We always had animals at home from birds to guinea pigs, cats and dogs. So I new that I always wanted to work with animals in some way or another. I got into dog training a few years ago when we got our current companion Doug from a rescue centre. They didn't have any information about him other than he was found wondering round a local park. They guessed he was about 4-5 years old, didn't really play with toys and was friendly. He's an amazing boy, however we soon found out that (at times) he didn't like other dogs. He would lunge, bark and pull towards other dogs. I'd never had any dog that had done this before. It was embarrassing, I didn't know what to do so resorted to avoidance tactics. I would go out at different times to try and avoid other people, just like everyone else. On the other side though we found out that he had separation related issues when we did go out. He would bark and destroy items around the house. I remember one time we came home and he had eaten a box of Quality Street that was in my daughters room, papers and all. So we had to put locks on all of the doors when we left. I searched the internet for different things that were recommended to address this.
That was the moment when I decided to become a dog trainer and do the best that I could for him and to help other dog owners or guardians who're in the same situation that I was. I started looking for training material on the internet, this was at the time the time where lots of famous celebrity trainers where on TV. I wasn't comfortable with some of the techniques that they used, so I started to study positive reinforcement training techniques. I gravitated towards Victoria Stillwell, her style and knowledge inspired me so much I enrolled in the Victoria Stillwell Academy and passed with distinction. Having first hand experience of dealing with a reactive dog, I understand what it's like to be in that situation, which has developed into a passion to help others overcome the challenges of living with a reactive dog. I'm a Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer with Julie Naismith and currently have the privilege of being part of Janet Finlay's mentorship programme.