Some years ago I judged a field test in the USA where dogs retrieved rubber ducks from water, woodland and swamp.

It was tough terrain and when a handler brought Scrap, his three-legged Lab, to the competition I worried it would prove too much. With 50 other able-bodied dogs competing I feared he would be humiliated.

The first retrieve was a rubber dummy catapulted into dense woodland. The first dog I sent was unable to find it despite a long search. Reluctantly I sent Scrap on Mission Impossible. Three minutes later he was delivering his dummy like a seasoned pro. I had no idea how he managed it.

By lunchtime our 50 dogs had been reduced to 20 and Scrap was still in there competing with the best.

His next retrieve was a 200-yard swim to a small island in the middle of a lake.

I’d never seen a three-legged dog swim and felt extremely anxious. I need not have worried as Scrap got his dummy and maximum points.

After a long, hot, energy-sapping day Scrap came second and stole everyone’s heart with his outstanding courage.

I have to admit stifling a tear at the presentation and could not resist asking Scrap’s owner how he managed to train a severely disabled dog to such a high standard.

“Well, you may know he’s disabled and I sure as hell know he’s disabled but Ole Scrap here he don’t know and if he don’t know…I ain’t telling.”

And there it was. Rather than swamping him with sympathy, Scrap’s owner had worked tirelessly to help him overcome his disability. It was the greatest canine partnership I’d ever seen.

Education and leadership is the key to having a stable, balanced, happy dog. If you want to see how it’s done join our new summer classes starting this week by visiting or texting me on 07590 560012.