Practicing the hold



In cooperation with the Working Flatcoated Retriever Group WFRG we organize a webinar: Stress & Excitement – breeder’s edition. It will be given in Dutch language, but in case you are interested we can schedule an English version in the future. Minimum participants 7. Price for three evenings included digital hand-out €115. For more info please send an email via Contact.

Training philosophy:

In my own training and when training others I aim to use as many force-free and dog/human friendly methods as I possibly can. I believe boundaries are necessary and can be communicated without adding pain or dominance towards dogs and/or humans. We all just need to learn how. Understanding behavior of the dog is the foundation from where I work with handlers – the goal is to create a unity between the working dog and his handler. A working relationship with obedience only I find a bit boring.

Good teamwork is based on trust, respect and clear communication – but should first of all be enjoyable for all parts of the team.

Understanding the flatcoated retriever and her unique way of working is essential. She needs some freedom and respect of her intelligent way of solving things and will loose eagerness if drilled too much. At the same time she needs clear guidelines and communication. As a handler it is a challenge to move between these two poles, searching for the right balance of both. Furthermore, play is very essential – make sure to use it in your advantage before the dog finds his way of playing on his own.

My past training:

  • ongoing gundog training of my own dogs since 2007 – by several trainers in the Netherlands
  • Weekend workshop Model Apport by Dutch gundog Champion Joachim van Beek
  • Lecture on Adolescence by Sam Turner (Dutch Kennel Club)
  • Seminar “Breeding with your dog” by Flatcoated Retriever Club FRC (Nel Blaakman & Marianne Voorneveld)
  • Summercamp training – clicker gun dog Helen Phillips, UK
  • Basic Aggression Course for dog proffessionals by Vet behaviorist Amber Batson
  • Advanced Aggression Course for dog professionals by Vet behaviorist Amber Batson
  • Puppy Power Course for dog professionals, breeders & trainers by Vet behaviorist Amber Batson
  • Mind the Gap by Amber Batson from dogschool Feedback 2020
  • Puppy Development Course for proffessionals by Amber Batson – 2021
  • Webinar “Eyes” by Tommy Hardon for Danish Kennel Club – Jan 2022
  • Several webinars on gundog training (Oliver Kiraly – Jane Arden – Sanne Ammitzbøl) 2021
  • Feb 2022 Lemonade Conference (hosted by US based Fenzidogsports)
  • Kennel club Canine Instructor education (2021 part 2 out of 3) at the Tinley
  • Symposium “Gezond Gefokt” faculteit dierengeneeskunde Utrecht 2023
  • “Types in Breeds” webinar by Dr Tamás Jakkel 2023
  • Giardia webinar by vet beh specialist Amber Batson 2023
  • Epilepsy webinar by English Kennel Club 2023
Training offered

Since 2019 I have been part of creating and executing workshops for working retrievers on the theme Excitement & Stress. The workshop is a cross-over between dog behaviour, (human) psychology and gun dog training and consists of a lecture and two in the field training days. The workshops are offered within a team of 2 trainers including a behaviorist, a gun dog trainer and a coach/therapist. For inquiries on booking us for a workshop please use the contact form.

After a successful completion of the online workshop for breeders on behavior origin, we are currently building on an online puppy basic course for future owners of working gundogs.

July 2021 – private workshop for a training group of college trainer on learning to recognize emotions in your dog while gun dog training and using this to balance steadyness and drive.


Workshop WT C/B1 – for a group of young flatties

From Stress & Excitement to well-being when working your (gun) dog

– 2 day course on 3 & 4 Dec 2022. The course will be given in Dutch language. €165 – location to be announced. The Dutch Kennel Club Raad van Beheer has appointed this seminar 30 points in cat B for instructors.

Save the dates

Should you already want to let us know that you are interested in participating you can reserve a spot for free without obligations until 2 months ahead of the date. 

Mail to Birgitte & Marguerite at with your contact information (email & telephone)

For inquiries on custom made workshops feel welcome to contact us.

Here are some photos of my own training moments with Rumi:

Artikel Flatmagazine feb 2021

Prevention of separation anxiety in dogs July 2021

As we are slowly coming out of the Covid lockdown restrictions we are picking up old routines meaning that our four legged friends are spending more time on their own without our presence. Dogs are by nature animals living in social groups – being alone instinctively means that they are less safe and have lower survival chances (=higher stress responses in brain). This explains why their brains are build to have stress when left alone. The extend to which the individual experiences stress when left alone varies and there are many ways to limit the impact of being alone. It is important though for us to realize it is a situation unnatural for dogs to be in.

So the whole being alone situation might be best to limit as much as we can and for the time that we cannot limit we can opt the circumstances for the dog.

First of all training being alone gradually is a good way to start. The key to this training is that one makes sure that the emotion of the dog is as positive as you can obtain. We humans tend to look at the functional part of a training eg how long the dog can stay alone instead of the quality of the training and how the underlying emotion of the dog is being shaped. So take this in mind when you set up a training plan.

Taken in consideration that dogs have social needs, behavior specialists have discovered that dogs who have been met in this need sufficiently can better cope with periods of being separated from social contact. This leads to a couple of practical ideas:

– ensure your dog has access to social sleeping during night (sleeping with humans in same room or within hearing range of humans or other animals of household)

– shortly before leaving the dog to alone time, spend around 20 min in low activity cuddling or other social interaction with main caretaker

– offer activities such as (safe) licking/chewing or scavenging while being away to allow natural coping/stress release to happen.

– think of offering cloths with your smell behind for the dog to snuggle up against

Good luck preparing your dog for a happy lockdown end – hope this short article provides you with some inspiration on how to get started,

canine greets from Birgitte from Flatastic Flatcoated Retrievers

Kennel Flatastic participated in the making of this video – celebrating 50th anniversary of the Dutch flatcoated retriever club FRC

A great article about the “dominance theory”

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