Winston’s tail! – there’s no mistaking his feelings with the velocity and vigour it wags when we tell him it’s time for school!
Thanks again from myself, Mark and Winston, we look forward to seeing you again (kisses to Tally too!)

Amanda”, Milton Keynes.

“Just writing to say how much I enjoyed Saturday and Sundays Classes.
I felt very welcome and everyone was friendly and understanding.
I am very pleased with Zak progress and the enjoyment on his face…
I would like to carry on coming every week please……Thank you Fran for introducing me to Agility” – Chrissie Lyons. Bedford.

“Great trainer!” – Marcus Valkenburg, Milton Keynes

“Karli was in your class for eight months, roughly. She is now five and a half years old and, despite her various health problems, extremely well behaved and loving. I know that she enjoyed your classes very much. We’re currently working towards making her comfortable enough to start taking part in your Rottie club, I know she would have a great time there! – “Alicat” Wilkes, Milton Keynes

” My dog Spike and I have attending agility classes for about 12months now, and we both love it!! We can’t wait for Sundays to come around, meeting all the other doggy owners who are mad like us. Spike loves all the jumping and climbing, if you don’t believe a dog can smile you should see him when has finished a course. Fran is as good with the owners as she is with the dogs, a rare thing indeed. I would recommend Fran and Acorn Dog Training to anyone who wants to help their dog learn “human ways and foibles”, is a kind and gentle way. Everything is done by reward and kind words, not by punishment.” – Janice Holden – Northants

“I am just writing to thank you for the great advice you gave to us about our dogs night time barking problem. We persevered for a week or so and it has really done the trick. He now goes to bed without a sound! Even the neighbours are happy.

I will not hesitate in recommending your services to any of our friends and family.

Thanks again”

Simon Navin – Milton Keynes

“My dog Grace, a black and tan Dobermann, has really benefited from attending Fran’s training classes. I first started taking Grace to Fran’s classes when she was a puppy, where she went through basic obedience skills, puppy training, as well as being able to socialise with other puppies her own age.

She soon developed good friendships with some of the other puppies, Scooby in particular, a black labrador, who she is still best buddies with today, now being 1 year old. I too benefitted from the classes, by being able to understand Grace better and improve our communication with each other, which led to a more harmonious relationship. I learnt all about puppy training, looking after Grace’s health and got advice on how to deal with problems such as Grace’s clingy behaviour which caused her a lot of anxiety. Fran helped me with Grace’s anxiety of not wanting to leave my side all the time, she would get quite distressed if I went into another room where she could not see me. Through careful coaching, Fran taught me how to deal with the situation, by not allowing Grace to follow me everywhere using sit and stay commands regularly, so that Grace eventually gained confidence that I would return to her. Today Grace is doing agility classes which she loves, she is learning to use her co-ordination and think about the tasks that she is doing, which gives her mental stimulation. Myself and Grace have a strong bond and our relationship is better than ever and I have Fran to thank for that”. – Sandra Rankin, Milton Keynes

“Acorn Dog Training School – From the owners perspective (Jill Stillman, Castlethorpe)

I took my puppy to Acorn’s basic training classes when he was 12 weeks old and had just had his final injections. He was already clean in the house, but his manners left a lot to be desired, he continually jumped up and was chewing everything in site including me.

After 6 weeks training he was much better behaved. Not only did Marmite know his boundaries, I had learnt how to communicate with him. He can now “sit”, “stay”, “come” and “down” when required, and he has also learnt not to bite people, and how to walk on the lead. He has also learnt doggy social skills and can mix with other dogs. He clearly needs further training, if only to reinforce what he has already learned, but for a puppy of only 4 ½ months he is doing very well. He is looking forward to his next stage of training.

I would recommend training, such as that provided by Acorn, to any owner of a new puppy.

From the Puppy’s perspective -( Marmite Stillman – Kennelthorpe)

Hello – I’m Marmite

I thoroughly enjoyed puppy school where I met a number of friends that I hope to see again in the near future. I learnt a number of things that make me more popular with my Mistress and her friends, but more importantly, my Mistress learnt to understand me and my needs better. I want to please her but I often don’t understand what she needs from me and I’m sure that she does not understand what I am trying to tell her.

All you puppies out there – tell your people to take you to puppy school. You’ll meet new mates, and both you and your people will learn a lot about each other. You will become more responsive to your people’s needs, and your people will treat you much better than before.” –

I first met Fran when my puppy Drew was about 10 weeks old at training over in Bradwell. Drew and I were definitely a case of hate-hate she hated me and I wasn’t all that keen on her (at that time) she had no manners at all and was driving me to the point of no return!

For the whole of the 6 week course she hid under the chairs in the hall and wouldn’t do anything or even venture out and at the end of the class I’d have to wait for all puppies and humans to go before she would emerge. Fran showed me lots of things to help improve her confidence, but she knew that some of Drew’s problems were probably caused by an underlying condition so we had our first of many behavioural one-on-ones and backed it up with a vet visit (which Fran came to as well). The upshot was the vet put her on drug therapy and advised me to keep on trying with her as had Fran.

