I have always been interested in dogs and have been lucky to build a career around them. During my professional time as a dog trainer I have continued to work with pet dogs because it’s rewarding to see a dog and its owner overcome difficulties. I now run various dog training classes in and around the Lansdown area of Bath. I am happy to come to your home to give individual training.

Education / courses attended

  • I have an Open University Diploma in Canine psychology and effective training techniques gaining a distinction
  • Dog handling techniques and procedures at Karenswood school of dog training
  • Clicker training for Schutzhund and protection work – 2 day workshop
  • Puppy Character Assessment – learned and inherent traits
  • Practical training in veterinary first aid
  • Affiliate NASDU trainer
  • Member of the Institute of Professional Dog Trainers

Throughout my professional time as a dog trainer I have continued to work with pet dogs partly because people are always asking for help and also because it’s rewarding to see a dog and its owner overcome their difficulties and enjoy a happy relationship.

As well as German Shepherds, over the years I’ve owned a variety of breeds including a Swiss Mountain dog and an awful lot of Collies!  I currently own 6 dogs but at one point we had 7 adult dogs and 13 puppies under our roof!

Years ago I realised that pet dog training was often competition based where dogs were taught to retrieve dumb bells and walk closely to heel but what pet dog owner’s really wanted was to learn how to live with their dog in a relaxed way, to be able to walk their dog on the lead without it pulling and for the dog to come back when called etc.

Becoming a self-employed dog trainer

It was in 1998 that I became a self-employed dog trainer, helping people with problem dogs and working with referrals from local vets.

In 1999 I had a great opportunity to work overseas and became the first civilian in the UK to have trained and worked dogs to carry out Humanitarian landmine clearance in Somalia, firstly for the UN and then for a Danish Demining group.  Whilst I was there I became team leader looking after 6 dogs and two other handlers.

Back in the UK I continued to work with pet dog owners, helping them with behaviour issues.

Since then I have worked for a number of UK companies training Explosive search dogs and Drug search dogs for overseas clients.

I have worked Explosive search dogs at Lords Cricket ground in London and Drug search dogs in many nightclubs throughout the country.

I have trained Arson detection dogs and helped train Urban Disaster dogs for the Malaysian search and rescue service, training the handlers and dogs in the UK and then 7 weeks in Malaysia.

Some time later I wrote and presented a 3 day seminar on THE DOG, how they learn and effective training methods, to 6 Malaysian Training Instructors that I had previously trained as handlers.

In 2007 in was asked to train 3 dogs to detect Explosive Vapours. These are specialist dogs that are trained to detect explosive in airfreight cargo, I had just 3 months to train and have these dog pass a UK government accreditation without any previous knowledge of how to do it. All 3 dogs qualified.

I have since gone on to train more of these dogs, of a variety of different breeds, than anyone else in the county and managed a unit of operational handler and dogs. Many of these dogs were from rescue, Battersea, dogs trust, with major behavioural issues. I just gave them a job to do.

I have also advised the Department for Transport (DFT) about the limitations of the system and better ways of training the dogs – all of which are now being implemented.

I have written and presented a workshop on “Dealing with Dangerous dogs” to the Dog Warden’s Association of Devon and Cornwall.

Quite recently I had a request from MEDICAL DETECTION DOGS to train the first Nut allergy in the UK. A small miniature poodle called NANO. NANO qualified and is now working for his owner, who could go into anaphylactic shock if she ingested any small amount of nut. Nano would check the area around where she was going to sit for contamination and also check her food before she ate.

My early interest in dogs

I have been interested in dogs from a very early age but was never allowed one until in 1982 I bought my first dog when I left home, a German Shepherd called Wiz. I joined a local dog club at Overhills kennels near Bristol and within 6 months became one of the trainers.

I bought another German Shepherd called Rio and it was really with him that I put all my theories about how dogs should be trained into practice. At the age of 5 ½ months he won a local fete obedience competition after a run off with an 18-month-old Rottie where we had to retrieve a dumbbell.

We then went on to compete in Civilian working trials and it was not without its ups and downs, on one occasion I had a problem with his keenness to track – he was going too fast. All the advice that I received from so-say experts was punitive and for me I was not prepared to abuse my dog in order to compete in trials, so I had to find another way and it was during this time that I became really interested in the theory of learning and canine psychology: reading and experimenting with different methods of training.  We got through this glitch and Rio and I went on to win trials and qualify CDx -TD level all before he was 4 years old.

Unfortunately our trial career was cut short when Rio tore his cruciate ligament, which meant that I could not jump him.

To carry on with Rio’s training I started to enter open beginner obedience competitions. We only entered two and we won them both. Rio was the only German Shepherd entered; all the others were Collies whose owners approached me afterwards saying they wished that they could get their Collies to work like Rio. This was very inspiring; I knew then that my methods of training really were working.

From this I had people asking if I would help them with their dogs, they were from working trials, obedience and quite a lot of owners with pet dogs who had behaviour problems.

I carried out one-to-one lessons, home visits, helped with Rehabilitation groups and worked with a local behavioural counsellor all on a part time basis.