These pages are dedicated to the important subject of training for a Trial.

Society Training leaflet for

Road Dogs here.

Carriage Dogs - part 1 here.

Carriage Dogs - part 2 here.

The Member support page has other information for members and competitors.

The sub tabs contain articles about various aspects of training and conditioning from peoples' personal perspectives. Drop us a line if you'd like to contribute your top tips.

Dogs in training - send Anne Dickens your pictures of your road and carriage dogs (and horses) in training. Scroll down for pictures.

Want to start training? Some helpful leaflets to download here Training.

Shona Collins' Holly at just 12 months starting her training as a carriage dog in France. Here she is after her first drive out showing that she already loves the backstep of Anne Dickens' Polo's carriage. Fenris is looking forward to having another girl to help train, as he misses all his old girlfriends back in the UK!
Celsie practises for her Bronze Carriage Dog class at the 2013 National Trials, with her owner and handler Josi Kaal on the backstep of Elma's carriage driven by Vicky Brennan.
Kay Martland riding Nat, her Standardbred ex-harness racer, in training for a Road Dog qualification at the 2013 Nationals with her young bitch Dazzle. Whilst many people ride out with their Dalmatians, entries in this discipline are rarer than in the Carriage Dog classes. It requires talent and dedication to train your dog from horseback, when you also have to ride the horse!
Giselle Lockett and Dimmers have a go behind Jane Friend's turnout (n.b. BCDS recommend hard hats for all on carriages). The Groom Handler classes are separate from the Carriage Driver classes, because the competitor is handling only one animal - their dog!
Chris Cleland's youngster Ozzy passed his Bronze obedience at the 2012 Trials - here he practises with the bike. Ozzy passed his Silver Good Citizen test a few days after this picture was taken.
Sue Beaman driving her pony Merlyn with her new puppy Ellie enjoying the view while getting used to being a 'carriage dog'.
Jane Friend drives Rosie with Sue and Marianne behind inviting Benson and Molly to join in with the cones practice.
Wesley Evans trains Dragon with Jonas, his wife Kelly's horse who is a trials veteran. Wes will be training Dragon to compete in the Trials in years to come.
Celia Gilbert with her rescue dog Harley doing well in his new life as a carriage dog and in training with Alison Burgess and her pony Jacko.
Roz Glick's Maggie practises her stay behind Isobel Standen's Shadow. Maggie passed her Silver obedience at the 2012 Nationals. Roz says that now when she goes to open the gate with Maggie off lead, she now just stays with the carriage.
Mary Kinsey and Tony Fincham's Eddie practises for the 2011 SE Trials with Anne Dickens' Polo.
Eddie's sister Lizzie having her turn at practises.
Gail Cotteril's new carriage dog Emily (foreground) in training with veteran Silver Carriage Dog Skittle behind Sue Stevens' carriage pulled by Jacko
Munin meets Mo for the first time - prqactising for her Gold Road dog test in 2011.
Maggie out for the first time with owner Roz perching backwards on the backstep to encourage her to work
Fenris on his first day with John Fisher's horse Mo, kindly lent for Anne Dickens' Gold Road Dog tests in 2011.

South East Training Day August 2011

Twelve new potential road and carriage dogs assembled in East Sussex for a day's training. The morning was dedicated to work 'on the ground' and in the afternoon participants had a go at working alongside a horse and with a carriage. With thanks to Sue Page and Domino for coming out to help us.

Pippa Ellen's young bitch Lily practises her stay with a carriage. Pippa is a driver, so she stayed on the carriage to emulate a stay in the trials for whip handlers.
Eddie owned by Mary Kinsey trots along nicely on a loose lead behind the carriage.
A chance encounter at the Working Horse Truist show inspired Liz Lewis to come along to the training day with her rescue girl Poppy, who showed a very strong instinct to be with the carriage.
Anna Day's Lottie did a perfect round off the lead as a dress rehearsal for her entry in the forthcoming SE Trials.
Maggie owned by Roz Glick practises her stay for the Trials.

Western Region Training Trials April 2011 More pictures here

The Western gang at the training trials
Fay Moffat-Roberts training her welfare dog Smudgie to be a road dog
The day before the Western training trials the BCDS ran a workshop for potential trials judges and organisers.

The first Irish Carriage Dog Training - June 2010

Leaflets to help get started with training are on the Member support page.

Click here for pictures of the Irish training day.

Download Alison Burgess' report of the day here.

Paul Stacey with Levi, now owned by Maura Reade, working him alongside Sam ridden by Rony White.
Sarah Morgan tests Bandit's instinct to work with Sarah Mullins' carriage pulled by her Section D stallion Yanto.

