I’m Vicky and I help committed dog owners to live and interact more harmoniously with their dogs. My goal is to support every life stage of your canine companion.
I provide dog owners with the understanding and skills required to successfully reinforce desirable behaviours, so you are able to pursue a more fulfilled and safe lifestyle with your family and dog.
Changing habits takes time and commitment so I ask all my clients to make time for the daily training work needed to modify unwanted behaviours. I'm here to provide clients with professional advice, coaching and mentorship programs, setting you and your dog up for success whilst supporting every life stage of your canine companions.
If your dog’s behaviour has become confusing, relentless and exhausting it’s all too common to begin comparing yourself to others. Dog owners often experience guilt, failure, loss of confidence, social anxiety, embarrassment, or even grief as a result of unfulfilled expectations.
I'm here to help you!
I offer bespoke dog training and behaviour modification programs that promote trust between dogs and their care-givers. Fun and ethical training is proven to build strong bonds of trust and cooperation, enabling you to both grow your dog’s confidence and gain their attention and focus.
Every training plan is unique, featuring positive reinforcement, play, mental and physical enrichment, and bespoke control and management solutions that promote more positive emotional well-being for all parties.
Working with me
I've gained first hand experience of the fall-out associated with punishment based training and dogs lacking any formal reinforcement based learning opportunities.
"The animal is never wrong. You get what you reinforce". Dr Susan Friedman.
My focus is on the early prevention of unwanted behaviours, specifically teaching owners how to consistently reward and encourage desirable habits during the first few weeks of training their new puppy or rescue dog. Thankfully, dull and coercive training regimes have been proven ineffective and we now have a wealth of fun, play based training activities which can be equally exciting for owners and dogs.
Working with dogs has taught me what a huge impact (positive or negative) trainer’s can have on the lives of people and their dogs. I will provide you with an honest and ethical service, with all the support and information needed to better understand and appreciate your dog. I'm passionate about working to positively change the emotional well-being of both dogs and people, as this is one of the most fulfilling aspects of making progress with any animal’s behaviour change.
I once believed that owning and living with Dobermanns, Dachshunds, Terriers, Greyhounds and Bull breeds for several decades made me an experienced and knowledgeable dog owner. Then several years ago, I adopted a three year old English Bull Terrier, called Lumin. Two years later, I began to experience problems I struggled to comprehend, manage or solve.
Lumin was often challenging and embarrassing due to her poor early socialisation with other dogs. She looked tough and confident to my untrained eye, so I easily missed many of the early warning flags of her stress and anxiety around other dogs. I misinterpreted both her fear of unknown dogs and her latter onset of "predatory drift" as symptoms of aggression, typical of this ‘fighting’ breed who ‘live to bite’. I had no idea of the real time benefits of training, expecting my dog to always follow my bidding out of without adequate training foundations or rewards.
At a loss to solve some fairly serious behavioural problems, I sought professional help much later than I could have. I began meeting and talking with local and international dog trainers and behaviourists. I wanted these experts to give me all the answers, expecting them to quickly show me how to fix my dog’s challenging and upsetting behaviours in public. I anticipated reading several books before discovering how to fix and control my dog again!
I just needed to know how to communicate effectively with my dog, how to read her body language fast enough to get her out of trouble. As I set off on my dog training journey, I anticipated being an expert in no time at all. Quickly, I became confused by all the 'whats', 'whys' and 'hows' of retraining my dog and venturing out safely once again. There was so much conflicting advice and none of it was easy to pursue alone. Some of it was plain cruel and made no sense to me.
No doubt, some of you will relate to these puzzling and contradictory exposures to the dog training world. With the era of finding free training advice online, from a huge variety of unknown sources, it’s even more likely that you will find yourself beset with conflicting advice. I struggled to know who to believe and what information to access or trust.
Several years on, I've become increasingly fascinated by the world of reinforcement based animal training and canine behaviour. I’ve enjoyed thousands of hours of study, working with and learning from dogs in rescue and training classes, attending workshops and seminars with dog ‘experts’ from across the world. I've spent thousands of pounds gaining this practical and theoretical knowledge so that you don’t have to do the same to resolve your own problems!
I’ve been inspired to set up my business to provide you with all the snippets of knowledge you need to succeed with your own unique canine partnerships. We live in a challenging modern era, where the increasingly complex needs of many irresponsibly bred and imported dogs is making it harder than ever for people to fit their dog’s needs within their own very busy lives.
I am committed working alongside and supporting clients who live with dogs experiencing trust issues, low confidence, poor social skills, stress, anxiety, phobias or trauma. You will be professionally coached, mentored and supported, without any judgement, risky guesswork or ‘one size fits all’ training agendas.
I’m currently offering new clients a free twenty minute discovery telephone call to more fully discuss all of your needs and objectives.
If you’re looking for effective, long-term solutions for your dog’s behaviour, please contact me on the link below.
My Training Methods
I only use kind and consensual (fear-free) training methodologies, all of which are fully endorsed by the organisations I am registered and accredited with. My training protocols are guided by modern, science based principles and reward based techniques that are proven to be effective, ethical and fun for owners and their dogs.
By incorporating play, choice and control within a safe and enriching training experience, you will develop more powerful connections with your dog. This builds stronger bonds of trust and more healthy relationships at home and out in public. Strong relationship foundations are fundamental to simplifying your dog’s training success. They also raise the emotional well-being of all parties, ultimately speeding up the process of behaviour change.
“Our goal is not merely to change behaviour; it is to change how the dog is feeling.
When your dog is feeling functional, he will behave functionally”.
For behaviour cases, I like to work in collaboration with your vet so we can be sure there are no medical causes driving unwanted behaviours. I will request an initial consultation with you, to acquire accurate information before we begin any behaviour modification work. I will listen to your needs empathetically whilst working to achieve realistic goals. I will learn about your dog's specific needs and desires, in order to teach you how to use these to reward and reinforce desirable behaviours.
I will never make you feel embarrassed, judged or ashamed nor will I ever blame your dog for their behaviour. I will never physically or verbally intimidate or use force to attempt to suppress any animal’s behaviour. Nor do I promote the use of equipment that may cause pain or fear.
Should I ever believe that you or your dog requires more specialist behavioural support than I am able to provide, I will support you whilst your case is referred onto the most suitable person for the job.
All fees are payable in advance of the training or behaviour session. Fees are non-refundable except under extenuating circumstances. Please give 48-hours’ notice if you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. Appointments can only be rescheduled once before the full charge will apply.
My Knowledge and Skills
I am an accredited member of The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT), a professional member of The Pet Professional Network, and a student member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC).
As such, I uphold the following professional standards:
I hold full public liability and professional indemnity insurance
I have an enhanced DBS check
I am a qualified human and canine first aider
I am currently working towards completion of a Level 5 Canine Behaviour Diploma with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDTB). I am also working on a Level 1 Animal Centred Education (ACE) Freework Training with Sarah Fisher and an Applied Ethology 'Family Dog Mediation' qualification with Kim Brophy.
I am qualified with the Open College Network (OCN London) to Level 3 and 4 with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers and am a Complete Canine Wellness Practitioner through Dr Isla Fishburn. I’ve attended Dr Amber Batson’s incredible six day Puppy Power seminar. I’ve also attended and gained certification for training, behaviour, puppy, rescue and scent-work courses via the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers, the School of Canine Science and the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.