Gill Gallagher
Allsorts Dog Training
One to One Training Programmes
for puppies & dogs in Hampshire

Your puppy or dog is such an important member of your family.
A one to one training programme is a perfect way for us to work together to train, coach & support you during your life together.
The programmes are personal and will help you to harness your dog's instincts, drive, motivation & natural reinforcements to improve your relationship, confidence & communication.

One to one puppy programme in Hampshire for puppies from 8 weeks in your home or out and about once they have completed their vaccinations. To ensure your life with your puppy gets off to a great start.

4-week One to One Puppy Programme - suitable for puppies from 8 weeks 

A one to one puppy programme will give you and your puppy the best start in your life together as they learn so much in their first 16- 20 weeks. For most of this time they are unable to attend a class as they have hopefully spent at least half of this time with their mum, siblings and the breeder. Then for approximately the first 4 weeks with you they are unable to leave the home on foot.

These one to one puppy programmes are designed to provide what you need to give your puppy a great start in their life

To get the most out of your puppy's key learning phase our one to one puppy programmes can start as soon as your puppy is settled in your home. They are tailored to your experience and your puppy's breed instincts, temperament, motivations, reinforcements & personality.

Face to face puppy programmes will vary depending on the age of your puppy, their vaccination status and your experience, but will consist of:
- Four 60 minute home visits or outside sessions once your puppy has completed their vaccinations
- A puppy pack with treat & food samples

The pre-vaccinated puppy programme may include:
  • Support with routines such as toileting, rest, sleep and exercise
  • Relationship & confidence building
  • Calmness & settling
  • Two-way communication
  • Puppy skills
The post vaccination programme may include:
Any of the above where required in the home environment & outside
Introductions to
  • Lead walking
  • Recall
  • Different environment , people & other animals
  • Focus games
Paid in advance - £180
Follow on  block of 3 x 60 minute sessions - £135
Single in home consultation/assessment - £60

These programmes are time sensitive due to the shortness of the key learning phase your puppy has.

I would therefore recommend you book in advance so we can commence once you puppy has settle with you which is probably 5 -7 days after they have joined the family and had their initial vet check.

To arrange a call back  or to book your puppy programme Click Here

One to one training for dogs of all ages specialising in helping you to harness your dog's instincts, drive, motivation & natural reinforcements to improve your relationship, confidence & communication. Assessments via Zoom or at home & programmes to take place at your home, at my field or an appropriate location

Face to face programmes include :
A 90-minute assessment & planning consultation at your home to discuss you and your dog's needs and make a plan for addressing these.
A block of 60 minute sessions, either 3 sessions (2 month programme), 5 sessions (3 month programme) or 7 sessions (4 month programme). These can be held at your home, my field between Clanfield & Hambledon or in real life environments such as local parks if appropriate. These sessions will be booked fortnightly after the assessment.

Paid in advance - £250 
Follow on block of 3x 60min sessions - £180
Single in home consultation/assessment - £80

Hybrid face to face/online  programmes include :
A 90-minute assessment & planning consultation on line via Zoom to discuss you and your dog's needs and make a plan for addressing these.
3 x 60 minute sessions held at your home, my training field between Clanfield & Hambledon or in real life environments such as local parks if appropriate. These sessions will be booked fortnightly after the assessment.

Paid in advance - £200
Follow on  block of 3 x 60 minute sessions - £150
Single online consultation/assessment - £60

These programmes are suitable for support with:
  • Lead walking
  • Recall
  • Manners
  • Confidence building
  • Breed specific issues such as harnessing natural instincts
  • Calmness in different environments
  • Refreshing skills
  • And more
These programmes are not for dogs with complex or long standing behavioural issues. Depending on the issue I may refer on to a trusted behaviourist

Areas covered for home & real life sessions include: Clanfield, Horndean, Waterlooville, Havant, Droxford, Hambledon. Wickham, Drayton, Farlington, Cosham, Emsworth, Portsmouth, Southsea, and 25 mile radius of Portsmouth

To arrange a call back  or to book your programme Click Here

One to one walk talk & learn dog training programmes are for you if you have ever thought when out on a walk with your dog "I wish I had a trainer with me?" because your dog has done something you don't understand or would like help with in real life situations.

