When I am asked about my job title / profession I often see surprise register when I explain the above. As a
dog training instructor it's amazing that so many people have a story about a dog known to them. I've yet to
meet anyone who is not interested in how or why I chose this career path. People generally believe it must be
wonderful to do something that I enjoy so much, so I thought perhaps some of you may be interested in what
shaped the person I am into becoming a person who helps people learn how to train their dogs.
I have always loved animals When I was growing up at home we had all the usual household pets, dogs,
cats, rabbits and hamsters. I practically lived at the local stables after school and at week-ends pleading with
my mum and dad for a pony of my own. My dream, like so many young people, was to work with animals
when I grew up - particularly dogs.
After leaving school I attended a pre-nursing course at Stockton & Billingham technical college, my second
career choice actually, as at the same time I was working within a large office complex in Stockton while
supposed to be learning to become a shorthand typist. I guess my key board skills came in handy with the age
of the personal computer!!
I then met my future husband. We made a home together and had a family and I became a stay- at - home
mum for a number of years which I loved, no regrets there. When my young family had grown and started
their senior schools I decided that I would look for some part time employment. I started working at North
Tees Hospital as a health care assistant within a busy out-patients dept; I really enjoyed working in this
environment and working as part of a team. The experience and skills learned over the following 10 years
assisting the consultants along with supporting the patients & families who attended the various clinics, has
given me the ability to understand people as individuals and their future requirements which has proved
invaluable with much of the work I do today
I enjoy working with people as well as dogs.
I'm interested in why the breed of dog was chosen
and the owner's hopes for the future. I've met
some great owners and I've enjoyed helping them
to understand their dog better. I also value the
opportunity that helping them to train their dog
furthers my own understanding of the truly unique
partnerships between people and their dogs.
I started on my route to becoming a dog trainer by taking my first Weimaraner to a dog obedience club at
Redcar for training. After training her to be a well mannered dog in the home I then progressed to competing
with some success in the breed ring, obedience & agility. One evening after finishing training I was approached
by the chairman of the training club to consider becoming the instructor of the pet dog training class. I
remember the evening I first became a solo instructor very well, as six dogs and their respective families all
arrived at 7pm. Just who was the most apprehensive among us I'm not sure, but thankfully we all quickly got
down to the business in hand of educating each of the dogs in class and teaching the owners themselves to
become handlers of well mannered dogs. Our evening progressed well as the group quickly started to learn
and appreciate that every dog and owner in the class was a unique combination with specific needs and
different lifestyles, and I myself started on the biggest learning curve of my life!
I actually remained at the club as their training instructor for a number of years and due to the number of
people who kept coming along with their puppies and older dogs my one training class became two in a short
space of time, I found myself very busy indeed. I quickly learned how to both plan lessons and deliver
practical knowledge in ways that I believed was tailored to the understanding of each individual and
personality concerned within the training class. I particularly enjoyed seeing eyes light up while having a fun
time, and of course returning for more of the same the following week. Unfortunately, like life, things change
and the club had to move to a different venue/area which was further afield so I decided to make enquiries to
find a venue closer to home that could be used for dog training.
In 1999 I found a training hall named Salterslane Community Centre at Stockton. This is very close to where I
actually live, "what bliss", and so I began to run puppy and adult socialising classes. I named this training
establishment The Vale Good Companion Training School and we are happily still running these classes today.
So you see dreams can sometimes come true it's just taken a little longer in my case, but do you know I'm
absolutely fine with this too!