I’ve always had a passion for animals and the opportunity to have my own dogs was one I had been looking forward to for years. When I got Timon and Pumba I had no idea what I was getting my into. I made nearly every mistake in the book when it comes to buying a puppy so a lot of my training has focused on fixing rather than preventing things when it comes to my own dogs.
Fortunately, I turned out to be quite good at fixing behaviours and I became a fully qualified dog trainer with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT). Since then I’ve attended numerous courses and have received my undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Reading as well as becoming a qualified tracking instructor with the UK College of Scent Detection (UKCSD). My desire to learn continuously has led me to start a masters in clinical animal behaviour at the University of Edinburgh in September 2019.
Because I have spent much of my life with my own dogs fixing undesirable behaviours, my puppy classes focus on preventing any problem behaviours from developing in the first place. In addition, I am skilled and experienced in fixing problems like pulling on the lead, jumping up, lack of a recall and more serious behaviour issues such as aggression towards other dogs and people. I love helping clients through any problem they are experiencing, whether it’s working to help shape the perfect puppy for you or if the dog is a bit older and their behaviour is causing you some concern.
I never judge my clients for the issues they face with their dogs – chances are I’ve had the same problem myself! No problem is too big or small and I am committed that any training I do with humans or people is to be as stress free as possible so that it’s an enjoyable experience. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about me or any of the methods I use to train.
Pumba is a 6 year old Patterdale terrier who I’ve owned since he was a puppy. He’s been an incredibly challenging dog to work with as he has incredibly strong prey drive which means getting his attention out and about in the country has at points been impossible. Due to bad experiences, he’s also afraid of children and men.
Pumba is the reason I’m so passionate about remedial life skills training as I know how important training loose lead walking and fixing his recall have been to our day to day lives. We’ve also done extensive behaviour modification in the form of counterconditioning, desensitisation and shaping to help him overcome his fear of men and children. For fun, Pumba and I do a lot of trick training, parkour, tracking, obedience and agility. He currently has his novice trick title and we are working towards our TEAM (Training Excellence Award Modules), parkour, GRC (Gameness, Relationship, Control), rally, agility and obedience titles.
Pumba also suffers from a long term skin conditions which means he needs regular medication in the form of an injection. In order to minimise the stress of these injections we’ve worked really hard on our cooperative care and making the vets a fun place to be. Pumba is now able to have injections without any restraint or force whatsoever and as a result absolutely loves his monthly vet visits!
Timon is Pumba’s brother from the same litter. He’s also a challenging dog but in very different ways from Pumba! Timon’s prey drive is much less extreme and as a result he’s easier to own day to day and simply take for walks. He does however go from 0-100 in seconds which has been a challenge to learn to channel and control into desirable outlets. Anything remotely overexciting leads to him jumping up (he can reach my face!) and snapping his mouth. He never intends to bite but he can occasionally catch you in the process and boy does it hurt!
Timon is a lovely affectionate dog in the house but he was just born and bit old and grumpy and tends to prefer life without the existence of other dogs and children.
Timon is such a fun dog to try new things with. We used to struggle with our training if any form of pressure to succeed was placed on it so his training has been much more chilled out and relaxed than Pumba’s. Despite this, we are working on tracking, obedience, rally, parkour (his favourite!), GRC, TEAM and we do small bits of agility here and there when he’s not too excited about life.
Timon is absolutely petrified of the vets and this is something we have been working on for a long time. At the moment we’re working on consensual handling at home and a gradual desensitisation of the vet’s office. He’s improved hugely in that he used to scream in the car when we pulled into the vet’s car park. He can now go in the clinic, sit on the scales and do tricks for me on the table. He’s still very wary of any staff approaching him whilst he’s there and this is something that we continue to work on. I’m hugely passionate about teaching Timon that the vets is an okay place to be and reducing his stress there. Going to the vets with your dog when they’re ill or in pain is bad enough and if we can make the vets a happy occasion for him then it’ll be that much easier for everyone involved.