Qualifications at a Glance
ADip CBM: Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour Management
ADip FBM: Advanced Diploma in Feline Behaviour Management
KPA-CTP: Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Health and Safety in the Equine Industry
ABTC: Registered with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council
MISAP: Member of the International Society of Animal Professionals
PetPlan Insurance Advisor
Veterinary Nutrition Advisor
Positive Training and Handling in a Supportive Environment
Welcome to Companion Animal Behavioural Services and R+ Dog Training. I am a qualified, professional trainer and behaviourist providing positive reinforcement-based, force-free training that enables people and animals to succeed and learn in a supportive, safe environment.
Whether your dream of having a dog isn’t always matched by the reality, whether you are working to settle a rescue dog or introducing good manners to an excitable puppy, I can help. My training and behavioural services deal with real dogs in real life, from that first walk in the morning to happy grooming and happy vet visits then settling down when you need time for yourself. Together we can find solutions for the dog in your life.
I trained my first dog, my brother’s German Shepherd, when I was 9 years old and “puppy walked” a succession of my siblings’ dogs for several years afterwards. Dog training techniques were based on those used in the military and police. Choke chains were popular and often, the best that dogs could hope for were people rasping commands at them in stern voices. The world has changed almost beyond recognition for people and dogs since then, but tragically, many dogs – and owners – are still being subjected to the kinds of harsh training that were commonplace decades ago.
I know that it doesn’t have to be like this.
Up To Date Knowledge and Skills
As well as holding Advanced Diplomas in Canine and Feline Behaviour, I am very proud to be one of the select few Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners. KPA Certified trainers undergo intensive initial training and pledge to uphold the highest standards throughout their teaching.
I worked in veterinary practice for six years where I gained qualifications in veterinary nutrition for dogs and cats and in pet insurance. I am a KC-qualified show judge, having shown my own dogs, run shows and judged many companion dog shows where I prioritised canine welfare and stress-free handling. I keep my skills up to date with regular professional training, including regular updates on canine-specific legislation. I have been pro-active in participating in several government consultations with the aim that the world should be a better, safer place for dogs and owners and the canine industry regulated.
Dogs have been part of human society for thousands of years. I am committed to helping dogs and humans continue to live together in harmony by providing real world solutions for people who live with real world dogs.
You can read more on my DogsNet website and blog.
It’s not just dogs. Cats are the Johnny Come Latelys to the domestic animal world but they are just as stimulated by, and amenable to training as dogs when taught using force-free methods. Whether it is just for fun or providing a solution to house training, vet visits or grooming or there behavioural problems, I can help.
The Dogs Who Led Me Here
I worked as a professional performer in theatre and television, during which time I owned a cat and several spiders and also worked on and off with horses. It was while reading for an MA that I inherited Maly, an 11 year old collie-shepherd when a friend, who had lived in an abusive relationship, died. He went on, not only to get over his many fears, but to qualify for the final of the Kennel Club Scruffts competition and become Your Dog Magazine Golden Oldie
He was that very special companion, the dog of my life.
Maly died at 16 years old and I knew that I needed a challenge to fill the yawning gap that he left. Well, I certainly got it! Vadim was handed over to me in very poor condition as “untrainable”. We managed to prove everyone wrong and he not only took his Kennel Club Good Citizens exams but was a Pets As Therapy Volunteer and a blood donor for the Pet Blood Bank, going on to win their inaugural Bramble Craddock Award. He also earned an embarrassing amount of winning places including prestigious Best In Show awards in the show ring. It was quite a journey for both of us.
I need also to pay tribute to Humphrey and the unparalleled generosity of his owners in lending him to me for eighteen months. Vadim died the night before I was accepted onto the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Trainer course and Humphrey, then just seven months old, became my training partner for the duration. It was a tough few months with early starts and evening sessions during the week and intense work at weekends when I wasn’t concentrating on the written work.
Humphrey took it all in his stride and his owners provided practical and emotional support above and beyond any expectations that I had at the outset. Sadly for me, they moved recently, but we are of course still in touch and the legacy remains in the pride with which I acknowledge their contribution to my professional development.
I am now awaiting the arrival of a puppy and another series of adventures and, in the meantime, helping as many dogs and people as I can to live in harmony.
The relationship between people and their animals is continually changing as the world around us changes. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, so contact me and together we can help your dog and/or cat to live the most fulfilling life possible.