One to On Walk Talk & Learn  Dog Training Sessions
Puppies (under 6 months) - 3 x 45 min sessions - £90
Dogs  (over 6 months) - 3 x 60 min sessions - £110
One off 60 min session - £50

One to on Walk, Talk & Learn training programmes are for you and your puppy or dogs dog if you:
  • Have issues that only occur when outside exercising your dog  on walks or in real life situations
  • Find that classes have given you the basics but now do not  cover your individual ongoing needs
  • Have attended classes but in that situation your dog is the perfect dog listening to your very word.
  • Don't have lots of extra time on top of exercising your dog to attend classes 
  • Would like a trainer with you when you are exercising your dog to get instant support
  • Find it difficult to explain what happened after the event
Sessions can be held  in selected and varied locations within 30 minutes of Waterlooville or at my field depending on what you wish to cover. Programmes can usually be booked on Tuesday & Thursday mornings, Wednesday afternoons with occasional Saturday mornings and other days and times available

The locations selected include:
  • Woodland
  • Grassland
  • Urban areas
  • Countryside
  • Parks
  • Cafes
Issues we can cover include:
  • Recall
  • Lead walking
  • Calm Behaviours
  • Appropriate greetings human & dog
I can also help you: 
  • Understand their actions 
  • Embrace their instincts and rewarding appropriately 
  • Focus & two-way communication 
  • Use the environment for fun or you both 
  • Build yours and your dogs confidence 
PLEASE NOTE - this is NOT a programme for dogs that have not had previous training or have reactivity issues I have other programmes suitable fur these dogs.

Gill also offers private coaching sessions, Following Canine Hoopers World Awards Scheme

Hoopers 1-2-1 Private Sessions & Courses - Following the Canine Hoopers World Awards (CHW) Scheme

Hoopers is a low impact fun sport suitable for all breeds of dog and any age handler. Combining a series of hoops, barrels and tunnels so the dogs and their handlers work together as a team to navigate the obstacles to build confidence whilst having fun. We follow the Canine Hoopers World methods so If you choose we can work through the CHW Awards.

  • 1-2-1 Private Hoopers Sessions £20/30 min - to cover everything for the complete beginner up to CHW Level 10
  • 1-2-1 Private Hoopers World Awards course £90/6-week block - working through the CHW Awards, 6 x 30 minute course with assessment on levels when ready. .
The Hoopers sessions & courses are held at Hyden Farm between Clanfield & Hambledon, Hampshire 
  • They are suitable for all breeds of dogs.
  • The 1-2-1 private course is 6 consecutive weeks and is designed to allow you to progress at your own pace
  • Missed classes will not carry forward 
  • Our field is in a lovely location five minutes from the centre of Clanfield or Hambledon
  • There is off-road parking.
  • The field is over an acre, so dogs that need extra space have it.
  • Sessions/courses will take place in most normal weather conditions. Unless the ground is too dangerous for the dog or handler or too hot for the dog.
For further information or to book a Free Discovery Call
Click Here

Gill is an approved instructor so follows the ethics & training methods of:Also a platinum member of the Pet Professional Network


Gill Gallagher- Canine Coach Bespoke coaching programmes for puppies, adolescents & adult Specialising in working bred dogs such as spaniel, terrier, retriever & HPRs to harness their natural instincts,

For further information on one to one training programmes or Walk Talk & Learn sessions complete this form and Gill will get back to you as soon as she is able.

Jayne & Nellie:

I have a four and a half year old dog who finds it hard to focus at times. She's very clever and always wants to be doing something; I already do agility with her and her basic training and our relationship is good. On occasion she goes through a phase where she's much more interested in the environment than me. I'd worked with Gill in the past when she was a puppy and decided to book a course with Gill to see if she could help. After our initial assessment Gill felt her confidence could do with a top up as she sometimes felt a bit pressured. We met at various different places and I quickly realised, with Gill's gentle guidance, that I wasn't always watching and listening to what my dog was telling me with her body language. I was doing too much thinking that I knew what she was thinking (if that makes sense) rather than watching and understanding what she was actually telling me. I'm now much more aware of her behaviour when we are out and about and am able to recognise what she is communicating to me and what to do if a problem arises. Gill does real life dog training. She is very calm, patient and knowledgeable and I love her dog training ethos. It is more about building your relationship with your dog, enjoying time spent with them, letting them do dog stuff and learning their language. 'Be more dog' I think Gill would say.

