Running a gnasher club 2020

Running a Gnasher Club
Support groups for reactive dogs and their owners

April 18/19 2020

Presented by Paddy Driscoll MSc (CAB) APDT(no 246) and Hannah Wright PhD APDT(no 1158)

These 2 days are for dog training and behaviour specialists on running a support group (a “Gnasher Club”) for owners of dogs who lunge and bark at, or react aggressively towards, other dogs out of the home. For “reactive” dogs.

The course is aimed at dog trainers and behaviourists who are, or may aspire to, working in the field who are looking for CPD opportunities or who are interested in expanding the services they offer to their clients.

What is a Gnasher Club?

A Gnasher Club is aimed specifically at dogs that show aggressive or so-called “reactive” behaviour towards other dogs. It is likely to be behaviour that appears to be motivated by the aggressor appearing to want to create distance from other dogs by barking, lunging and aggressive or threatening displays. It is possible these dogs have attacked and bitten other dogs. It is recognised that the motivation for such behaviour is not easy to assess, and the frustrated greeter might show behaviours which can be mistaken for, or mixed up with, aggression, and vice versa. These workshops will address just these kind of issues and where it might – or might not – matter.

The (Lincoln) Gnasher Club

Like the ‘Real World’…but less random

The Gnasher Club meets once a month, for 2 hours, in Lincoln. It was established by dog trainer and behaviour adviser Paddy Driscoll in 2011 in response to the need to bridge the gap between an isolated training environment and the ‘real world’, and the difficulties in finding dogs to work with ethically and safely. It aims to support owners who struggle to gain the confidence to work with their dogs. One to one work can also be very expensive - Gnasher is intended to be an affordable option for owners at a stage in their training where they need opportunities to put advice into practice, but still need some professional support.


It offers owners of dogs that have issues with other dogs a managed environment to work with their dogs in a constructive and supportive way. It isn’t a class in the accepted sense of the word and it is likely members are receiving advice and support elsewhere in addition to what Gnasher offers. The Gnasher Club is intended to help owners to gain confidence in putting into practice, safe, up to date techniques and strategies with their dogs, and to enable them to make their own judgements about their dogs’ behaviour.

Owners have the opportunity to learn and practice practical on lead exercises, desensitisation, counterconditioning and safe management and handling strategies so when they are out in the real world they stand a better chance of dealing appropriately with the problems walks can present them with; and learning how to judge best which strategies to adopt.

Dogs have the opportunity to become comfortable around other dogs with less danger of unexpected events upsetting the process.

Course content

$1·        Understanding so-called “reactive”, lunging and barking, or aggressive behaviour in dogs in the context of Gnasher

$1·        Relevant techniques for changing behaviour within the Gnasher environment

$1·        Working with other professionals

$1·        What Gnasher cannot do and the limitations

$1·        Management of Gnasher Club meetings and Gnasher Club members

$1·        Assistants: making the best use of qualified and non-qualified help

$1·        Safe and ethical use of ‘stooge’ dogs

$1·        Throughout the emphasis will be on safety, awareness of the dogs’ welfare needs and taking an ethical approach, embracing positive techniques both for dogs and owners.


There will be practical sessions, some of which will be carried out outside (whatever the weather), so participants need to come prepared.

Presentations are a mixture of practical, PowerPoint presentation, case studies and group discussion.

The course comprises BOTH days and course bookings are only accepted for both.  

Given the nature and content of the course, participants MUST NOT bring any dog without prior agreement. It may be possible in some circumstances, so contact Paddy if you might need to.

PRICE: £140 for the weekend. (Limited places available).

TIMES: Each day will start promptly at 9.30am. Tea/coffee available from 9am.