Head Trainer & Behaviourist
BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare (2009)
Memberships & Associations:
Full Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT, UK) #01333
Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC) Registered Animal Training Instructor
Dogs Helping Kids Approved Trainer #006
Qualifications & Experience
My interest for dogs and their behaviour and training came very early on in my childhood; I was absolutely fascinated with Dr Dolittle and how he was able to 'talk with the animals'. This led me on an animal based academic career, starting off at Cannington Centre (Bridgwater College) where I obtained a BTEC National Diploma in Animal Management in 2006. From there, I went on to complete a BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare at Hartpury College (UWE) in 2009. A large part of my five year career as a student was to research and understand animal behaviour and I found the relationship between human and animal truly fascinating.
After university ended, I took an office job to have a break from my animal studies - this was short lived! In 2011 I applied to Gwen Bailey's Puppy School and became a fully fledged Pupy School Tutor in 2012. To become a Puppy School Tutor, I had to attend many training weekends which were personally taught by world renowned behaviourist and trainer, Gwen Bailey, as well as complete an extensive correspondence course. Puppy School was my gateway into the wonderful world of dogs and I have been a dog training instructor and behaviourist ever since! I taught Puppy School classes in Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset.
I retired from Puppy School in 2014 due to having my first child and wanting my work to be closer to home. To kick start my business, After taking some time out, I kick started Tricky Paws again in 2016 and moved HQ to my hometowns of Highbridge and Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset. To ensure I was up-to-date with my training methods and handling skills, I completed both the 2 Day Career as a Dog Trainer and 4 Day Practical Instructor course (2016) which we personally tutored by renowned dog trainer, Steve Mann, founder of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT). Since then, I have been on countless courses, seminars, webinars, workshops and conferences and continue to complete CPD every year. Once you think you know it all, it is time to stop working in the industry you are in!
Throughout my career, I have worked with hundreds of people and their beautiful dogs. I have helped owners who have never owned a puppy before to owners who have had dogs all their life but have suddenly found themselves with a dog that has baffled them. I have worked alongside vets, pet shops and dog walkers, as well as learnt from the best in the field of dog training and behaviour. However, the very best teacher of them all was my beautiful rescue Rottweiler, Rhu Bear. For Rhu's Story, please check out my blog.
I truly believe that One needs to be the very best they can be, especially when working with dogs and their humans, so I make it my mission to never stop learning. In 2018 I became a full member of the prestigious Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT, UK) and in 2019 I was also accepted as an Approved Trainer for the most incredible charity, Dogs Helping Kids.
World renowned and highly reputable professionals I have been lucky enough to work with and/or learn from include (but this isn't an exhaustive list!): Sian Ryan, Dr Anne McBride, Dr John Bradshaw, Tracey Berridge, Steve Mann, Gwen Bailey, Grisha Stewart, David Ryan, Elizabeth Kershaw, Sarah Fisher, Nando Brown, Dr Nick Thompson, Dr Ian Dunbar and so many more!
Conferences I have been lucky enough to attend (and will continue to attend) include the annual APBC conference (four attended), Chirag Patel's WOOF! Conference (2019) and the annual Dogs Helping Kids conference (two attended).
A bit more about me (aside from dogs)
Outside of my absolutely incredible job, I am a mum of two wonderful children (Greta & Margot), two guinea pigs (Badger & Gulliver), two rats (Princes Twilight & Queen Guinevere) and a tank full of cold water fish, to include my very old Wetherloach, Big Bad Barry (I adopted him in 2008 and he is still going strong!).
Since having my two children, my time has become very limited and unfortunately, like most parents, I have had to give up many of my hobbies, such as horse riding and being an active member of the local carnival committee. A bit of a geek at heart, I now spend a small fraction of my time playing D&D.. with my other 'hobbies' consisting of cleaning my house and drinking rose wine!
Unfortunately, I suffer with the after effects of a condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I contracted the illness when I was only seven years old and it has had a major impact on my life. The illness has left me blind in my right eye and partially sighted in my left. Despite this, I am determined to do as much as I can to help my community and my clients, and to provide the best service I possibly can.