On Sunday 20th June 2010, seven bemused Dalmatians watched their owners behaving in inexplicable ways in the blazing Irish sunlight (itself a strange event). Sometimes the owners hid under a sheet. Other times, the Dalmatians were held by one person while their owners, apparently struck by blindness, ran around calling them and crying that they were lost. Fortunately, the Dalmatians were soon freed and allowed to reunite with their owners (who made a wonderful fuss about their clever ways). In fact, their owners found quite a few reasons to leave them then call them, with various wonderful rewards when they came. At one point, a Very Nice Woman (who seemed to be telling their owners what to do) dropped a sausage which their owners told them to leave. When they did so, the Very Nice Woman tossed them the sausage.

Yes, their owners were acting in a bewildering fashion, but they were all laughing a lot and giving the Dalmatians treats and plenty of praise and cuddles so everyone had fun even if nothing made any sense. Then something happened that DID make sense. A horse arrived. Now, some of the Dalmatians had never seen a horse up close before, but they all seemed to know about horses. They all moved quietly as they went (one at a time) to say hello. Even Mabel, one of the puppies, lay down when she approached so the horse would know she was small and didn't mean any harm. Another horse arrived, this time pulling a contraption on wheels with someone in it. One by one, the owners sat in the back of this contraption which then moved around the field. The Dalmatians had to trot to keep up with it, and one by one each Dalmatian discovered that following the noisy contraption made perfect sense. Maybe more sense than anything else they'd ever done.

The dogs were also walked beside the horse, a couple of people rode the horse briefly, and a few dogs were trotted by a bicycle with a special attachment.

The Very Nice Woman was Alison Burgess who came over from England to help Maura Reade introduce the Irish to Carriage Dog Trials. This was their first training session and meant both to educate the dogs and their owners and to test whether or not the dogs had inherited the Dalmatian's instinct to follow a Carriage. All the dogs had done so, and at the end of the day, Alison awarded Instinct Certificates to:

Pollyanna and Mabel (Frances Ryan); Mabel is only 9 months old. Cyrus (Laura Hayes); Cyrus is Mabel's litter brother. Co Dot (Robert Tapson). Uli (Folke Rohrssen); Uli is only 11 months old. Bandit (Sarah Morgan). Levi (Maura Reade with Paul Stacey handling)

No ribbon or trophy has ever brought me as much pride as that Instinct Certificate. Everyone had a brilliant time and have every intention of pursuing this sport. If you are toying with the idea of trying this, I can assure you that your only regret will be that you waited so long! Everyone enjoyed their day and are looking forward to another chance to give it a whirl in September. More details here

Truly a fantastic day for Dals and their humans!

Sarah Morgan and Bandit, Dalmatian inside and out--with the Certificate to prove it!

The first SE Regional Trials

At the SE Regional Trials weekend, two training sessions were held on the Saturday. These comprised 'on the ground' training with Alison Burgess, followed by practical work with carriages. horses, pretend vets and bicycles. Two Kennel Club representatives came to observe and were most impressed with the Dalmatian at work. Click here for pictures of the training day at the 2009 SE Regional Trials weekend.

Celia Gilbert walks her rescue bitch Poppy behind a carriage for the first time. Poppy went on to do an instinct test the following day and passed with flying colours

Training at the 2009 Nationals

Jude and her young bitch Brenna having their first try at carriage work on the Sunday after the 2009 Trials. Jude is hoping to be able to compete with Brenna in 2010.

Here we are using a human pony for safety (you should never tie a dog to the axle when a horse is pulling it)! If you don't have a carriage, and you'd like to try to enter as a groom next year with a volunteer driver, try tying your dog loosely to the wheel protector on a wheelbarrow and pulling it behind you. Encourage your dog with praise and reinforce the position with your chosen word e.g. axle. This will get your dog used to working behind wheels and to the noise and bumpiness of a vehicle. If you don't want to tie your dog, then ask someone else to walk behind leading the dog behind the wheel to start with. There are often willing drivers who will bring their turnout to help someone compete as a groom, so let us know if you'd like to participate in the trials and we'll advise you about training.

SE Training Day 2007

In June 2007, a trials training day was held in Kent. The morning was spent with Ron Mills of Gefion Dog Training when the dogs and handlers worked on basic obedience and distance control. In the afternoon both carriage and road dog disciplines were practised with volunteer horses - of all shapes and sizes!

Bill Hattersley rides Apollo and practises with his own young rescue dog Jake.
Here Mike Cleland is being 'human pony' while Lesley Glover long reins her Shetland Tiger and Anna Gambles handles Fenris, a young carriage dog in training.
Colin Healey works his Dalmatian Rory behind a cart pretending to be pulled by spotted pony Parker but, for safety, actually pulled by trainer Ron Mills.
In the morning practising synchronised sit stay!
Here are brother and sister Anne Dickens' Fenris and Anna Gambles' Freya dogs starting their carriage dog training for the 2008 trials.

A report by Anne-Marie Scott on the Society's first training weekend in 2005, may be found here.