Action 4 Dogs

Leaping towards a new understanding and creating a better world for dogs

Maxwell Muir – Dog Training & Behaviour Services

About Us

Action 4 Dogs are based on the outskirts of Edinburgh in the heart of the Scottish Lothians. Founder Maxwell Muir has spent his entire life in the company of dogs. Action 4 Dogs are committed to continuous professional development.

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We also host some of the world’s leading names in dog training and behavior. Seminars, lectures and workshops are an attraction throughout the year for those wishing to further their skills, development and understanding of canine behaviour.

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One to one personal coaching sessions, Puppy training in your home and behavioural consultations are just some of the services on offer from Action 4 Dogs. We have a lifetime of experience dealing with dogs and helping their owners.

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There are many things to consider when you take the decision…

7:00pm – 10:00pm

Talking Dog Scentwork – Workshop 1 & 2

Saturday, Oct 1, 2016 – Sunday, Oct 2, 2016

Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Action 4 Dogs are delighted to be hosting the full series of TALKING DOGS SCENTWORK® Workshops




Workshop 1 & 2 will be held in October and the remainder of the workshops 3 to 5 will be held throughout 2017 – read on below for each workshop's description.


All Handlers who have completed Scent 1-5 Workshop can then apply for Workshop 6 which will be the Test Day for the Handlers to become a 'Talking Dogs Scentwork® Accredited Handler. The Benefits of Accreditation are mentioned at the end of the Workshop Descriptions.


All interested Dog owners are welcome as spectators – separate spectator fees apply. The benefits of spectator places offers the spectator the information given and the necessary tools shown at the workshop the opportunity to go home and practise working with their dog in their own time. If they reach the desired level they can participate in future workshops. These workshops are aimed for any pet dog owners wishing to take part in fun and stimulating ways of channeling their dog's energy through the natural use of their senses. Owners will be amazed at the scent work skills their dogs can display. This style of scentwork can be used by everyone as the searches can be adapted to the skills, experience and ability of both the handler and the dog. Scentwork is not limited to specific breeds, ages, or physical abilities. Any dogs with physical limitations can also participate in Talking Dogs Scentwork®.



Talking Dogs Scentwork® offers a great way to have fun with your dog and tire him or her out quickly. This can be done at different levels, from letting them work alone while you watch from the sofa to you both being actively involved covering larger, more challenging areas.


Scentwork is about teaching the dog to find a specific scent, not a specific item. The scent is the key. This form of scentwork is different to that used for obedience and working trials, search and rescue and tracking. Each employs it’s own style and method of training which best fits the task in hand. Talking Dogs Scentwork® incorporates all those styles and is a free flowing search style which allows the dog to cover complex areas efficiently and effectively. The handler actively works to support the dog and ensure the whole area has been cleared. Unlike some other forms of scentwork, the handler is an integral part of the search not simply an observer from the sidelines.


Search techniques can provide great help both with daily training and with some behavioural issues. From improving recalls to learning to cope with traffic, scentwork is an adaptable, effective tool to add to your skill set.


SCENT WORKSHOP 1 – Foundation  (1st October 2016)

This is your introduction to scentwork where you and your dog learn the basics. Your dog will be introduced to a specific scent and will be encourage to give an active indication (dog plays with the scented article or eats the food find rather than going still and staring or sitting in front of it.) You will learn about the scent picture, basic handling skills, free searching and blind searches. There are no pre-requisites for dogs, or handlers, attending this workshop, all are welcome.


  • Handlers: Fee: £85.00 including coffee break and light lunch – Limited to a total of 12 Handlers max so  book your place early
  • Spectators:  Fee: £35.00 including coffee break and light lunch

SCENT WORKSHOP 2 – Handling Skills (2nd October 2016)

Scent 2 concentrates on handling skills, introducing directed searches and search patterns. These allow teams to increase the challenge of the searches, including changes of height, duration of search and multiple/zero finds. Building on the foundation searches, this day will push the boundaries and challenge your team.


