Sid Valley Dog Training


Putting dogs first!
Science based learning, ethical and force-free.

'Some people talk to animals
- not many people listen.
That's the problem.'

Every dog deserves to be understood.

Sid Valley Dog Training
Sarah My name is Sarah Stewart.
I am passionate about dogs and their training and see it as a privilege to be working with them.
I aim to show people what an amazing relationship they can have with their dogs based on better understanding and clear communication thus building trust and a harmonious partnership.

I use science based, stress free, ethical and force-free methods of dog training.
Having had rescue dogs all my life and worked in a dog rescue centre, learning how to help those that had problems has been, and is, a lifelong journey of learning.
As a qualified member of the IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers) I abide by their code of ethics.

The IMDT Code of Ethics
  • To train dogs professionally with honesty, integrity and in the best interest of the dog, owner, the public and The IMDT.
  • Actively provide and promote force-free training methods and actively reject any methods or equipment that may cause physical or mental discomfort.
  • Continue Professional development through books, workshops, courses & seminars.
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of clients.
  • Carry suitable professional insurance including public liability.
  • Members agree to work within their professional limits and agree to refer owners with needs beyond those limits to a suitable professional.
  • Provide and promote science based, proven dog training principles to a high, professional standard.
  • Avoid positive punishment as a tool for training dogs.
  • Accept IMDT Committee decisions as final after appeals process.
  • Proactively benefit dogs and dog owners.
  • Proactively promote The IMDT.
IMDT Continuing my education and keeping up with the latest studies is really important to me, and I am always striving to learn more.
I provide a supportive environment for people to learn and work together with their canine partners.

Sid Valley Dog Training Training


Training to wait "Positive reinforcement should be the first line to be considered of teaching, training and behaviour change and should be applied consistently.
Positive reinforcement is associated with the lowest incidence of aggression, attention seeking and avoidance/fear in learners" - Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

In a recent study at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, it was found that when dog owners resorted to harsh, confrontational techniques, dogs responded with aggression.

Now that we know so much more about how dogs think, feel and learn, more and more people are now, thankfully, realising that training involving the use of aversives doesn't work and can end up causing more problems than the dog had to start with.

Paws Up The only reason a dog does a behaviour is because it enjoys it. They live in the moment and for fun. There is always a good reason for what they do; a motivation behind it.

Dogs learn by consequences and also by association.

We need to be mindful of how we are, as handlers, and be our dogs'guide.

If your dog isn't responding to a request as you would like, think "Does my dog understand what I am asking him to do?"

Think "What can I do to make it easier for my dog to understand?" Learn a more polite way of asking rather than demanding. It's not about obedience, it's about learning and enjoying the learning together.

Let's work together with respect, trust and understanding. The training will then be far more successful!


I offer small, friendly and fun group classes training locally in Sidbury.


For the last 8 years I have been working with my local vet - - running puppy socialisation classes to give pups and owners the best possible start together.
During these we have carefully monitored play and cover common puppy issues such as biting (mouthing), toileting, chewing, noise at night etc.

What do you want in 6 months time when you go to the park with your dog?
In this 6 week course we learn basic life skills such as:
  • recall
  • loose lead walking
  • drop it
  • settle(sometimes in life nothing happens, an important skill to learn! A calm dog is a happy dog.)
  • stay
  • discouraging jumping up
Pug ... and amongst other things some fun tricks!
6 week course of 1 hour classes - £60 (weekly notes to refer to).


  • Does your dog understand what you are asking him to do?
  • What can you do to make it easier for your dog to understand?
  • It's not about obedience, it's about learning and enjoying the learning together!
  • In this course we work on advancing our basic skills and our handler skills, and cover some more skills such as emergency stops.
Training area


For those who prefer, I also offer 1-1 training where we can explore any issues you may have with your dog, such as:
  • pulling on the lead
  • jumping up
  • recall
  • separation anxiety
...or if you simply can't get to classes. You will receive notes to refer to.
Sid Valley Dog Training Testimonials
Fox Terrier "We first met Sarah when our Golden Retriever puppy was just eight weeks old. We attended her puppy classes at the Vets which we found to be a wonderful start in life for him. From that great start we continued with Sarah's eight week course of puppy training, worth every penny! From the basics to good and acceptable behaviour and even a few tricks. We had a small problem half way through the course with Boris not wanting to walk a great deal or join in the class but with Sarah's help, patience (on both our parts) and advise, Boris became a joy to train again ... so many different stages of a puppy.

We are looking forward to further training with Sarah in the not too distance future.

Thank you again Sarah, as I said above I'm looking forward to further training with yourself and Boris."

Sara Whelan

"We first met Sarah through puppy socialisation classes recommended by Sidmouth Vets and what a brilliant journey we all started on. At the time our little puppy Cindy was quite shy but Sarah's advice and encouragement soon brought her out of her shell.
We then followed on with Sarah's training classes and Cindy [and ourselves] have come on in leaps and bounds. Sarah is very patient and explains very clearly and carefully the step by step learning skills a puppy needs to develop. We can see how all the elements come together to make sure that the result is a well rounded sociable, confident and happy young dog.
Sarah sets homework to follow each week which Cindy has thoroughly loved doing [as have we] and also provides follow-up notes after each session to remind owners of what has been done previously and what needs to be concentrated on before the next session.
We would highly recommend Sarah and fully intend to maintain our relationship with her with further training as Cindy is eager to learn and thoroughly enjoys learning new things [as do we]."