Roger & Finley:

Excellent Knowledge Of Puppies/Adult Dogs. I contacted Gill in the hope she would assist me in training my new Puppy the basic skills of obedience. We initially had an introduction session for 1 1/2 hours so she could become familiar with my puppy and assess him. Talking to her she appeared to be very knowledgeable of dogs so I agreed to continue with Puppy training. I am very pleased with his training and the success we have achieved together I can now get him to respond to my commands. He was very quick to learn but with Gills help he is now ready to go onto Gun Dog Training. I would thoroughly recommend her, to have an obedient dog is both beneficial to you and your dog.

Roger & Finley

Jane Wayne & Rusty:

Valuable Insights Into Canine Behaviour We were nervous about raising a puppy for the first time in 27 years, so decided to book some sessions with Gill. She taught us how to read our puppy's body language, when to intervene and when to let him have time to assimilate a new experience. After a very few sessions, our pup was sitting and lying down on command and happily walking off the lead beside us. He comes when called and best of all, he does this cheerfully, thinking it is all a wonderful game. We feel much more confident in handling him now.

Jane & Rio:

Had our first training session on Sunday and what a difference in Rio already. Gill taught us as well as him on how to react to things around us and to watch him and let him tell us if he is nervous Looking forward to next week . Highly recommended.

Helen, Andy, Meggie & Baxter:

Gill is patient and encouraging. The sessions really help to build trust between dog and owner. We have learnt strategies to help with various behaviours in a positive way. Thoroughly recommend.

Julia, Flappy and Blue:

Reactive Dog Training I have attended two courses with my 2 reactive dogs. Gill is very positive and has helped me have to confidence to recognise signals from my dogs and act accordingly. I have even started walking them again! And Flappy has made a new friend on our walks!!! Thank you

Tony & Bertie:

Very good for new owners Gill is very good at showing how new owners can spot the behaviours in dogs and overcome them to the benefit of both. By showing owners and explaining what the dogs are doing and why, you get invaluable tips on how to control and enjoy the dogs without worry. Bertie has loved the sessions and so have I, and both dog and owner have come on in leaps and bounds!

Jo & Ashe:

Great opportunity for my dog to meet farm animals in a controlled setting. Will be booking into the next one.

Angela & Theo:

Back to Basic's is just what Theo and I needed. Theo was an easily distracted dog when out and now he is a pleasure to walk. Great environment for lessons. Thank you Gill for the training and advise

Dee & Lyla:

Great to be around farm animals and be up close to the lambs. Lyla didn’t seem to be to bothered by them. Gill does take a slow and gentle approach so that dogs can process the environment they are in. Good afternoon. Thanks Gill.

Su & Usha:

Absolutely superb Had a fabulous first session with Gill. Usha had an absolutely brilliant time, she slept for hours after! Plenty of opportunities for her to learn, play and 'be' in a safe, controlled environment. We both learnt new skills ... and are already practising them at home. Gill explained everything really clearly which made everything so much easier to do! Thank you, really looking forward to the next session

Jo & Lottie:

Great Fun for Dogs We have been bringing Lottie our Jack Russell to Hoopers on Sunday mornings and she absolutely loves it. The trainers are brilliant and explain the exercises really clearly and make it fun for the dogs with plenty of opportunity to socialise too.

Claire, Ella & Minnie:

Hi Gill I hope you are ok and all your classes are going well. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the classes you did for us and for all that you taught us – a big thank you! Ella and I did really enjoy the classes, especially the puppy socialisation ones. I feel they really helped Minnie get on with the other puppies and got her used to being around new dogs and experiences. I get lots of compliments about how well trained Minnie is, which makes me a very proud puppy mum! She is very obedient (on the whole!), sociable and keen to please. I do lots with her off the lead – she never goes far and comes back quickly if called. I believe that a lot of this is due to what you taught me and it gave me confidence with Minnie and her training. I love being out and about with her and she is now enjoying running off road with me, which is just great for us both! So a big thank you from all of us for your help and guidance (and a woof and a lick from Minnie!)

Hayley & Marble:

Hoopers We are on our second Hoopers course with Gill and really enjoying it. The lessons are lots of fun and our young dog Marble has become much more focussed and attentive. Would thoroughly recommend the sessions.