  • Handlers: Fee: £85.00 including coffee break and light lunch – Limited to a total of 12 Handlers max so  book your place early!
  • Spectators:  Fee: £35.00 including coffee break and light lunch

SCENT WORKSHOP 3 – Skill builder (Date TBA)

Building on the use of search patterns, searches become longer, thresholds become smaller. Hiding scented articles inside items inside other items requires the team to work more accurately and efficiently. Some new on lead searches, such as baggage and postal sacks, may also be introduced.

SCENT WORKSHOP  4  – Environmentals  (Date TBA)

This is all about searching in new environments, the closest you and your dog will get to the actual experience of operational detector dog work. Delegates must have attended a minimum of three Talking Dogs Scentwork® workshops before attending this workshop.

SCENT WORKSHOP  5 – Practise day (Date TBA)

A day of honing skills through multiple finds, blank searches and declaring the search area clear. Find out just how well you and your dog are really working. Great preparation for Scent 6!

SCENT WORKSHOP  6 – Accredited Handler Test Day (Date TBA)


Important notice: These workshops are not set up for teaching or working with passive indications (the dog sits, stares or stops at the find instead of retrieving it) and as such handlers wishing to work on a passive indication will not be able to work their dogs. Due to the extra time passive training takes up in the workshop, I’m afraid this rule must be enforced.




Here are just a few of the benefits of becoming an Accredited Handler:


  • Increased earning opportunities
  • Access to TDS Official workshop materials and logos
  • Promotion and support of workshops, classes & events through TDS HQ and the growing network of TDS Accredited Trainers around the country
  • Supply TDS Official products
  • Accredited Trainer workshops
  • Access to the Accredited Trainer’s Facebook group
  • Free membership of the TDS Members’ Club
  • Client confidence gained by being part of the TDS family

Working towards your Licence to Train

1. Work your way through all 5 scent workshops

2. Gain Accredited Handler status at Scent 6

3.  Volunteer at TDS Workshops to both gain workshop delivery experience  and demonstrate your skills

4.  Show evidence of pet dog training experience

5.  Attend invitation only Accredited Trainer workshops

6. If all goes well, you may then be offered a licence to join the family.

Please note that working through all these stages does not guarantee the offer of becoming a licensed trainer.


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North Middleton Village Hall

54 Borthwick Castle Terrace

By Gorebridge, Midlothian EH23 4QU

Event Fees:

£ 35.00 SPECTATOR – Saturday 1 October
£ 35.00 SPECTATOR – Sunday 2 October

Humans & Dogs: Living and Caring for a Rescue Dog

Friday, Nov 25, 2016 –

Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm

There are many things to consider when you take the decision to adopt a rescue dog. Although some of the reasons dogs find themselves in a shelter is because they have lived in problem and troubled homes in the past, or they have shown problem behaviours that owners have found difficult to cope with, very special relationships can blossom that change the life dramatically for both owner and dog.

You are invited to join us for this special evening devoted to dogs that have found themselves in the care of rescue organizations and found their way into your home. We will look at some of the possible issues prospective owners and fosterers can face when taking on a dog with behaviour history and past experiences that affect its daily life. We will discuss the management and possible solutions to problem behaviours with an overall focus on improving the quality of life for human and dog.  

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The McLaren Halls ((on the opposite side of Restalrig Road South from the church)

48 Restalrig Rd S

Edinburgh, EH7 6LE

Event Fees:

£ 18.00 Fee


Our Clients Say it Best
  • Max was recommended to me by another trainer when I moved house so I took my 15 month old St Bernard for a 1-1 session; Bixby is an adorable dog but I needed some help in improving his responsiveness when he is distracted and managing his responses when we come across aggressive or anxious dogs. I have read pretty much everything available on training, but much of it didn’t sit well with me - or seem to be right for my St Bernard pup. Meeting Max was a revelation and a relief. He has an approach, belief and style which is different to a lot of the rubbish you read and which seems to me far more logical, humane, positive and appropriate. On Bixby’s first session I saw him being completely relaxed and the most responsive I have seen him to date. He clearly had huge respect for Max and liked him enormously and I came away with ‘homework’ to practice immediately to improve his responsiveness. This is absolutely working already and we are looking forward to another session and the next stage of training.–CLARE ALLEN, ST BERNARD