I was beginning to lose hope of ever having a dog I would be friends with, but Fran was always there at the end of the phone when we had had a particularly bad day!.

As Drew was showing no signs of improving after the first 6 weeks we enrolled on another course and another and another and eventually by about her fourth course she had mastered sit (7 months old) and some other very basic stuff. My relationship with her by now was coming on in leaps and bounds, but she still ‘hated’ all other living things especially dog trainers! (I’m sure Fran remembers that well)

Well after about 2 years of training sessions (each week Drew acting as if she had never seen Fran before in her life) I got Drew out of the car and she didn’t go mad at Fran barking, pulling, lunging etc as she had every other time, she just stood and looked just as if she had finally realised who Fran was and even wagged her tail – I could have cried it was like a major break through for us. They soon became firm friends as she did with Frans dogs, but it was a long time coming.

Drew was diagnosed as having brain damage about 2 years ago and will always be on long term drug therapy so this contributed a lot to how she is. Drew is a much happier, nicer dog now and people often cannot believe how much she has improved.

I know that if I had not met Fran when I did and she had not put in as much effort as she did Drew probably would have been re-homed or even worse.

Thanks for everything

Melanie and Drew (who’s nearly 7)

Read Nicolette and Justyce’s Story By Clicking Here

(Kizzy had a problem when she was let off the lead. She would slam into Lucy (the other dog in the family), grab her neck and hurt her.

Hi Fran,
Just to let you know how Kizzy’s doing – had to drop out of classes
again as I’m having some problems with my eyes and find night driving
difficult at the moment.

The Kong has been a great success – Kizzy loves it, and now that she
grabs Lucy less, Lucy seems more inclined to tell her off when she does
do it. Most of the time when they running together now there is very
little barging and grabbing – and they both have a lot more fun. (To see
them running together is quite a sight – wow are they fast…. .)

Coming to a couple of classes got both me and Kizzy more focused again,
and she’s generally responding much better now, even her “downs” are no
longer in slow motion!

Thanks very much for your help,

Julia (and Kizzy!)

Dear Fran,
Firstly I must say how much better I am finding your classes than the previous ones we went to. I was so pleased that Cedar sat and stayed on
Saturday, before I had been told to tie him to am radiator to do this!! – Pat Wood, Dunstable

Hi my name is HARRY, I am a (brainy) 17 month black Labrador retriever. My mum Julie and dad Craig got me when I was six months old as my other owner was going to Africa and that was too far to go, I did not want to travel as I think the UK is fine.

I was rather nervous in my younger days and I loved to pee in the house and as I was an outdoor dog I shouted and whined lots. I also had a habit of chewing my home, this was fun, I don’t think mum and dad thought so. I was surprised because my mum and dad never got angry and to help them understand me they went to Acorn Dog Training and spoke to Fran.

All of a sudden every week I was going training, I made lots of new friends and people understood me!!!!. I had no obedience training prior to going to my training and I enjoyed it so much within five months I received my Bronze, Silver and GOLD good citizen dog scheme certificates. I found one particular part hard as I enjoy my food, and when I had to stay still and not jump while my parents were eating that was tough. I thought this was really rude, (typical humans).

I am very good at home now I don’t chew and im extremely quiet, however if I see a stranger I like to ask the person what they want. Sometimes if they cannot see me they get scared as I have a loud bark. I think mum and dad like that.

Since August 2002 I have been going Agility Training at Acorn Dog Training which I love running, jumping, going through tunnels and not forgetting going across bridges this is great fun and my mum and dad love it to. I hope to be able to do some competitions in 2003 to win some awards to put in my kennels. I don’t mind if I don’t as it is the fun that counts.

I would like to thank my mum and dad for helping me to write this, as I feel Acorn Dog Training is great and I always tell my friends all about my adventures, sometimes they get jealous because of the friendship I have with my parents.

Thanks FRAN


Craig and Julie, Luton

I really enjoyed my lessons with you and can recommend you to anyone. Keep up the good work, you certainly have a gift with the dogs. Best Wishes, Maria, David and Taz Lathwell, Flitwick

Your classes are excellent and we learnt a lot in the short time we were able to attend! Cheryl, Newport Pagnell

This is the best £55 I have ever spent, especially on my dog. I feel I have already had my £55 worth in the first session! Judi Randall, Winslow.

Zena had underlying medical problems, which affected her training and behaviour:

Zena is HUGELY better. Very little pain now, and down to 1 tablet every
other day. She’s allowed a short run off the lead daily and a real run out
once a week.

I thought you might like to know that her training with you has obviously
paid off. We’re away overnight soon and can’t take Zena, so we’ve got her a
dog walker. Jamie turned up to meet Zena, mutual love at first sight and off
they went for their first walk. When they came back, Jamie absolutley raved
about Zena’s behaviour – walking to heel, waiting to cross roads and not
pulling on the lead!!! OK, she is very good with me, but I don’t think I’d
ever describe her behaviour as perfect.

All behaviour and diet probelms are well and truly behind us now, and Zena
definately seems to be here to stay. Many thanks for all your help with the
various problems Fran. Rest assured I’ll come running if any more arise!

All the best

Frances ~ Bradwell Common

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