Karen & Roxie:

I initially met Gill when attending her Reactive Dog Classes as my Rottie could and was very reactive. Roxie and I learnt together in these classes, skills which would help me in helping her in situations she was not comfortable in. She is maturing into a very well mannered girl albeit can still have to odd moment but I am more aware of her body language. Thanks Gill :-) xx

Bill & Evie:

Having nearly always just done obedience, I feel we are more of a team moving around a Hoopers course together!

Mel & Daisy:

Really kind dog loving lady who helped me with my puppy. Hope lockdown ends soon for you Gill


Thank you Gill for fitting and supplying our working cocker spaniel with a perfect fit harness, we love it and it makes such a big difference. Gill was also very understanding and accepting of our slightly people shy dogs temperament - which is always helpful! Will definitely recommend you to others ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Karen, Izzy & Basil:

I would highly recommend Gill as a trainer. She has great knowledge of how to train even the most hectic terrier. Gills classes are fun and informative. Both me and my terrier love them.

Paula & Bruno:

Thank you for an enjoyable challenge Gill, lots of tips and great to hear how we can train our dogs with just a little time and patience .

Jayne & Tarn:

Thanks Gill enjoyed the week although I didn't manage 3x5 minutes every day it made me realise I should be doing more. Resolution to try a new skill every week. Thank you

Natalie & Lottie:

Lottie has made really good progress with the off switch training this week! We have got to a comfortable stage 3 so will start adding in the cue now as she starts to approach her bed 😊 thanks for all your efforts this week Gill Gallagher it’s been great!

Rhiannon & Tyson:

Gill is fantastic, knowledgeable and patient, she had great ideas for any solution, her classes are great fun and she runs lots of distanced challenges that are really helpful. would highly recommend Gill

Sue & Storm:

Storm is our 5mth black Labrador, we have had her since 8weeks old, we are both retired & have had dogs all our lives, but not had a puppy for a very long time, & wanted to give her the best possible start, we decided to seek professional help in training her & that’s where Gill came in. We booked for a 6 week 121 training session, we found Gill’s training techniques very instructive not only for Storm but for us as well, Storm took to Gill as soon as she saw her, she was very patient with Storm and ourselves. Storm can now be let off her lead in a secure place, her recall has improved immensely & so has her lead walking. Storm has come a long way in 6 weeks & that is down to Gill’s training. I thoroughly recommend her if you are looking to train your dog.

June, Jasper & Murphy:

Trying For My Boys Can’t thank Gill enough for all the hard work she has put into training with my springer and Labrador Jasper and Murph. Top tips and hard working from everyone has turned my two manic dogs into great dogs. Still a small way to go to nail down a couple of issues but overall really happy with the time she has spent on them. It’s been really challenging having two boys so close in age together but we have worked on this and would recommend without hesitation. thanks Gill x

June, Jasper & Murphy

Jo & Luca:

Hoopers My Dog Luca and I really enjoyed doing Hoopers with Gill. She is a great trainer and Luca and I learnt so much from her during our Hoopers lessons. I would recommend Gill for the Hoopers and any other training required. She is very patient and passionate about what she does.

Jo & Luca

Rob & Arti:

Great Advice And Support ***** Gill provided myself and my 5 month old working cocker puppy with great advice and support around recall and being outside. She has a secure field with lots of distractions available and was willing to come to local parks to where we live too. Great value for money and Gill has given us the confidence to continue in our training ????, we would highly recommend! Thanks

Rob & Arti

Helen & Woody:

Recall Training I used Gill to train our 2 year old Cavapoo to come back when called. Had 4 sessions with Gill and this has proved to be really useful . The training that I was given was just as good as what the dog had. This has given me more confidence in letting the dog off his lead now Highly recommend Gill


Cindy & Murphy:

Recall With Murphy I’m so happy I meet Gill to help me with Murphy’s recall I can happily say it done miracles ????

Cindy &  Murphy

Carole & Twiggy:

A Good Start For Our Puppy Despite being dog owners it's been a long time since we last had a puppy and we felt that we needed some help. Gill has been great for guiding us down the right path to give our puppy a happy, confident and obedient start to life. Gill has been a great help in getting our puppy off to a good start in life.