  • We invited Max to work with us to assist in realising our ambition, which was to establish the criterion we would use as a benchmark for the exceptional care we commit to delivering to the dogs entrusted in our care. We examined many trainers available and concluded that Max not only enjoyed great success with proven results, but also had a lot in common with our own personal beliefs, which is to create an enjoyable world for dogs with adherence to a natural and kind approach. We were delighted with the programme Max created delivering outstanding results in an enjoyable and relaxed setting. Our team of 14 now work with proficient consistency and enjoy a greater awareness . The continued relationship we have with Max is something we hold with high regard, and his admirable skills and knowledge have been invaluable. Having Max as a 'champion' is of great worth to Citidogs and we fully endorse his methods and approach.–SANDY MAXWELL-FORBES & SARAH MCLEAN, OWNERS - CITIDOGS CRECHE EDINBURGH

  • Having never owned a dog before, getting a cocker spaniel puppy was a bit of a culture shock! The session with Max confirmed that we don't have a totally unruly dog and her behaviour, on the whole, is natural and to be expected from a puppy. The session off the lead showed what Amy was capable of and gave us lots of useful advice and tips on how to control her behaviour off the lead. In the few weeks that have passed since the session we have had lots of enjoyable, relaxing walks with Amy. Using the advice given by Max, Amy is responding well to commands and is enjoying playing retrieve (which we had failed to master before the session). The session has instilled a level of confidence in us as owners and this is having a big impact on Amy's behaviour. It was definitely a good use of a Saturday afternoon and has had a really positive impact on Amy's behaviour. –Helen, Cocker Spaniel

  • We have a one year old Black Labrador called Rogan. A typical Lab full of energy and excitement. We were wary when out on walks. If Rogan saw a dog in the distance he would ignore any command and run to the other dog. We would like to say a huge thank you Max, after one session you have shown us how to keep Rogan's attention on us to the point where he can ignore the presence of other dogs. You also showed us how to stop him from pulling on the lead. Rogan would also like to say thank you, he has lots more fun now when he is out, he gets to use all that energy with his favourite game FETCH!!! –Gordon & Linda Lansley, Penicuik-Black Labrador

  • I had been having some problems with Joey, my six year old Dachshund, most noticeably nervous barking at strangers which was starting to become aggressive. We had a home visit from Max and the results have been nothing short of incredible. All training was done with gentleness, kindness and a superb understanding of both dog and owner. In the week since your visit there has only been one incident worth mentioning and this was under exceptional circumstances (knee deep snow). I can state that we have a 99% success rate! The difference in my puppy's behaviour from a nervous and anxious dog to a much calmer and confident happy puppy is remarkable. Not only has your expertise and tips helped with his barking, I am using them with his training which is coming on by leaps and bounds. I have recommended Action 4 Dogs to several other dog owners and hope that this proves fruitful. I also think the follow up notes and behavioural tips are useful as an aide memoir as there is so much useful information in them, which I know I will refer to again and again. I would recommend him highly to any dog owner and having met some incredibly badly behaved dogs I wish more people would use his services. –Fiona Campbell, Penicuik-Dachshund

  • On acquiring my Bulldog puppy', Shiloh, at six months I found her to be very aggressive with other dogs. I also could not get her attention and she was basically doing what she liked. Shiloh responded immediately to the sound and rewards methods you advised us to implement. actually within the space of one day she was coming to recall, sitting and even taught her to give a paw in three ten minute training sessions, also her lead pulling was stopped instantly with your advised change of leash technique.Her dog to dog aggression was our main concern as she was snarling and pulling if any strange dogs came close to her and i was very worried that I would never be able to let her off the lead in public. We worked for a week on the advice you gave us and I am so delighted to say that yesterday my lovely puppy was in the park off lead and playing with Spaniels, Labradors, Greyhounds etc..Shiloh and I cannot thank you enough for understanding her issues and giving us the advice to overcome the problem.–Angela, Newtongrange - Dorset Old Tyme Bulldog

