Training Philosophy

I firmly believe that training should be based on motivational, reward based techniques which develop and strengthen the relationship between dog and handler. 

15 - 20 years ago, dog training was a very different world, it is no longer necessary, nor acceptable to use harsh, painful, or intimidating methods in order to train our dogs, despite what some people (and television personalities) would have you believe.  

In both general training and behaviour modification cases, I employ effective, motivational methods which allow your dog to learn appropriate behaviours and responses to situations.  The training works by rewarding your dog when he does something right, instead of "punishing" him when he does something wrong.  The result is a dog that will happily do as you ask in anticipation of a reward, rather than in fear of what will happen if he doesn't.

This is not to say that punishment is not necessary.  As David Ryan says, "punishment is a fact of life".  However (and it is a BIG "HOWEVER"…), punishment should only exist in the form of the withdrawal or with-holding of something the dog wants, such as treats, or attention.  Research has shown consistently that using harsh, painful or fear inducing "punishment" in training can actually cause a whole range of behaviour problems including aggression.

Qualifications & Experience

In 2013 I achieved my BSc (Hons) Applied Animal Behaviour & Training hold my FdSc in Canine Behaviour & Training, both attained at Bishop Burton College & the University of Hull.  During my studies I have trained my own dog to perform as an assistance dog and also trained her in scent / tracking work.

I have several years experience training dogs professionally.  I currently work as an Aftercare Trainer with Canine Partners, supporting the working Assistance Dog partnerships throughout Scotland.  In this role, I support partnerships to train new and complex assistance tasks and behaviours for their Assistance Dogs and troubleshoot any training or behaviour problems that may arise during their partnership.  This role has definitely taught me to be creative and adaptable in my training.
Previous to this, I worked as a trainer with Glasgow Dog Training Club for around 4 years.  During this time, I worked with some excellent trainers andhave encountered and dealt with most training and behaviour problems you could imagine.  Teaching classes from puppy through to advanced level, as well as gaining a wealth of experience in training a wide variety of breeds. 

New research is constantly evolving the training world and new methods and techniques are being developed all the time.  I strive to keep myself up to date with current developments in the field and regularly attend seminars and courses run by the leading experts in their disciplines.  

My Dogs

At present I have one beautiful dog, a retired Canine Partner called Holly.  Holly was was retired on health grounds and now enjoys the quiet life.

My previous dog was a Border Collie x Black Labrador called Mirren.  She was all the proof I needed that there is no truth to the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".  She was 9 when I began my studies and throughout this time, mastered several Assistance Dog tasks and became quite proficient at scent detection work..  She was 15 when we lost her and we still miss her.