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Before joining Dogs Trust in 2014 Kirsty worked as a horse riding instructor for 10 years, teaching young children and adults from beginners level right through to experienced level. Not only did Kirsty thrive on sharing her knowledge and helping people reach their personal goals, but she also adopted her handsome late horse Blue, who not only kept her company 7 days a week but also came to work with her and helped her teach!
Kirsty started working as a ‘Canine Carer’ for the Dogs Trust in April 2014 when the new Essex rehoming centre. Here she worked her way up to ‘Trainer’ on the Training and Behavioural team, where she could concentrate on helping the dogs that required more support and training before finding their forever homes. During this time Kirsty loved seeing the difference in the dogs she was helping, but also the canine carers she was teaching new skills to and supporting. Again Kirsty couldn’t work with animals without adopting! She has a huge soft spot for bull breeds and within her first few months adopted Buddy a Staffie x Frenchie (x chunk!!), she was his 4th owner at only 11 months old. Less than 2 years later she ‘fostered’ an emaciated Frenchie Dexter (Lil DD) who she’s never taken back, he is now also a chunk and loves his big bro to pieces! Despite always expecting her 3rd adoption to be a Mastiff, those that have worked with her have their bets it will be a rescue chihuahua as they unexpectedly always won her over at the centre!
Before moving to Dog School Kirsty spent a lot of her time in 1-2-1’s with owners that had adopted a dog from Dogs Trust but needed further support and help with training and behaviour. Kirsty felt a huge amount of satisfaction seeing how she was helping owners not only bond with their new 4 legged family member, but also helping them to understand each other better and overcome training difficulties together. This lead her to becoming a Senior Coach for Dog School London where she helped lots of dog’s and owners better understand each other, benefits of positive training, dog body language and how to give their dogs an enriching, happy life. After nearly a year and a half at Dog School London Kirsty is very excited to become Head Coach at Dog School Berkshire. She is very passionate about creating a relaxed environment where training your dog is always fun, interactive and interesting for everyone involved.
Before joining Dog School Berkshire, Chloe worked at a local Farm Park developing her customer service skills as well as growing her love for animals. Her love for dogs started when she rescued her 6-month-old, now late, Collie X German Shepard in 2000. They formed a close bond and Chloe is eager to help others build a strong and lasting relationship with their dogs.
Chloe has always been a supporter of animal welfare charities, particularly Dogs Trust and when she saw the chance to become part of the Coaching Team, she knew she had to seize the opportunity. She is looking forward to combining something she loves whilst making a difference to families and their dogs.
In her spare time Chloe enjoys horse riding and dancing. She is looking to adopt a rescue dog in the coming months.
Olivia previously worked with horses and decided to study Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of the West of England to further her knowledge. It was through her degree she realised she wanted a career working with dogs and training her Cocker Spaniel, Mia confirmed this.
Before joining Dogs Trust, Olivia worked at another Rescue and Rehoming Centre where she enjoyed positive, force free training and preparing the dogs for their forever homes. This is what led her to Dogs Trust Dog School, to help dogs and owners bond, settle in their forever homes and provide them with long lasting, life skills which are fun to learn!
Anybody who is involved in the care of your dog is encouraged to come along to class, including children. Please bear in mind that your coaches will be talking to the class on a group level to teach you valuable key messages about behaviour, so it is important that anybody attending is able to listen quietly (if young children are attending it could be a good idea to bring something to keep them occupied with at these times). Let your coach know if you have any special requirements or will have more than 3 people attending with your dog, so that they can prepare and make sure there is enough space. To make sure you can concentrate on training your puppy, we would ask that you leave any other pets (including other dogs) at home.
Please bring the following to each class: your dog’s bed/blanket, a selection of your dog’s favourite treats and one or two of his/her favourite toys. If your dog requires any medication or has a specialised diet, please bring these to class – it’s also important to get in touch with your coach to let them know about this before the class as well.
We will try our best to make sure you see the same coaches each week for your classes, because we think it is important for us to get to know you and your puppy. The coaches work in teams of three, so you should get to know all the team members over your course. Occasionally there may be a change in one coach because of sickness or holidays, but if this is necessary, we will try to ensure that you are introduced to your new coach the week before the change so that they are familiar with you and your dog.
We only use positive training methods supported by the most up to date research on dog behaviour. We will never use methods that intimidate or harm your dog.
We aim to teach you to understand how your dog communicates and learns in a fun, interactive environment. We will support you in developing the skills needed to help them become happy, confident, well behaved canine citizens. We will achieve this through practical training and support for both you and your dog.
When you arrive to class we ask that you keep your distance from other owners and dogs, we will guide you over to your personal ‘pod’ which will be a small area reserved for you and your dog. This will give your dogs the best chance to feel comfortable and calm at the start of class. Once everyone has settled in their own areas your coach will start the class, there will be some time set aside for practical training and discussing key messages. In puppy classes there will also be some time scheduled for socialising with other class members.
At the end of class we will again ask that you keep your distance from other owners and dogs. We will guide you out of the class one at a time, please remember to keep your distance from the other students as you are leaving the building and returning to your cars.
Yes! Please feel free to contact your coach between classes if you would like further support or have any questions. The best way of getting in touch is via email so that your coach has the time to give your response their full attention. Your coach will advise you on the best course of action. They should be able to provide you with some basic advice that you can put in place straight away and may recommend a 1-1 session if you require more in depth behavioural or training support.
Dogs Trust recognise the need for affordable behavioural and training support in the community. We believe that Dog School will help raise awareness of dog behaviour, strengthen the bond between owners and their dogs and help to address and prevent the development of unwanted or problematic behaviours. We are hopeful that this service will improve the welfare of dogs in the UK, both by providing owners with support in the home environment and by reducing the number of dogs being relinquished for behavioural reasons.
Our training classes are aimed at giving you information and skills that you can apply to your puppy’s behaviour in any situation. If you have an existing issue that would require help with please contact your local coach and describe the problems you are having. It may be possible for us to help you in a class setting, or it may be that your coach will recommend a 1-1 session with a trainer or behaviourist. We will aim to give you the advice that we believe will be of the greatest benefit to you and your dog. In some cases, the class environment may not be the most suitable for your dog, in which case we will always strive to offer an alternative plan of action!
Please try to let your coach know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend a class. You will be provided with the training guide for the week you missed so that you can catch up at home. We are not able to offer replacement classes or refunds but will help you catch up in time for the following class. If you require help in understanding or practising the guide for the week you missed get in touch with your coach for advice.