Archive for November 2008

Eat your heart out Jemima

November 29, 2008


This is the sort of programme Pedigree Dogs Exposed could have been. Had you made the points you wanted make in this way this is the sort of review it might have got.

I have just watched the Channel 4 documentary ‘Animals in the Womb – Dogs’. To say that I am gob-smacked (a term I am very reluctant to use) is an understatement but I cannot think of any other which expresses my admiration and appreciation of this truly remarkable and wonderful documentary. It is all Pedigree Dogs Exposed was not – a sound, scientific, balanced and incredibly well produced and beautifully photographed programme with a superb, clear and concise commentary based on research and science and which was absolutely up to date, informed and educated. It used no emotional tricks or sleight of hand, explained clearly the foundation and background of its subject – and allowed you to make up your own mind about the issues raised. It explained and described the process of selective breeding and its consequences but made no biased, moral or ethical judgements. It was an exceptional and extraordinary example of programming and I cannot praise it too highly.


The phrase that rings in my mind was used during the caesarean section of the Chihuahua too small to whelp naturally: ‘Man has caused this problem and has also provided the solution’. Think about it. Here is an approach which is reasoned and reasonable, clearly explains the dilemmas and the reasons for them


In the programme, the complex background to the development of the dog is revealed by carefully documenting the in-utero development of three very different breeds of dog and their single ancestor, the grey wolf. The dogs featured are the Neapolitan Mastiff, the Chihuahua and the Golden Retriever. It may not sound exciting stuff but it is absolutely riveting

By following their foetal progress, this film explores the similarities between wolves and dogs, explains the differences and why they have probably occurred and describes the unique characteristics that make each breed so distinctive
and why they have developed.


Using ground-breaking photographic techniques, state-of-the-art special graphics, revolutionary 4D scanning techniques and anatomically accurate models, the film demonstrates the amazing development of the dog family from embryo to birth. Not to put too fine a point on it the results are stunning.


The explanation of the way in which the grey wolf was developed into the domestic dog 15,000 years ago is clear and comprehensible and the reasons for the establishment of 400 or so different breeds explained. The programme also outlines how, with humans controlling their breeding, the dog has become the most diverse single species on the planet and from mating to whelping explains how the secrets of their development lie buried (and now exposed) in their sixty-three day journey from conception to delivery. You can see it on Channel 4s free catch up service on your computer by clicking the link in Our Dogs News Extra page. Do not hesitate. If you did not see it you have a treat in store. This is how scientific programme should be done.


Here is the link


You have about three weeks – dont miss it.

Introduction to the Animal Care College

November 18, 2008

I am the Studies Co-ordinator of the Animal Care College and since posting videos on You Tube and starting my Weblog I have often been asked for more information about myself (’Who are you to lecture people on dog breeding?’ is a common question) and the Animal Care College.

I have always been a teacher – it was built into my DNA through my mother while the patience it requires came from my father. For the first twenty-five years of my working life I was a real teacher – in a classroom with a bunch of unruly sixteen to eighteen year olds but I got involved in dogs and caring for animals thirty five years ago. As a result I was lucky enough to become friends with some of the most influential and well-informed people in a world that is a passion for millions and a working environment for many, many thousands. The internationally renowned judges, Joe Cartledge, Bobby James and Catherine Sutton; the writers Wendy Boorer and Kay White, the prominent administrators Barry Huckle of the Pet Care Trust and ‘Tod’ Sweeny, the Director General of Battersea Dogs Home among many others all provided friendship and a knowledge base which was rich and has been enduring.

So the establishment of the Animal Care College in 1980 was in many ways a natural progression. It was the first distance learning centre of its kind and we quickly became established and successful – so successful others, including some of our past students and tutors, have copied our approach and materials and in one case, even our name. So beware of imitations!.

However, being first gave the Animal Care College an advantage. Not only are our courses very well established and externally accredited but they are recognised as valuable qualifications throughout the UK. Our students are not only self-employed as behaviourists and trainers but work for charities and commercial establishments throughout the country because the possession of an Animal Care College and National Open College Network certificate means a great deal: not just that the holder is interested in animals but that they have the courage, enthusiasm and stamina to take on and complete courses which, at the upper levels certainly, are demanding and challenging.

External verification ensures that Animal Care College courses are not easy options. Completion not only gives a great sense of achievement but really means something to the world outside.

Also, and unlike many of our competitors, the College has a strict Code of Practice approved by the British Association of Correspondence Colleges (we are the only members in this field incidentally), a regular Newsletter, a dedicated Message Board where students can have direct contact with each other, a comprehensive Learner Agreement, a Student Study Guide and well established procedures for complaints and appeals.

Learning is hard work, I am afraid and I can do nothing about that but from our offices at Ascot and from each student’s allocated personal tutor anyone taking a course will receive all the support they need to succeed.

Browse through our Prospectus at uk and our pages of Frequently Asked Questions – and do contact us if you have any further queries. Our satisfaction comes from your achievement and we want to help.

You want more information as to my credentials you can see a full CV by clicking on