Downriver Methods

What Makes Downriver Dog Training Unique?

Although the concept of training stock dogs has been around for years, the introduction of all-breed herding programs is fairly new in Canada. The CKC herding program became official in 1998, and after three years, began to take off at an incredible pace. As one of the only original committee members still on the Council for the CKC Herding Program, a judge in several programs, and a key-note speaker for Judging Seminars, I am very familiar with the rules and regulations, and can help people prepare for the challenges involved in completing a Herding Championship title for their dog(s).

Cardigan Welsh Corgi 'Pearl' and her handler Gloria Graham...regular students

My experience working with several breeds of dogs is invaluable; I can seamlessly adapt training techniques to each dog and handler on an individual basis. This flexibility helps me to teach dog handlers how to utilize their dog to move or control livestock quietly without stressing the livestock.

I love working with new handlers; teaching them to how to predict and how to control livestock in different situations.

“I like how Lynn handled ME (being a Newbie) and my beginner pup: we were both new to herding. We knew nothing. Lynn talked to me, she made me feel comfortable, she explained things to me to the best of her ability . Being new to something like herding-there is a lot to take in. I guess I figured that a clinician wouldn’t take the time to talk to people after the clinic was done. But Lynn did, my dog and I both walked away from the clinic wanting to learn more.” – Barb Freer

It is important to me that handlers understand the solid foundation that is necessary for the training that dogs need in order to complete chores, or compete in trials with confidence. This means that the student should leave my lesson or clinic with a plan for training their dog, the ability to apply consistent training in relationship to stock dog work, and the knowledge of herding programs and trials that are available to them.

“What I really like is Lynn’s ability to assess a dog handler team and make a determination of how exactly to help them and implement that process during the time provided. It’s also nice to have Lynn explain it in layman’s terms and I appreciate the fact that she doesn’t make me feel stupid if I don’t really understand what is required of me.” – Kathy Chorney

“I value the fact that Lynn is willing to attempt to understand not only the dogs but their handlers, and tries her best to give each of them what they want/need to progress as a team. Also, I value the fact that Lynn takes time to train with other stock dog trainers in order to keep improving herself and learn new skills and methods to add to her already varied toolbox.” – Cathy Kudryk

My Training Philosophy

I believe that the dogs learn the quickest by putting the responsibility on their shoulders, rather than making them do what we want them to do. I will show a dog what I want, and then offer them the opportunity to make the correct decision. Good timing and rewards will quickly shape your dog’s behavior. It is very important to be patient. Wait for your dog to make a decision; don’t force him/her into trying something. Training should never be rushed. Use your dog’s instinct to create good work ethics and correct decisions. And once your dog learns good stockmanship, allow him/her to take control of the stock. Herding is not a handler controlling their dog; it is the dog controlling the livestock. 

In order to teach your dog how to move livestock, it is important that you understand how to move livestock yourself. Many of the herding enthusiasts who come to Downriver for lessons, or attend a clinic with me have benefited greatly by gaining experience working with some of my trained dogs. This unique opportunity allows the beginner stockdogger to practice new skills and gain confidence in their handling techniques.

The Downriver facility is designed for training beginning stock dogs. The variety of pens, arenas and different levels of experienced live stock creates a great environment where handlers can shape their training program to suit their needs, working on each skill until it is mastered.