The Happy Dog Training Co.

Professional dog training throughout Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and Gloucester

(UPDATED MAY 2022)

Rachel and the Happy Dog Training Co. are no longer offering training classes due to a change in focus. If you are looking for classes for puppies or older dogs, please visit www.puppyschoolgloucester.co.uk, or www.facebook.com/PuppySchoolLedbury for alternatives. Both of these dog training schools are run by trainers who have worked with us previously, and are highly recommended.

Rachel does continue to offer 1-1 training and behaviour consultations to meet your puppy or adult dog’s individual needs. Do get in touch to discuss your requirements and to see how we might best be able to help you.

About Us

Rachel Welch qualified as a member of the APDT (member number 01326) back in 2017 and is also proud to be a registered Animal Training Instructor with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. Due a recent change of focus, The Happy Dog Training Co. is no longer offering group training classes and Rachel is instead choosing to work with clients on a 1-1 basis, as well as offering group workshops, organised social walks and other one-off training opportunities. She also continues to specialise in working with puppies as well as helping owners to understand and improve the behaviour of their reactive dogs.

"I have been so lucky to work with thousands of amazing clients and their dogs over the past 13 years. Due to a change in my daytime role, I am scaling back to just working privately on the things that I enjoy the most. I am thrilled that my venues are being taken over by Jacki and Tammy, who worked with me previously and I am confident that they will continue to offer amazing reward-based classes for anyone wishing to work with their puppy or adult dog in a classroom environment.

In the meantime, I will continue to support clients on a 1-1 basis as well as offering my organised social walks, including one group specifically for shy dogs, and my one-off workshops.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch for a chat about your dog's needs and we can look at the options together."

"...these methods work better than any others I have come across"

Our Trainers

The Happy Dog Training Co. is run by Rachel Butler BSc (Hons) who initially began running puppy classes through the national Puppy School franchise. Happy Dog was started in August 2009 following extensive training from Gwen Bailey, internationally renowned dog behaviourist and Founder of Puppy School. Rachel and the Happy Dog team have continued their expansion and, and Rachel is delighted to be a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (number 01326) and a registered Animal Training Instructor with the Animal Training and Behaviour Council.

Rachel is also a proud member of the Pet Professional Guild and is an assessor for the charity, Pets as Therapy. Rachel acts as Regional Manager for the Puppy School network, looking after a team of puppy trainers across the Gloucestershire and Wales region.

The team at Happy Dog comprises Rachel plus eight part-time trainers who assist in the running of classes, or who run their own classes for the Happy Dog Training Co. All of our trainers are equally committed to using only methods that adhere to the reward-based training ethos that Rachel is so passionate about. Our trainers are highy skilled with specialisms in differing areas and we are proud to ensure that we continue to develop the professional knowledge and experience of our team members. Find out more about our team below:

Rachel Butler

I started the Happy Dog Training Co. in August 2009 after extensive training with Gwen Bailey, founder of Puppy School and internationally renowned dog behaviourist. I share my life with my partner, four children and two Pointers called Bramble and Moss. Until 2015, I enjoyed the company of my two beloved Staffordshire Bull Terriers but both died and, despite the heartbreak of the loss, I knew that I could not live without a dog in my life for long - hence Bramble joined our family, followed a year later by Moss.

I am very proud to be a member (member number 01326) of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and a registered Animal Training Instructor with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. I am a trained Puppy School Tutor, Puppy School Regional Manager for the Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and South Wales area and I am also a volunteer with Pets as Therapy, undertaking regular reading at a local school with Moss, who is a registered PAT dog.

Both of my Staffies were rescued after being unsuitable for their previous owners and I worked hard over the years to try to counteract the damage done by poor socialisation and insufficient training. Having experience of 'second-hand' dogs has given me first-hand experience of a range of behavioural problems, meaning that my training advice is often given from a 'real life' outlook rather than being relayed from a university textbook.

I feel so privileged to get paid to do a job that I love so much. I get to meet so many incredible dogs and their owners and to help improve the understanding of one another along the way. I am a real advocate of reward based training systems for dogs, whilst also being hugely enthusiastic about some of the fantastic new behaviour-based methods of training that are being developed. Training dogs is really about timing, enthusiasm and consistency but if an owner can also develop a basic understanding of canine behaviour and body language along the way, the results are incredible.

Behaviour Consultations

Many dog owners put up with a problem behaviour that their dog displays, rather than seeking help. This is often in the hope that it will get better over time or as a result of not knowing where to turn and whose advice to trust. Behaviour problems really can take all the fun out of dog ownership and can make life equally miserable for your dog.

If you are experiencing a specific behavioural problem from your dog, you may choose to consider a behaviour consultation. When selecting a professional to help you, it is important to consider the academic background and practical experience of the person in question. Rachel is a provisional member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) which means that having gained the relevant academic qualifications, she is gaining the practical experience required in order to become a full member.

Rachel only offers behaviour consultations on veterinary referral - it is very important to rule out any medical condition as a cause of the problem behaviour. On receipt of the referral letter from your vet, Rachel will ask you to complete an extensive questionnaire to find out more about the problem in question and some background information about your dog. The visit itself will last a minimum of two hours and will involve a mixture of practical training and discussion as well as developing a management plan. On completion of the consultation, you will receive a full written behaviour modification report which will also be forwarded to your vet.

Email or phone support related to the presenting complaint are also offered for a period of three months after the consultation. Get in touch and arrange a consultation (or for a no obligation discussion).

"The classes are also a great way of socialising with other puppies and meeting like-minded owners."

Other Services

Early Puppy Visits

Sometimes, new owners are keen to get a helping hand straightaway with their new canine family member. Others may have questions relating to housetraining, play biting, chewing or other puppy related behaviours.

Rachel offers home visits to help owners requiring such help. The visit can be carried out as soon as the puppy is brought home and cover anything that the new owners wish to discuss. All advice will be tailored to the individual family and puppy but each problem will be tackled using positive, reward based training methods.

The visit lasts one hour and costs £65 (additional costs my apply for clients living outside the area)

Older Dog Training

There are occasions when, for whatever reason, dogs are not suited to a class environment or an owner may require more individual assistance.

Rachel offers 1-1 training for a range of problems from pulling on the lead to jumping up at people, reacting to other dogs or simply not understanding how to play with toys. Another common problem is dogs who are not willing to return to the owner when off lead.

The private tuition is offered in the owner's home or at a convenient outdoor location when necessary. All training advice given uses only positive training methods, ensuring the dog and owner are helped to succeed through the use of reward and encouragement.

The visit lasts one hour and costs £65 (additional costs my apply for clients living outside the area)

Puppy Walks

Here at The Happy Dog Training Co., we understand the need for carefully managed socialisation with other dogs in order to help your puppy develop their own social skills. Although we do offer puppy play within our classes, time is often limited and the hall environment doesn't allow the puppies the full freedom that we would like to see.

In order to ensure that your puppy gets the help that he needs during these vital early months, we offer free puppy walks to all clients and their puppies throughout the period of the course. Walks are held once a fortnight on a Saturday morning. We use an enclosed public field located in central Tewkesbury, and keep the walks short enough to be suitable for young puppies with delicate limbs.

Once at the field, Rachel carefully supervises the puppies whilst they are let off lead in pairs or groups of three. Owners get the opportunity to practise their recall whilst puppies learn the vital rules about play, interaction and appropriate greetings from those who know best - other puppies!

Everyone from the current course is welcome to come along and Rachel ensures that all puppies have a positive experience, leaving them keen to meet other dogs in the future.

"The atmosphere is always relaxed, and it is clear that the dogs are enjoying themselves."