Booking & Payment
  • Payment in full is required at the time of booking, except for 3 & 4 month programmes where a payment plan has been agreed at the initial booking. In these cases the subsequent payment is due 4 and 8 weeks after the initial booking date
  • Payment can be made via bank transfer to Allsorts Dog Behaviour & Care Sort Code 30-99-20 Account Number 27756668 or Paypal to
  • Any personal coaching session that needs to be postponed & rearranged by the client or Allsorts Dog Training (except for emergency situations such as dangerous conditions or sudden illness) a minimum of 24 hours notice is required. 
  • Group courses are self contained so missed classes will be forfeited unless cancelled by Allsorts Dog Training due to trainer illness or dangerous conditions
  • The payment agreed must be paid within 48 hours of the completed Background Information Form being received by Allsorts Dog Training to secure your booking. 
  • Bespoke programmes are a commitment of a minimum of 2 months & often longer personal coaching and support. Clients are required to follow the instructions and plan to achieve the results required.
Outside Sessions
  • The Hyden Farm venue is 100% outside in a field on a working farm there are pigs, sheep and other farm animals in neighbouring fields, so all dogs must be kept on leads on the farm. Please close all gates that are closed when you arrive behind you and park considerately as cars will be coming and going between classes and sessions.
  • Sessions will go ahead if wet unless the ground is dangerous for the dogs or handlers. Please wear suitable footwear & clothing for the days conditions,
  • All dog mess is to be collected and taken home at Hyden Farm (please check you haven’t left any poo bags outside your car before leaving) or put in the bins provided. Water will be available for the dogs.
  • For the safety of other dogs that will be using the field, dogs must not attend a session if it has had sickness or diarrhoea within 3 days, within 3 weeks of symptoms of kennel cough, after being diagnosed with a contagious disease or as advised by a vet. Bitches in season can attend private sessions at the field, please advise if this is the case a minimum 24 hours prior to the session so Allsorts can manage the change over of dogs as the previous or next dog may not be castrated. 
  • Do not allow your dog off lead or long line unless specifically instructed to do so by the instructor  the owner/handler is responsible for the behaviour, control & care of their dog during  their session and whilst on the premises.
  • Any Incidents between dogs at the venue even at change over times must be reported to the trainer (if not seen) at the time of the incident and vet treatment if required sought as soon as possible.
  • Allsorts Dog Training cannot be held liable for loss or damage to property whilst on the property of Hyden Farm.
  • We welcome children to attend classes or sessions but they are the sole responsibility of the adult they are attending with and must not approach or touch other dogs or farm animals without asking the permission of its owner or the trainer with regards to farm animals. Children must remain with their guardian if not handling/training their own dog or eat during the class/session or offer food to other dogs.
  • If training is cancelled for any reason you will be notified by text or Facebook as early as possible.
  • Please do not smoke during classes or outside the field on the farm premises.
  • Finally, we want you and your dog to have fun and if you have any issues with Allsorts Dog Training or any other dog or owner please let me know at the end of the class or as soon as possible afterward.
Your privacy and protection of yourself, dogs and your home
  • Any of the personal information we hold on file, is for Allsorts Dog Training records only. We do not pass any of your details to third parties of any kind and will only be used for passing information back to you. We comply with the strict laws following the new GDPR 2018. All files are destroyed after 7 years from the last time a service was used by you.
  • We may take photos and videos during training sessions for learning and advertising purposes. We will do our best to not include your face, unless agreed beforehand. If you object to photos/videos, please mark as such on the booking form
  • Allsorts Dog Training is covered by a full business insurance including public & employee liability. You have the right to view our policy at any given time.
  • Our insurance will only cover your dog and your home in the event of negligence by Allsorts Dog Training and only during the duration of the services. It is your responsibility to ensure your dog and home has adequate insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have a "reactive" dog what training is available?

1-2-1 private training can benefit dogs that my have emotional issues such as anxiety & fearful reactions to other dogs & people. So they can learn new skills and spend quality time with their handler without the fear of meeting or being approached by the things they are concerned about. These are held in my secure private field.

Can you help my dog pulls on the lead?

Yes if your dog has a specific issue like pulling on the lead, poor recall or jumping up etc and a general training class is not required. We offer 1-2-1 training courses so we can cover the areas you would like addressing and miss out the rest which may be great for the others but not for you at the time.

