Friendly Creatures – a fresh approach to dog training

7th October

Lydia with her best friend

Friendly Creatures is a new dog training service, created by Lydia Burke an animal behaviourist from Burwash Common. We went over to watch the training and get a feel from Lydia about her ethos and what she is offering dog owners.

“As far back as I can remember, I have loved being around animals and being out in nature, but as an adult the sensible part of myself appreciated the job security of nursing and being a University Lecturer.  In my spare time I worked with horses and dogs (including shepherding on horseback on Dartmoor), and helped friends and relatives with their animals.  I competed in agility with my rescue dogs, and with horses competed in Trec and natural horsemanship.  When my children left home, I realised life is short and made my decision to move into working with animals.” explained Lydia.                                                                                                                                

For the first few years she undertook dog training and horse training courses for her own interest.  She completed counselling training, gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in 2001, and a MSc in 2002.  In 2011, with a whole host of letters after her name already, she went on to qualify with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers.   The shift in training methods from the traditional “alpha” approach, to partnership and humane training, suited her; and Lydia found her counselling and teaching qualifications invaluable, when interacting with clients and their animal issues, and teaching well-structured group classes. 

Dog training arena at Friendly Creatures, Burwash Common

Her urban work includes training dogs how to behave when they come to the office, studio, or cafe, or coping with the close proximity of people, other dogs and traffic.  Lots of city-dwellers are getting pets for the first time as an antidote to the stresses and strains of urban life.  They benefit from input into choosing a suitable pet, learning about daily routines and changing the layout of their homes.  Now, in Burwash Common in East Sussex, she does similar work, but there is also a call for advanced recall training away from livestock and wildlife, and specialist scent work training. 

“I have organised and contributed to numerous dog shows and dog agility events, and worked with The Mayhew Animal Trust in their Hampstead Heath yearly events and other charities. I hope to be involved in next year’s Heathfield Show, and the Burwash Fair.”                                                                                                                                                                

Details of what is on offer at Friendly Creatures by Lydia Burke. Animal Behaviourist

My focus is to impart to an understanding of human-animal relationships, good communication skills and knowledge of the most enriching care possible for our animal.

At Burwash Common we use our secure quiet field (with safe exposure to our own dogs, chickens and horses if appropriate).  We have nearby walks over the unrestricted countryside of the High Weald (which can include exposure to cattle, sheep and deer). There is an indoor training room/dining room for our day courses, and overnight accommodation for our residential guests.

We run obedience-type training, puppy training and fun agility training, scentwork, Tracking,  Recall sessions, Nice Lead Walking sessions and training walks.  We offer 1 2 1 training in our field, in the client’s home or at an appropriate venue depending on the needs of the animal. We do remote WhatsApp training which is especially helpful for anxious pets.

In the future I hope to offer training for therapy dogs and equine assisted therapy sessions.  I would like to expand the work I already do in  mentoring and teaching would-be animal trainers and do more writing…

Friendly Creatures: If you would like to find out more, call Lydia Burke on 07754155286