my approach to training and behaviour
I believe that by meeting our dog's natural needs, establishing good communication and mutually beneficial structure, we can live comfortable and peacefully alongside our animals. Building good relationships requires trust, empathy and responsibility.
All of my training is based on enhancing the relationship between canine and guardian, is non-confrontational and uses the most up-to-date methods. I continue to study both practical training methods and theory, and am committed to using approaches which conform to the APDT criteria of being kind, fair and effective.
I have both an Honours and a Masters degree in Psychology which provides me with a sound understanding of the underlying science of dog training, as well as how humans think and learn. I am currently studying for my Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice with the University of York - which covers teaching (humans!) in higher education.
I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (MAPDT 01101) and a provisional member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC). These are my professional organisations which require me to attend seminars and training courses on a yearly basis to update my knowledge, and conform to their codes of practice.
As many other trainers, my first experiences with dogs started in the family home where I grew up with a variety of dogs from the badly treated rescue mix who was fiercely protective of our family, through to the border collie Coire who excelled as a search and rescue dog in the Scottish Highlands under my dad’s handling.
I adopted my first dog when I was 22 years old, a border collie from the SSPCA whom you can read about here. Finn catapulted me into the world of real-life dog training, and behavioural rehabilitation. Around this time I also began working as a volunteer for several rescue organisations as a transporter, home visitor and fundraiser.
I started to attend training classes with the City of Glasgow Dog Training Club, and also assisted with a small group based in Hamilton, near Glasgow. After moving to York I attended classes and then became an assistant trainer with the Tailwagger Club based in Leeds between 2007 and 2009. During this time I completed their Trainer Development Programme under the supervision of Angela Lowrie (MAPDT #00752).
I have attended workshops and courses with some truly amazing trainers and behaviourists including: Barbara Sykes (Border Collie specialist), Janet Finlay (TTouch Practitioner II), Sarah Fisher and Robyn Hood (Tilley Farm, TTouch practitioner training), David Ryan (chairman of the APBC), Patricia McConnell PhD (author of The Other End of The Leash and other books), and many more!