What is the difference between a package and a programme?

Packages are block of 1-2-1 sessions usually used for dealing with specific training issues such as recall, lead walking or general skills of a puppy or rescue dog.
Programmes are bespoke and are a 2 or 3 month commitment which will focus more complex behaviour issues or longer term situations. The programme includes a full assessment & goal setting meeting, a full plan & support.

Do you do puppy socialisation classes?

We do not offer face to face group puppy socialisation classes as a puppies key socialisation and learning phase is between birth and 12-16 weeks and as half of this is spent with their mum and the breeder. Then once your puppy is home they have 4 weeks before they have completed their vaccinations so have missed out on much of this key phase. Therefore out 4 week Puppy Partnership course via Zoom will fill this gap and allow you to start your training and will support you during this time. 

Which areas do you cover for 1-2-1 home visits

I cover Clanfield, Horndean, Waterlooville, Havant, Droxford, Hambledon. Wickham, Drayton, Farlington, Cosham, Emsworth, Portsmouth, Southsea, and  anywhere within a 25 mile radius of Portsmouth

One to one dog training programmes in Hampshire for puppies & dogs specialising in harnessing their natural instincts, drive, motivation & reinforcements to improve your relationship, confidence & communication

Gill Gallagher - The Instructor

I am qualified and accredited member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) on the Principles of Dog Training & Behaviour with the OCN following their Code of Ethics. In 2018. I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers membership number 01433, a Dog Training College approved trainer and a Canine Hoopers World instructor. I am also Platinum Member of the Pet Professional Network.

Gill - The Person

The journey that brought me to where I am physically & professionally was a long and winding road as the Beatles said so here is a short version of the 50 odd years I have been in this world.

Allsorts of Blogs about your pet & working bred dogs

Up until few centuries ago dogs were kept as work "tools" & treated as such.

Once they became house animals it was decided that they would need "training" so they could live in the home and behave in and appropriate manner to the humans. 

For many generations this was done by force & coercion just like the way they taught their working dogs & livestock to do as they wanted. 

Until the last century no one considered this to be wrong as they knew no different. 

When scientists began looking into the workings of the mammalian brain using animals they realised that humans & many animals reacted in the same way when reacting to stimuli such as noise, pain & scent

. Until scientists began looking into brains of humans and animals to see how it works 

until very recently they were treated by law as chattels or possessions & not members of the family

Over the last few years there has been a switch in how dog trainers & coaches approach helping families learn with their dogs & puppies. 

As Neuroscience has evolved scientists confirmed that dogs and other mammals are sentient beings (just like humans). This is now being recognised by the wider population and being accepted by law.


This is learning with your dog & ensuring that you are both in an appropriate state of body & mind to be able to learn. If either of you are not & you attempt to learn (train) together it will be unlikely that you will achieve your goals.

Therefore if you want to learn something new or improve an existing skill together the timing is so important.

If you do not consider how you are both feeling you are unlikely to achieve the result you were hoping for & it may cause either of you physical or emotional distress.

In your dog:
Physical distress may not be obvious as dogs try not to show signs of pain
Emotional distress can be more obvious if you are aware of what to look for.

If you attempt learning in these situations it may cause discomfort, fear. frustration, irritation, anger, distrust & lack of communication. Any of these can hamper learning & concentration.

Think of occasions you may have been asked to learn something & you were feeling unwell or emotional.

Did this go well?
I am guessing probably no or at best not as well as it could have.

The graphic shows some of the things I would consider before a period of planned learning commences.

Your partnership is in the centre & the surrounding factors should be considered before continuing

Relationship - Very few people or animals can learn effectively if they do not have the basis of a good relationship. (think about your least liked teacher at school, how much of the subject do you remember?)

Suitability - Is the goal suitable for your dog? It may not be for reasons such as their: breed instincts, physical limitations, current emotional state or personality

Your why - Why do you want to achieve the gaol? Is it for: their safety, happiness or quality of life or your relationship or personal ambitions.

Their why - Have you considered why your dog would want to do what you are asking? Most animal's first consideration is "what is in it for me?"

Physical Health - Dogs do not show pain or other signs of illness until it is probably intolerable , so it is up to us to notice changes in their, appearance movement, temperament or personality which may be an indication of them nor being "well".

