Kennel Club Accredited Instructor of the Year winner announced at Crufts

Jo Crawford from Uckfield, East Sussex has been awarded The Kennel Club Accredited Instructor of the Year award as part of the Accredited Instructor Awards ceremony which took place at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, on Saturday 11 March.

The awards recognise inspirational dog training instructors who have made a positive difference to the lives of owners and their dogs. Jo was nominated by family, friends and clients, in recognition of her work in understanding how to teach other people to reward dogs for the right behaviours through her in-depth understanding of dog behaviour to create a positive and optimistic learning environment for both dogs and their owners. Jo’s methods go beyond teaching owners how to train their dog, but also how to truly understand their dog and build a stronger relationship.

An owner of two English Springer Spaniels, Tollo and Zephyr, and a former RSPCA Inspector, Jo is passionate about dog welfare and has always enjoyed training them. Jo began by studying behaviour and acquired a Distinction in her Level 3 and Level 5 Diplomas in Companion Animal Training and Behaviour (DipCABT). Jo underwent an assessment and was accepted to become a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor in 2020. Jo is also a qualified instructor for Scentwork UK and enjoys taking part in Gundog activities and scent detection with her own dogs.

In addition to the award, Jo was also presented with a £500 donation from The Kennel Club Educational Trust in order to further her involvement with dogs.

Speaking on her role as a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Jo said: “The Kennel Club is recognised throughout the world as being at the forefront of dog breeding and training and has engendered trust among the dog-owning population.

“As an educated, professional trainer of many years, I feel that in the advent of the recent boom in unqualified and uneducated ‘trainers’ it is really important for the public to be able to recognise and trust that the trainer they are working with has been properly educated, vetted and verified and is going to use positive, reward-based methods with their puppy or dog. The KCAI standards engender confidence in dog owners.”

The purpose of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructor scheme is to recognise and promote experienced and competent dog training instructors who are committed to using dog training methods which are based on the principles of kindness, fairness and the good welfare of dogs. The scheme offers its members the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised vocational accreditation award, based on standards set by The Kennel Club. It is the first and only scheme for dog training instructors and canine behaviourists that has achieved programme accreditation from City & Guilds, a globally-recognised benchmark of quality

This year’s judging panel included Angela White, Accredited Instructors scheme Vice Chair, Janine Beacher, representative from City and Guilds and Vanessa McAlpine, Events Executive at The Kennel Club.

David Phillips, Managing Director at City & Guilds, said: “We are a nation of dog lovers and it’s important that we hold high standards of animal welfare and professionalism in the canine industry whilst also recognising and accrediting people’s skills in this area. We’re proud to continue our ongoing relationship with The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors scheme and would like to congratulate all of this year’s award nominees.”

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Many congratulations to Jo for winning this prestigious title. Reading through the many positive nominations Jo received made it evident how she exemplifies the standards of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructor scheme. The Kennel Club is very thankful for the valuable work she continues to do to for both dogs and their owners.

“Well done to all those members that received well-deserved nominations this year. All members of the scheme should be incredibly proud of their ongoing work and for sharing their specialist knowledge and practical experience.”

For further information on The Kennel Club Accredited Instructor scheme, please visit this page.

Crufts takes place from 9-12 March 2023 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information and results from the show, visit the Crufts website.