David and Sandra Porter

"We have really enjoyed attending Sarah's training classes over the last couple of months. We found Sarah to be very friendly and welcoming and the classes have helped us to understand Bramble's needs and behaviour enabling us to see the world from his eyes.
This has been invaluable in helping us to communicate and teach him the easy to follow techniques.
He has responded really well to the exercises and we've seen some great results!
We wouldn't hesitate in recommending Sarah to anyone considering classes you won't regret it!"

Carly McLean

"My cockapoo puppy (Saffy) and I have just completed an excellent "Sid Valley Dog Training, - A beginners course" in the wonderful rural setting of the training field above Sidbury. With the patient expert skills of our trainer Sarah we have both learnt so much. Although I had read masses of dog training books before getting Saffy and watched umpteen you tube training sessions there is absolutely no doubt that the personal attention and guidance of a dedicated dog trainer is the greatest help of all.
Sarah supports each puppy and their handler individually so you know where you need practice and she provides weekly reminder notes to keep you on track.
Saffy and I have enjoyed every session and have benefited beyond measure.
I thoroughly recommend her to all new puppy owners.
Saffy and I are now enrolled on the next course for improvers - we are loving it!"

Jay Miles

"The lessons were in a small group of only two or three other puppies with owners of different experience and there was a great deal of benefit gained from the interaction with other puppy owners sharing common problems which added to the support available for both puppy and owner.
My wife Sarah and I shared the training which helped us to provide Reggie with greater consistency in our training and although we have owned several dogs before it is easy to forget how challenging and sometimes stressful the puppy ownership experience can be. We all tend to remember the good bits but it is a big commitment which needs to be taken seriously and the shared support from you and the other participants is, in my view, essential. It helps to keep things in perspective and allows one to take the problems in one's stride thereby greatly aiding the enjoyment of welcoming a new addition to the family which is, after-all, a very special and rewarding thing to do.
The weekly training sessions were great fun and your non-aggressive and positive techniques for training the puppies are a refreshing and effective alternative to some other methods to which the puppies responded in kind.
You also provided weekly notes on the content of the sessions and useful general advice on puppy ownership which was very helpful as there is a lot to take in and we have retained the notes for future reference too.
The whole process was very rewarding for all concerned. We met lovely fellow puppy owners and their wonderful puppies and your classes have given us and young Reggie a great start in our new life together.
Thank you so much for all your help and advice and Sarah and I (and Reggie) look forward to seeing you again soon."

Michael Ginsberg

"Sarah is a wonderful dog trainer. She is kind patient and supportive. After 6 classes our puppy was transformed into a calm well behaved and happy dog - with happy owners!
Classes are small so Sarah has plenty of time to give individual attention. I can thoroughly recommend her to you."

Laura Lockwood

"Norah and I have loved working with Sarah both at her puppy socialisation and life skills classes. Her dedication to entirely positive fear free training techniques and constant striving for improvement has helped turn my frustrated sensitive puppy into a happy confident dog.
Her classes provide clear easy to follow instructions in a calm and relaxed environment teaching not only important life skills but also games and bond building exercises that make learning enjoyable and fun."

Elaine Bridgman and Norah Noodle

"Crumble is our first puppy and we needed training as much as he did!
We started off at puppy socialisation where Crumble had the opportunity to meet and build confidence with other dogs in a safe and controlled environment.
We then progressed onto training classes where we have all learnt the basics such as recall loose lead walking and important safety advice.
Sarah is patient understanding and supportive.
Classes have been well structured allowing dogs to learn together with an individual focus when needed.
Training Crumble has been an enjoyable and a truly worthwhile experience in helping to strengthen our bond and teach him new tricks!"

Emma Gray

"After being presented with six unexpected puppies Christmas 2017 and a year on still having four of them as well as their parents we were feeling rather overwhelmed.
Sarah was recommended to us by our wonderful vet and after only one session we could see ways forward.
She was knowledgeable calm and importantly very kind she quickly assessed the dynamics between the dogs and advised ways of dealing with them.
We intend to attend one of Sarah's classes with the smallest of the pups which again we hadn't considered.
Many Thanks Sarah."

Kay Rowlinson

"Before I started Sarah's puppy training classes I was told my puppy had behavioural problems.
After meeting Sarah she assured me this was not the case and that sometimes she was scared or frustrated.
She advised me Libby would respond better to positive reinforcement rather than being disciplined. The thing I loved most was how happy Libby was while attending the training. I could see she viewed it as such a positive experience and as a result she learnt quickly.
Sarah's method is very easy & clear to follow.
Now Libby is just so excited to see Sarah and very eager to learn."


"A very satisfying start with a new puppy.
Sarah is patient and helps you understand how to communicate with your puppy.
Fun too! Smartie loved the mini agility at end of classes."


"Oscar is our third Wire Haired Fox Terrier and since attending Sid Valley Dog Training School we have been absolutely delighted with the results!
Sarah's practical one to one advice and guidance has transformed our little hyperactive puppy into our best behaved and obedient four legged friend."


"A thoroughly worthwhile session of lessons.
My puppy has learned a great deal about being a sensible dog and more importantly I've learned even more about being a responsible and sensible dog owner.
I see so many things now from my dog's point of view."

C. Newton

"The best move I ever made taking my VERY unruly Weimaraner to Sarah's training classes.
She was everlastingly patient and I could see improvement week by week.
My dog is no longer a hooligan and is becoming more and more easy to control."

Gavin Watson

"Our Cocker Spaniel pup has benefitted enormously from Sarah's training.
Everything she says and does with the dogs makes perfect sense and we are looking forward to George becoming a very well behaved dog!"

Jacqui M

Contact Sid Valley Dog Training
Blue roan cocker spaniel

Contact Sarah by phone:
07792 654099
Or: 01395 597306
Or by email: