Morag K Heirs PhD, MSc, MA(hons)(SocSci), PGCAP
Full member APDT UK (01101), full member PPG, provisional member APBC, Registered Animal Training Instructor ABTC, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Animals: Farah (deaf BC), Bronte (deaf + part-blind BC), Freya ("Just" a BC!)
Morag has an extensive academic background in psychology (including how animals, and humans, learn) and evidence-based practice and further qualifications in teaching. Morag ran a successful remedial massage therapy practice for 10 years in Glasgow initially working with humans but later specialising in canine bodywork. Since adopting her first rescue collie in 2004, Morag was catapulted into the world of real-life dog training, and behavioural rehabilitation. Studying with a range of trainers provided the practical skills to reinforce her theoretical knowledge, and Morag has led the team at Well Connected Canine since 2009. Morag is also an Accredited Talking Dogs Scentwork trainer, and a TD Rally Judge.
"I love being able to combine my theoretical and practical skills on a daily basis! Really that’s the most important thing you need to know about me, oh and I love teaching people just as much as I love teaching dogs. As a professional dog trainer and behaviourist my focus is on improving communication between people and their animal companions. I particularly enjoy mentoring new trainers, working with local vet practices to develop low-stress handling protocols, and training animal rescue volunteers to use positive reinforcement plus bodywork to relax the dogs."
Clare Ross (ne Harrison) FdSc, BSc (hons)
Full member APDT UK (01259), full member PPG, student member APBC, Registered Animal Training Instructor ABTC
Animals: Poppy (wocker), Spencer (GSD), Beano (deaf + blind BC), Scout (deaf BC), plus numerous cats, goats, geese and other animals.
Clare has a Foundation Degree in Canine Behaviour and Training, is a qualified agility coach, and will graduate with a BSc in 2015. With a background in rescue work since 2000, Clare has extensive experience working with kennelled dogs and assessing their behaviour. Clare also taught basic obedience classes and provided post-adoption support as part of the Oakwood Dog Rescue team for several years. As an accredited trainer for Talking Dogs Scentwork, she runs workshops and classes alongside Morag.
"Scentwork has played a large role in helping my own two rescue dogs with their behaviour problems. With Beano my deaf and blind Collie it provides metal stimulation and encourages calmness, which in turn helps reduce occurrences of him spinning and tail biting. In my German Shepherd, Spencer, I can see scentwork building his confidence in new places and around things he finds worrying."
Antonia Parkin BSc, RVN
Animals: Belle (working cocker), plus several rabbits and cats
Antonia studied Psychology at Newcastle University before training as a veterinary nurse, and qualifying in 2011. Antonia brings a good grounding of learning theory and human behaviour to her additional qualifications and experience as a veterinary nurse on a busy mixed practice. Antonia has been shadowing the Well Connected Canine team for three years while pursuing her interest in canine behaviour and training.
Antonia is preparing for her APDT UK assessment, and currently assists with our puppy sessions, behaviour rehab clinics and other workshops. Antonia is aiming to study animal behaviour at Masters level with Lincoln Unversity.
"My dog interest began when I started walking rescue dogs for York RSPCA at just six years old! At eleven I got Millie, my black and tan mixed breed superstar and my interest in training and behaviour snowballed! This has been enhanced by Benjie (our three-legged crossbreed) and his all round mischief! I love learning about behaviour, and really value the chance to put the theory into practice with Well Connected Canine."
Sian Baxter (BA hons)
Animals: Moss (staffie) and Romana (Syrian hamster)
Sian has worked in dog rescue for 8 years, gaining invaluable experience with a broad range of dogs as well as working closely with their humans day-to-day. This varied range of experience has helped Sian to develop a patient and flexible approach when teaching classes and private lessons.
She began Scentwork as a means of keeping her rescue dog Jess (a retired working Labrador) out of mischief and giving her busy brain something constructive to do. It wasn't long before they were both completely hooked, and Sian continued to use Scentwork as a fun way to engage with, and enrich the lives of, rescue dogs, foster puppies and even her Syrian Hamster, Romana.
Sian attends workshops, seminars and conferences wherever possible to further her knowledge, and is working towards her APDT assessment.
"I’ve always been interested in working with animals, so after graduating from university I chose to work in dog rescue. I’ve held positions from dog welfare assistant through to assistant manager, and really enjoyed supporting owners after they had adopted a new family member. With Well Connected Canine I can help puppies have the best possible start and help new adopters get to know their rescue dog – it’s the best of both worlds for me!"
Laura is our office manager and usually our first point of contact for anyone who gets in touch with the Well Connected Canine team. She manages our initial enquiries and is responsible for organising the logistics of the work that we do. She has substantial experience in administrating social projects over the last ten years and has a background in social work. Laura works part-time with the team and is currently studying for her Masters Degree in social research.