Black Lab Blue Sky

The home of Holistic dog training

Tel: 0115 9301257

Canine Behaviourist & Trainer

Colin Tomlinson. Cert.Ms, Dip.Ms, MGoDT

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Visit our online shop to buy our hypoallergenic dog food and treats.

healthy k9 hypo-allergenic dog food

Get in Touch

If you need any information or have any questions please feel free to contact us using the details below:

  • Email:
  • Telphone:
    0115 9301257
  • Mobile:
    07753 679 689

Holistic Dog Training

colin tomlinson expert holistic dog trainer
Colin with rescue working Lab Talla (pronounced Tarler) on her 4th and final home

I have owned and trained dogs for over 25 years. I’m a qualified behaviourist*, a qualified Gun Dog trainer and member of the Guild of Dog Trainers. I work with veterinary practices and rescue centres in and around Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire. The majority of my work comes via recommendation, which is testament alone to my effective training methods and my deep core knowledge of this subject. I have spent several years studying and lecturing at Derby University and Derby College. This background in academia has enabled me to continue my research into Canine Behaviour, Canine Nutrition and Applied Canine Behaviour Management. Hopefully, after a training / education session with me, you will see your dog in a new light, with a much deeper understanding of your pets needs and how it can benefit your relationship. Colin Tomlinson. Cert.Ms. Dip.Ms. MGoDT.

(* The difference between a trainer and a behaviourist is all behaviourists can train dogs but not all trainers understand canine behaviour.)

the guild of dog trainers’

Colin is a member of ‘The Guild of Dog Trainers’ (Registration No. GODT 311). The Guild of Dog Trainers is an independent professional body committed to maintaining and improving the quality of dog training, behaviour and companion dog ownership in Britain. Be sure to visit the GODT web site where you will find loads of useful information and fascinating articles. Web address:

At Black Lab Blue Sky, we work with owners and dogs to bring mutual understanding and respect. I say ‘we’ because you the owner are the most influential controlling force of your dog. Your influence can either be positive or negative. I’m fundamentally here to show you how to become a positive guiding influence on your dog’s life. The win win results of my approach are that you will also benefit from greater understanding and control. If the owner is out of control then the majority of your decisions will be based on frustration and reactivity just like your dog’s when it is out of control. Next time you lose your temper with your dog - shouting, finger wagging, staring with bulging eyes, just take the dog out of the equation, look in the mirror and see what your dog is seeing! Would you respond favourably when being berated aggressively? ‘I tend to spend a lot of time training and re-educating owners’.

dog training derby

When assessing your specific issue or issues, we look at it holistically, which means we consider all of the factors that may be causing or aggravating an unwanted behaviour. (Unwanted behaviour is somewhat subjective, what you the owner sees as unwanted may well be normal behaviour for a specific dog breed type!).

To me, I don't so much as train dogs, it is more a case of rebalancing a dog and demonstrating to the owner how to rebuild their dog /owner relationship. The training bit is relatively easy:
Teach Desired Behaviour - Reward – Reinforce.

This is a list of issues that we can help you with:

  • Pulling on the lead
  • Lack of recall when off the lead
  • Jumping up visitors and strangers
  • Vocalisation (barking, whining)
  • Anxiety, phobias, nervousness (separation anxiety)
  • Dog aggression
  • People aggression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Resource aggression (food, possessions, etc.)
  • Puppy training (one 2 one)
  • Socialisation skills – meeting new dogs, traffic, people etc.
  • Unwanted behaviour (eating pooh, own and other animals)
  • Rehabilitation of rescue dogs

Where do we begin?

holistic dog training

Firstly, we need to establish the root cause of the alleged problem / issue. I say ‘alleged’ because what some owners perceive as a problem may well be in fact ‘normal’ canine or breed specific behaviour. This can be established in a telephone conversation at which time I will let you know whether you require a One2One visit or I may give you some free advice to alleviate the issue.

For certain behavioural problems I may ask you to consult your vet initially to establish if there is any underlying cause. In the case of unexplained or sudden aggression (idiopathic) from a dog that is normally non-aggressive, I would always recommend talking to your vet just in case it is linked to pain, hormonal changes or medication related side effects. It is important to collate as much information as you can, regarding the canine problem. i.e. specific behaviour, when it was first noticed, how long has it been going on, what strategies you have tried to alleviate it. I will also need some specifics regarding the dog(s) i.e. breed, age, sex, neutered or complete, diet, medical conditions, medication, exercise regime and general background information. i.e. rescue dog or puppy farm dog and any other relevant history.

Effective Training is based on Positive Reward Based Strategies

Positive Strategies

- Two-way communication
- Understanding
- Trust
- Respect of each other
- Reward
- Fun

Negative Blame Strategies

- One-way communication
- Aggression
- Physical Punishment
- Mistrust
- Dominance

What type of owner / trainer are you – Carrot or Stick?

nottingham dog training

One study, conducted by scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK and the University of Life Sciences in Norway, evaluated whether punishment was a contributor to behaviour problems and examined the effects of reward, punishment and rule structure (leniency/strictness and consistency) on training and behaviour problems. Information was collected via questionnaires from 217 dog owners.

Those who used strong and/or frequent punishment had a significantly higher level of training problems and lower obedience in their dogs. A similar study, conducted at Britain’s University of Bristol, also found that dogs trained only with positive reinforcement exhibited fewer problem behaviours.

Holistic Dog Training (Needs Assessment)

Visit our Shop

Visit our online shop to buy our hypoallergenic dog food and treats.

healthy k9 hypo-allergenic dog food

Get in Touch

If you need any information or have any questions please feel free to contact us using the details below:

  • Email:
  • Telphone:
    0115 9301257
  • Mobile:
    07753 679 689