Introducing Dogs Trust Dunstan!

by Helen Kay // October 2017

Our Darlington Dog School set up back in September 2016. We have had over 500 dogs through our classes since then and it is amazing how we DO remember every dog we see! So we thought we would take a step back in time….

Introducing Dunstan!

Dunstan is a Lurcher cross and is the size of a small horse! He was also a resident at Dogs Trust Darlington in 2016 for quite some time. His size was never going to stop him leaping on the office desks when we first brought him into our staff training session. We were delighted when we heard he had found his forever home.

What was more exciting is that Dunstan’s new owners Kathleen and Dudley then enrolled on our Dog School Rescue Course. Dunstan equally found training classes exciting and entertaining which frequently affected his ability to concentrate for long periods of time! We would often be picking up the contents of the nearby table off the floor as Dunstan would rear up on his back legs and bounce about…. just for fun!!

With lots of patience and commitment, Kathleen WOWED us all by showing (or should I say by showing off!) the most amazing loose lead walking and focus training with Dunstan toward the end of his class.

As he was so excitable and we suspected quite unsettled with all of the recent change in his life Kathleen and Dudley put a lot of hard work into Dunstan when he was at home with limited distractions progressing to increased distractions which were presented in a class situation.

Dunstan is an active dog so lots and lots of mental stimulation games have also helped to keep him out of mischief! As his history was unknown he was also presenting some behavioural issues too so Dog School linked in with the Training and Behaviour Advisors here at the centre to come up with some bespoke and innovative ways to help overcome these. All of this took time, patience and lots of understanding with no quick fix…. Just a continuous training process over a long period of time.

So where is Dunstan at now?

A year on…. Dunstan is a lot more settled and in a very loving home. We caught up with him on our fun day in July and WOW did he look amazing!!! It just highlighted that our rescue dogs really do need time and nurturing to help them overcome sometimes a difficult past. Often we deal with rescue dogs where we have no known history so extra patience, understanding and lots of love and positive training is required to help them through.

Dunstan is still a bit of a live wire but Kathleen and Dudley, fortunately, have a good sense of humour......they have stood by their boy and have done fantastic work with him.

We are fortunate to be able to keep in regular contact with how he is doing as Kathleen has for some time been a volunteer helping us during our Dog School Classes. As she is experienced with dogs and understands the extra care we need to ensure with some of our rescue dogs she is a huge asset to our team!


(left-right Kathleen, Val and Lisa. Some of our Dog School Volunteers)

On occasions, we have asked how he is doing and Kathleen gives us that look where we reply, “Oh no… what has he done now?!”

We offer Rescue, Adult and Puppy courses at our Dog School! Why not contact us and get booked on.

If you are Interested in joining our Volunteer team please get in touch!

Visit our page, email us at, or call us on 01325 331431 to book on. Find us on Instagram @dogschooldarlington