Chief Training Instructor
Fiona originally taught PE in a school in Manchester, before changing career to become a professional classical singer and choral conductor. Although she still teaches, she has swapped her hockey stick and swimming pool for her music and concert platform!
Alongside her professional career, she has continued to study gaining her Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme, Gold examiner Award, so she can now both teach and examine up to the Gold Award. She has enjoyed many dog obedience, agility and Heelwork to Music residential courses, particularly with Mary Ray, a multiple Crufts Obedience Champion and pioneer of Heelwork to Music and Cathy Bates, Crufts Heelwork to Music Finalist.
Always a true lover of dogs, Fiona is great believer in persistence and consistency in training, but most of all having fun with your dog. She currently owns 3 border collies and has taken part in agility, obedience and heelwork to music competitions.
Fiona is very excited about the prospect of working with a wonderful team of fellow dog lovers, in a new dog club, offering basic obedience and a whole lot more, to the dogs of our parks!!
My interest in dogs gained an added dimension when our first Golden Retriever joined the family and my husband suggested I take him to training classes. We both thrived in those, gaining enormously from the experience which, looking back, turned out to be the first step in my becoming an instructor myself.
In roughly twenty years as a volunteer instructor with a local charity, I have been involved in teaching classes from puppies or older beginners to dogs at the Kennel Club Good Citizens Gold level, as well as training the display team and assisting with agility sessions. I have learned so much in those years and there has been much laughter in the midst of quite a lot of hard graft.
Now this new venture is opening up. There will be some different challenges but much with which I am familiar. My hope is that, in the weeks and months ahead, I will be able to help other dog owners understand their companions better and so enjoy them more.
As someone who has never won anything ever, to be the shared owner of a Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold Award with my cockapoo Flossy makes me very happy and exceptionally proud!
Having been a foster parent for many years fostering children from pre-school age to adolescents, I decided it was time for a change I became the manager of a 77 unit retirement housing complex which was very demanding of my managerial skills. Luckily I am now retired enjoying my garden and hopefully starting to grow my own vegetables.
When Flossy came to join us (as a boisterous 9 week old puppy) 4 years ago, my partner John and I decided we wanted the new experience of training her "properly" and so, when she was 12 weeks old our training began.....hers and mine! Little did I know that I would enjoy it so much that in time I would be wanting to pass the numerous tips and tricks which made our training so enjoyable on to others! Flossy is always ready to learn something new and is always happy to spend 10 minutes doing anything from practising our sit and waits to putting her own toys away. We're the ones in the park jumping on and off the boulders, playing hide and seek and jumping over puddles!
For Flossy, having been diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis unfortunately means we do have days where training isn't possible but we certainly make the most of the good days. We know it's so much easier to train our dogs when they're happy so "where there's play, there's a way"! Our mantra has always been if it isn't fun we're not doing it right!
When we're not out, I'm usually working in the garden which we've had to fence off because she's a fantastic digger. Now, if only I could train her to ASK first which plants need digging up!
I spent my working life with horses, training them, looking after them and teaching people to ride them. It was a very hard, dirty physical job, involving working outside in all weathers (great training for dog walking), but I have no regrets at all. It was a hobby I got paid for doing. Latterly I worked as a trainer and an assessor for apprenticeships in horse care and riding and loved that job too.
Over the years I've trained 4 Golden Retrievers which has given me the same buzz as working with and training the horses. My gorgeous Isla, was a rescue who had never been off her lead and was very reactive to other dogs, lunging and barking at them. She was 20 months when we got her and now, at 10 years old, she has her Kennel Club Good Citizens Gold Award and loves life. The reactivity is still there under the skin, but she and I have learned how to control that urge.
My philosophy is never to give up on the difficult dogs because they will teach you so much.
Now it's time to teach people to train their own dogs, a slightly smaller animal than horses, but definitely with the same challenges!
I am an experienced and enthusiastic dog trainer and owner. I’m passionate about our canine friends and have been actively involved, first as an owner and, since 2002, as a volunteer dog trainer.
As part of this role, I have attended numerous workshops and seminars’ that have covered a broad range of topics:
Focus and connection; Multiple dog households; Reactivity; Positive reinforcement; Pet obedience (kennel club standard); First Aid
My aim is to offer a friendly, fun, safe place to train your dogs, using positive techniques that will benefit your dogs to become good citizens in our society.
The day after returning home from honeymoon, many moons ago, my husband and I bought our first Labrador puppy and we have had dogs in our home ever since. I realised quite early on the importance of training correctly and have always taken my puppies to puppy classes.
Having had Labradors almost all my adult life, some 14 years ago we brought our first Border Terrier into our home. Little did I know she would change my life completely. I quickly realised that training a ‘Terrier’ was so different to training Labradors and that intrigued me, I wanted to learn more, in particular the different breed characteristics, how they learn and to understand their needs more.
Since 2011 I have studied animal behaviour and attended various training courses. During my studies I gained the Kennel Club Citizen Dog Scheme, Bronze and Silver Examiner Awards. Since 2014 I have been a volunteer instructor at a couple of training schools.
During this time I have also regularly taken part in Flyball competitively with my two Border Terriers and on a number of occasions taken part in the British Championships.
I believe that training should be fun and a positive experience for both the handler and the puppy. As an instructor it is rewarding to witness the bond grow between handler and puppy and to watch a shy introvert puppy transform into a happy, confident, well rounded adult dog.
I am now just starting a new journey with my latest addition to the pack, another Border Terrier called Audrey. I can’t wait………
I’ve worked in advertising and marketing for 20 years and enjoy both the creative and analytical aspects of my job. In recent years, I started volunteering in my spare time with a food poverty charity and became a Trustee for my local park’s community group. No prizes for guessing which one welcomes dogs!
I grew up with dogs, cats and rabbits at home and then finally, in 2017, I got my own dog called Rose. She’s an English Springer Spaniel who lives up to her breed’s reputation by being equal parts spirited and affectionate. I met her almost as soon as she was born and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
I had no idea what I was doing as a new dog owner so I started taking Rose to training classes as a puppy. I’m now a massive advocate for dog training as it’s had such a positive effect on both of us. I still don’t believe there’s such a thing as the ‘perfect dog’ (or owner!) but I do believe that - with the right training - you can achieve so much together.
When Humphrey the Labradoodle burst into our lives in January 2017 we really didn’t know what had hit us. We’d read the books, bought the equipment and we were off. I’d always had dogs growing up but this was my first experience of bringing a puppy into my own busy family. So boisterous and full of energy, it was clear that we would all benefit from Humphrey knowing the basics so our training journey began. He amazed me and continues to do so, this bouncing, bumptious dog can focus and learn. Most importantly, his tail never stops wagging from the start of a session to the end.
Humphrey loves everything and thrives on training. He completed the Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold Award and we thoroughly enjoyed every step along the way. It was seeing him work so hard and enjoy his training sessions that inspired me to want to become a dog trainer. Training is always positive regardless of what Humphrey and I achieve because I know he will have adored being the focus of my attention and trying his best to please. By becoming a dog trainer I hope to have the opportunity to see other owners enjoy their amazing dogs. For me, if my dog is happy so am I.
When I’m not surrounded by dogs and their owners I’m a Mum to two teenagers and a Burmese cat called Dusty Springfield (and when he gets a look in, a wife to Jonny). I work part time as a lawyer and enjoy reading and cooking.