When and how did you got into dog training?
Dogs have always been a part of my family home. Aged 14 I began volunteering in a rescue centre and started a Veterinary nursing trainee job in 1996, qualifying as a Veterinary Nurse in 2000. I developed in branch puppy classes and achieved The Kennel Club Good Citizens Dog Scheme listed status. I attended various courses and volunteered to shadow other trainers in order to enhance my own skills. I became the single point of contact at the Veterinary practice for behaviour / training queries and support, running classes and 121 consultations. This developed into my current role running Little Orchard Dog Training Academy.
What do you like the most about dog training?
I most enjoy watching a dog develop and progress at any level, no matter how great or small the achievement. I’m passionate about dogs and their physical and mental wellbeing and enjoy learning alongside them as I feel they’re the best teachers. I’m always developing my methods and techniques, including designing my own companion courses to progress handlers and their dogs after they have achieved their current course goals. This ensures that the dogs keep working and the bond continues to grow.
How long have you been part of the KCAI scheme?
I have supported the KCAI scheme and its objectives for many years, signing up to the scheme over 10 years ago. I began studying, attending courses and completing the modules but like many, life intervened and I paused my application. I continued to develop my skills and completed projects, knowing they would form part of my application. In 2014 with the help and encouragement of my mentor, Gina Pink, I completed my modules and achieved my Accreditation in Companion Dog Training at Advanced Level. I hope to add KC Rally to my accreditation list in 2017.
Why are you a member of the KCAI Scheme?
The KCAI scheme is widely respected across my industry, recognising trainer’s ability to teach whilst being supported by the Kennel Club. I joined to develop my skills and knowledge in Companion Dog Training whilst identifying any areas of training that I could improve. It recognises the trainer's individual ability to conduct their role. I am very proud to have achieved Advanced level accreditation in Companion Dog training. I enjoy being part of the scheme, sharing ideas, attending the teach and learn events and I support the code of conduct throughout my training services.
What would you say your biggest achievements in your career so far have been?
My biggest career achievements to date have been:
Developing once-a-week Veterinary practice puppy classes into my Dog training and behaviour business.
Achieving advanced KCAI alongside my Good Citizens Scheme examiners awards at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.
Writing, delivering and teaching Continued Professional Development (CPD) modules based around dogs and training to Veterinary nurses, Veterinary surgeons and Veterinary students.
Being runner-up in The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Club of the Year.
Being asked to lead the 2017 dog practical teaching elements at Langford University.
Developing my knowledge of KC Rally and starting a listed status club.
Any work that you do with or for dogs, in addition to dog training instructing?
I have two PAT dogs and regularly attend local schools for reading. I’ve also developed a program promoting safety around dogs, presented at no charge in schools and community groups. Children have opportunities to interact with dogs. This extends to classroom tasks. Last year I led a Dog themed fund raising project for Bristol children’s hospital raising £2000 to purchase a sensory support for A&E. I also assist re-homing working dogs and run Dog First-Aid Courses. I work with local Vet practices at open days and dog shows to judge, providing training advice and demonstrations.
Do you own a dog yourself and if so its name/breed?
Within our household we have 6 dogs jointly owned between my husband and myself.
Narla (8 years old), Ru (10 years old), Olive (5 years old) and Brae (6 months old) are our family of Working Golden Retrievers. Narla, Ru and Olive are teaching dogs at the Langford Veterinary School and Narla and Olive are also registered as Pets As Therapy dogs.
Skye (5 years old) is a Working Sheepdog and Woody (2 years old) is a Welsh Collie.