Emotional Wellbeing -


Genetics, Natural Evolution & Selective Breeding

Genetics, natural evolution and human intervention such as selective breeding to manipulate through breeding how dogs behave and look over many thousands of years turned "wolves" into "dogs".


What is genetics?

"Genetics is the study of genes. Genes carry information that gets passed from one generation to the next". 

A very basic & not very scientific description of genetics is that the genetic make up of an individual dog or other animal is formed by the amalgamation of the genes present in the parents once mating and conception has occurred.

All the domesticated dogs that we have as family pets or use as working dogs are have been scientifically proven as descendants from a long extinct breed of Eurasian wolf. They became domesticated and looking like the dogs we know and love over many 1000s of years (estimates range from 16 - 34 thousand years). 

There are many different explanations on how this may have happened. But it is a fact proven by DNA that these long extinct wolves did become our domesticated dogs.

One of the explanations on how this may have happened is that somehow the wolves & humans started to coexist around the encampments and both parties realised there were benefits from this unplanned arrangement. These may have included: 

The humans found that the wolves inadvertently protected them & their property from other predators animals by the wolves living close to the encampment.

The humans either intentionally or not provided the wolves with food and other things such as protection from the elements, which made the wolves difficult life a little easier.

Over many generations they began to trust each other and the relationship began. Firstly the humans started using the wolves to help with hunting for food, herding livestock and guarding the livestock and the camp from predators.

So this is how some say the domestication of wolves started. They initially were working animals for the humans and over many 100s or 1000s of years were developed by humans to became companions or pets 

Natural Evolution

Natural evolution is when the dogs & other animals including humans adapt without  intervention over many thousands of years which could be due to:

  • Natural breeding selection by the animals themselves (just like we like to do)
  • Environmental issues such as climate 
  • Available food sources
  • Migration to different habitats
  • Man made changes to the world such as colonisation & industrialisation                                                             and many other reasons

Human Intervention

Human Intervention usually by "Selective Breeding" which is selecting a male & female that may have the desirable traits they require to produce dogs for many reasons including to:

  • Have the ability to do a specific job 
  • Look in a particular way 
  • Behave in a certain manner
  • To win prizes in shows and sports
  • To make money

Selective Breeding

How wolves became the dogs we now know happened due to selective breeding over many generations by humans.

Selective breeding is when individual animals are chosen for breeding by the humans because they have physical or behavioural traits that will either make them do a task in a preferred way or to look in a particular way. This can work in both a positive way for desirable traits or a negative way for undesirable traits.

At first this was done for whatever working skills they were required to do. Many 1000s of years later they were bred to become companions or pets which meant them being bred for size, looks, colour and temperament This  then progressed into them becoming identifiable breeds and then pedigrees for show dogs and finally over more recent times for fashion and money.

Working Dogs

Once the native humans started the domestication process by using the wolves for work such as hunting, herding. pest control or guarding. 

They began to notice that some of the wolves/dogs were better at doing particular jobs they wanted them to do than some of the others or they were behaving in a way they preferred. 

So they began to think "actually, if we had more of these types the job may get done better and faster". So they began to choose which of these specific dogs to mate with others in the hope that the cubs/puppies from the litter will also display some of these desirable traits for whatever job they want them to do in the future.

This seemed to work and over many centuries of doing this these desirable skills the traits became more and more concentrated over the generations. This is how herding, hunting, guarding and the other type of working breeds were developed by selective breeding. We still have dogs that do all these jobs in different forms. 

To this day this is how working dogs are bred and they have become specialists in their task as these "working" genes are still very concentrated. They have also been developed in a similar way to become assistance. service, medical detection or search and rescue dogs.

In recent years these working bred dogs are now chosen as family pets and these genetic influences will need to be considered when they are living as part of a family as they are not required to work in the manner they have been bred for over these many generations.

Companion, Pet & Show Dogs

Many centuries on humans realised that they enjoyed the company of their working dogs and they had built a relationship with each other.  They decided it might be a nice idea to have them living with us in the house as companions. 

This is when selective breeding went into another direction.

To become house dogs they had to have different traits to the working dogs they were used to. 

These dogs probably needed to be smaller, less fearful of people, more easy going & not have as strong working instincts to be happy living indoors, with people and property. 