  • I have had occasion to have both 1-2-1 individual tuition for my puppy from Max and to attend one of his courses and i have found Max and the Action 4 Dogs classes really very helpful. I am a first time dog owner and at first i was really uptight in wanting to do the right thing for my dog and my family. Max has a very approachable manner which put me at ease instantly. It was brilliant to see him interact with my puppy, and his ability to communicate with my dog was such that Scudo was eager to learn all the new tricks from his new friend and to respond appropriately. This gave me a lot of confidence in Max's methods and when he encouraged me to do what he was doing i found not only that my puppy all of a sudden responded to me, but that i too was on his wavelength.I joined one of the Action 4 Dogs Training Schools and found that Max was able to relate to dogs of all kinds and all ages, and to inspire the owners in a way that helped us all to become more confident and better dog handlers. my family were able to use his instructions, methods and advice during the week, between classes, because Scudo enjoyed being stimulated and recognised our games as fun. He was learning to read our language as we were learning to understand his. I soon felt that my puppy was the best in the class, and actually, in the world, but i think we all felt that way, and i believe that is the way it should be. I can safely say that Max has given me confidence, has made me able to deal with so many different aspects of dog ownership and has made the whole experience enjoyable both for Scudo and my family. his teachings always make sense, respect the dog's sensitivity and nature and most of all are great fun for one and all. –Ale Mackenzie, Edinburgh - Springer Spaniel

  • Max came to the house and after talking about Toby he explained to me that Toby had never learned to deal with situations he found stressful and couldn't cope. I also learned that I had made the situation worse by using techniques that I had been advised to use from another source. We went out for a walk and Max taught me how to use a sound, response and treat technique to get Toby's attention and also how to gain Toby's trust and respect, allowing me to take the lead in a calm manner and get Toby out of situations he found stressful. The session went so quickly but in that time Max taught me how to recognise Toby's signals and to understand things from Toby's perspective. I found the session very informative, Max explains things in a clear manner and also follows up with a report and an action plan. It will not be a quick fix with Toby but already I see a difference in him and now we have an even stronger bond. He is a lot calmer out on walks and I feel confident that with using the techniques that Max has taught me we will go from strength to strength. I also know that Max is at the end of the phone if I am unsure about anything. I highly recommend Max, by the end of the session he had a fantastic bond with Toby and it is plain to see that he is there because he genuinely cares about helping you to help your dog.–Rhona, Edinburgh - Mongrel

  • Max was recommended to us as we were having problems walking our one year old Maltese Terrier Dog. Whenever Mackay encountered another dog on a walk he would go berserk, barking and snapping uncontrollably to the point that we lost all confidence in taking him out. After a couple of sessions with Max we were able to understand the cause of his behaviour and Max has shown us how to handle and correct this in a calm and effective manner. We are now a lot more relaxed and enjoying walks with Mackay and wish that we had contacted Max much sooner as he has shown a genuine interest in helping us and has been so thorough in his work with Mackay. –Stuart & Amanda, Bonnyrigg - Maltese Terrier

  • Bonnie came to us via North West English Springer Spaniel Rescue. She had lived with six other dogs, she was neglected, very thin and nervous. We felt that we needed to do something to help her socialise with people and other dogs and give her more self confidence. Walking on the lead was becoming difficult, she pulled hard and almost had me off my feet a couple of times. So, we contacted Max. Two days later we can hardly believe the difference in Bonnie. We all went out for a walk and Max showed us that by pulling Bonnie back was entirely the wrong way to deal with her, by using a long leash and a combination of treats and praise we worked wonders, in fact by the evening we noticed she was calmer altogether. The next day we put the new training methods into practice, they are so simple but make so much sense, the difference in Bonnie is amazing and lead walking is easy now, all of us are less stressed and Bonnie is growing in confidence. –Allan & Mary, Eskbank - English Springer Spaniel


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