Dogs have been a major part of my life for over 30 years, beginning with Great Danes and Gordon Setters and exhibiting to Championship show level. I began going to training classes in the days of choke chains and have seen a massive change in attitudes over the decades, accelerating hugely in the last few years.
A couple of things have made a really big difference to me: a workshop on Focus and Control that I attended with my dog-reactive Irish Setter, Riley, that revolutionised how I saw things and made the rest of his life much happier (sadly he left us in 2019); and my experiences with a beautiful, affectionate Field Spaniel, Lyric, who has progressively become more anxious in certain areas as she has grown to a mature dog.
I think my love of dogs is inherited – my mum and my grandmother obviously enjoyed canine company! I can’t imagine a life without one now!
Although training always interested me, like many trainers my interest increased dramatically as I tried to work out how I could help Lyric. I read, I joined Facebook groups, I left Facebook groups, I talked to people, I saw behaviourists, I read some more, I signed up for courses…..and during all this, as I learned techniques to gradually make our lives easier, I realised that actually this is what I’d wanted to do all my life.
I suspect that if the emphasis in training was still on correction and punishment, I might never have made that connection. However, the current science-based emphasis on positive, non-aversive training makes so much more sense to me.
I am a qualified member of the IMDT and my CPD and training includes:
*Practical Instructor and Dog Trainer courses
*Level 3 Diploma in Learning, Motivation and Reinforcement
* Canine First Aid.
All training with me will use kind, effective techniques in accordance with the ethics of force-free training.
I live on the south coast of Dorset with two Field Spaniels and a very independent cat. As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time walking and training dogs, reading about dogs, studying training methods and generally enjoying anything involving dogs!