So the dogs with the traits required as a companion/pet dog were now chosen for breeding.

Dogs became even more domesticated over the 100's of years. But humans began to like to own things that are attractive, so if they were going to have dogs living in their home they decided it would be a good idea to breed from dogs that have the looks as well as the other features they needed. 

They started to breed from dogs that looked how they preferred and hopefully their genetics will do the work and produce similar looking dogs.

This continued to happen until the breeds that are now recognisable were "born" duo to the selective breeding of dog that looked similar. As this developed in recent centuries the owners wanted to show their dogs off and compete with others. So eventually they became the breeds we now call pedigrees and see at Crufts 

This has in many cases diluted the dog's working traits and they no longer have the physical or temperamental resemblance to wolves or early domesticated dogs.

As this form of selective breeding is mainly for looks & temperament this has caused some issues which are still evident today. 

There may be medical or temperament issues when dogs are bred for a particular features such as squashed muzzle, long backs, very short legs or personality disorder. 

Breeding from these dogs with known issues should not be encouraged as doing so passes these undesirable issues as well as the desirable genes on to future generations. 

This has only come to light in fairly recent times as genetic and veterinary science have evolved. Because of this many repeatable breeders are having genetic tests carried out on their dogs before mating so to break any transfer of undesirable genetic traits to future generations. 

Also in recent years selective breeding has been used to cross breed pedigree dogs for working purposes or to resolve issue such as allergies to dog fur.   

Fashion & Money

Finally, the most recent form of (un)selective breeding is for fashion and for money. This can be quite horrific because the whenever anything becomes very fashionable, certain people will then cash in and they won't care about genetic or health issues. 

The fact that many people want this breed of dog they will breed lots of them to make lots of money. As these people don't consider any of the other genetic or health considerations so you may end up with a puppy with health or behaviour issues which may mean a dog with a short life expectancy or large vet or behaviourist bills.

How genetics, natural evolution & human intervention could have affected your dog's traits and behaviour 

Firstly, it is important to consider if the breed is currently used for a particular job. 

For example if your chosen  dog is bred from working breed lines, including breeds such as collies, spaniels, shepherd dogs, terriers, hunting dogs such as beagles or hounds. The hunting, herding, guarding or pest control genetics will still be quite concentrated and they will exhibit these genetic or learned behaviours as a matter of course whether they are going to be worked in the conventional way or not. 

It is important to understand that the parents of your dog do not have to be active working dogs for the traits to be evident it may take a number of generations of selective breeding away from these traits before it dilutes enough to make a difference.

If you choose this type of dog you should be prepared for these traits and understand how to channel them in an appropriate way, if they are not going to do their traditional job. If this isn't possible for the family's lifestyle then choosing another breed or type of dog may be better for them.

If you decide on a breed of dog that is bred for companionship or being a family pet the working instincts my have been diluted over the generations. But there may be other genetic influences to be considered such as their purpose when they were originally became a "breed" which may give indications of their health, temperament, and activity levels. 

It is also a good idea to consider their recent history, for example were they bred by a reputable breeder who carried out appropriate genetic tests and parental selection process. Or have they have been bred mainly for the money. If this is the case the parents may not have been checked for the suitability for breeding and you may not even see the parent to get a visible idea of what your puppy may become . 

Which ever is the case there could be good or bad genetic influences in your dog's health, behaviour and personality.

Genetics in dogs is a relatively new science and is rapidly evolving. This is a simple view on how pet dogs evolved through selective breeding for families and is not a scientific document. 

It is written to help families understand how their dog evolved and why they may behave in certain ways due to their breeding and use over many 1000's of years.  It also has explained a little of how in more recent generations they have used selective breeding to change looks and form according to human preferences and fashions.

There are many other aspects of genetics and also mental, physical, emotional, social or chemical that can affect your dog in many different ways and I am not a geneticist or vet I would not dream of advising how these may affect health or physical formation.  

Gill Gallagher Personal Canine Coach (Allsorts Dog Training) specialises in supporting families with working breed dogs using dog centred & choice based methods to understand their dog's instincts, motivation & reinforcements for learning.

Coaching programmes are available face to face in south east Hampshire and via video calls nationwide,

Contact Gill 

07595 217299