My Dog Training Journey so far…..
It all started when…
My Dad decided he wanted to purchase a border collie. He had always wanted one when he was growing up and now he had a bit of time on his hands, it was perfect timing. We got Archie from a reputable breeder and wow what an amazing family dog he is. Soft as muck and a real teddy bear!
Your probably thinking i got into dog training because I had a border collie that I taught lots of fancy tricks and agility to right?………. Unfortunately that is far from the truth. When Archie was approximately 6 months old he got attacked by another dog. The dog grabbed hold of him, dragged him away from us across a field and didn’t let go until Archie “played dead”. The situation was horrific and we were distraught our little pup had experienced this. He had puncture wounds all around his neck but the physical damage was only the tip of the iceberg. Poor Archie suffered from emotional damage which turned him into Tasmanian devil every time he saw a dog. He would spin, lunge, bark and just looked like the most aggressive dog you could think of. We of course was very upset by this because at home he was just the most loving dog you could think of and got on great with our other little dog (Jasper, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel).
We went to the vets for guidance, they recommended we castrated him and if that doesn’t help to then go see a trainer. Castration only made it worse so we went to a trainer that was recommended to us that was experienced with border collies. Their advice was to shake a metal can with stones in it any time he displayed the aggression towards dogs. This scared the life out of poor Archie (who is now very sound sensitive, which i believe is due to this) but it did of course stop him when he started lunging. I was only 17 and wasn’t brave enough to speak up in front of that trainer but as soon as we got in the car I voiced my opinions of not liking this so called training method. Luckily my parents agreed and didn’t use the technique. This put us off from going to another trainer so for nearly a year my dad (I was away travelling) just tried to walk him where there was no other dogs and just hang on tight if he did see one…. Not ideal.
Whilst I was away I spent time reading up on Archie’s behaviour problem and discovered this was a huge topic and something I was really enjoying researching. This led to me deciding to study Animal Behaviour and Training at University.
Whilst at University I began to learn a lot about positive reinforcement training and how it can be used to change an animal’s behaviour if used correctly. I then met an amazing lady who I am lucky enough to still be in contact with today, Gill Williams. She is the owner of Oakwood Canine Services and Oakwood Dog Rescue in Hull. She came in to do some lecturing for the University and it was her that gave me some great advice on how to help Archie and I was so pleased I saw results quite quickly.
I then started volunteering for Gill because I was so keen to learn more and I was then very lucky when she offered me a job when I left University. It was during this time I really learnt about dog behaviour because part of my role was to assess the dogs coming into rescue and then matching them up with the ideal person on the waiting list for adoption. I skill I got very strong at and one I will never forget. Part of my job now is assessing pet owner’s dog’s behaviour when I initially meet them. I feel my years of working in rescue has given me the practical skills to feel comfortable working with aggressive and anxious dogs.
Gill then very kindly supported me whilst I set up Quality Canines as I felt the area I lived in was missing a dog trainer that could help dog owners with more complicated behaviours other than just obedience. My aim when I set up Quality Canines was to provide dog owners with the support they need so they don’t feel isolated with their dog and to provide them with the knowledge to help change their dog’s behaviour. Not only did I want happier owners with their now happier dogs but I wanted to reduce the number of dogs going into rescue in our area due to behaviour problems. This is still my core aim today.
Quality Canines has been running for over 5 years now and during this time I have taught animal behaviour and training to Level 3 students at Lincoln College. I competed for the Trainer of The Year title in 2018 at Battersea dogs home in London and came 3rd against 25 trainers. I have also spent a year working for an assistance dog charity training puppies to become successful assistant dogs. But the biggest achievement of all is the 100s of dogs I have helped rehabilitate so they no longer feel fearful or show signs of aggression. Check out the testimonials page to hear some of the stories.
Don’t worry I haven’t forgot chip’s story. This special boy needs his own page! I’ll write it soon!
Certifications & Achievements
Awarded Dog Trainer of the Year at the Great Battersea Train Off 2019
BSc (Hons) Applied Animal Behaviour & Training (First Class)
3rd in Dog Trainer of the Year, 2018 at Battersea Dog & Cat Rescue, London.
Approved Instructor with the Dog Training College
Professional Member of the Pet Professional Network
Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training
Emergency Canine First Aid
Insured with Petplan business sanctuary
Courses i’ve attended
Canine Body Language with the Dog training College; May, 2019
Reactivity & Aggression - Dispelling the Myths with Kamal Fernandez, Feb 2019.
Rethinking Puppy Training and Socialisation with Chirag Patel; Nov, 2018
Understanding, Managing and Modifying Problem Behaviours with Chirag Patel; Nov, 2018
Interactive Play and Impulse Control with Craig Ogilvie; Oct, 2018
Canine Nutrition & Feeding with Jacqueline Boyd; Oct, 2018
Giving Training Back to the Animals with Chirag Patel; Jan, 2018
Agility Training for Trainers, Level 2 with Kim Hunt; Oct 2016.
Agility Training for Trainers, Level 1 with Kim Hunt; Sept, 2014.
A Study Guide to Resource Guarding & Dog-Dog Interactions with Sue Sternberg; Oct, 2013.