Each of our 20 UK rehoming centres has at least one, often two, training and behaviour advisors (TBA), an assistant TBA and one or more dog trainers to help with rehabilitation work. The TBA is responsible for assessing each dog which arrives at the centre. This assessment determines the care that each dog receives – for example their requirement to have an individual behaviour modification programme, the potential benefits of transfer to a different kennel or centre that might suit them better, and their individual need for different types of enrichment. Where suitable, dogs are kenneled together in pairs to give them some social interaction. Dogs are also provided with a range of other activities, such as training sessions, scent work, agility, quiet contact with human carers or interactive food filled toys. The TBAs train the staff in the centre on carrying out rehabilitation work with the dogs, and provide life-long behavioural support to all dogs after adoption. As with all of our staff, the behaviour teams are given regular training to ensure they remain up to date with the latest developments in both science and practice. Keeping our staff at the forefront of developments in canine behaviour means they have the right skills and knowledge to help so many dogs.
Our behaviour and training teams in centres work with dogs with a wide range of different behaviours, preparing them for their forever homes. The programmes used at Dogs Trust use positive reward based approaches to training and rehabilitation.Read more
At Dogs Trust we are committed to providing the best possible facilities to care for our dogs.Read more
Alasdair is a fully qualified animal trainer with a BSc in Applied Canine Behaviour and Training, national certificates in Animal Psychology (Dist), Companion Animal Welfare & Behavioural Rehabilitation and Advanced Instructing Techniques for the Companion Dog.
Alasdair has been involved in the training of dogs since the late 80's after gaining an interest in training while supporting dog handlers in Northern Ireland from both the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. In 1995, after becoming an associate of John Rogerson Alasdair was instrumental in the setting up of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in the UK, being the first assessor in Scotland.
Alasdair has spoken at several international conferences on dog behaviour and training and humane capturing techniques of street dogs in Bosnia and Romania. He has competed at the highest levels in Working Trials and currently shares his life with 3 Dogs Trust dogs, 2 collies and a terrier.
Al has recently become a Certified Training Partner with the Karen Pryor Clicker Academy. This course has been described recently as one of the most prestigious and sought after qualifications within the world of positive reinforcement training.
As an Assistant Training and Behaviour Advisor at Dogs Trust Loughborough Naomi has a varied role and get to work closely with both staff and adopters. The Canine Carers do a fantastic job of looking after the dogs at the centre and part of Naomi’s role is to support them in providing basic training that will help prepare dogs for their forever home – some of the dogs that arrive at centres here don’t even know how to sit or may have little experience of walking on a lead, so teaching them these things can make it easier for them to adjust to a new life.
Working alongside the TBAs, Naomi also plans and carries out training with dogs that have more complex behavioural needs. She loves the Dogs Trust’s attitude towards dog training which is all focussed around building a positive relationship - so although some dogs might take a little longer to find their special someone, having that extra time allows her to build a bond and work closely with the dog to give them the best chance of success in their new home. It’s a fantastic feeling for Naomi when they are finally settled with their families.
Before joining the Dogs Trust Naomi worked in other rescue centres, trained bio-detection dogs and studied Clinical Animal Behaviour. As Assistant TBA she is really able to put both her experience and qualifications to use - but there is always more to learn and she is always looking to expand her experience. Although Naomi doesn’t currently have her own dog she is often borrowing friends’ dogs for a little extra practise and really enjoys trying new classes and getting ideas that she can adapt to enrich the lives of the dogs at the centre.
Michael has been at Dogs Trust Kenilworth since September 2014. Prior to that he went to Nottingham Trent University to study Animal Biology. He worked at veterinary surgeries and horse riding schools on voluntary basis while not at university. Behaviour modules whilst studying at University have been his main education into the training and behaviour world prior to working at Dogs Trust, but since starting at Kenilwrth he has attended training courses and learned other techniques from more experienced members of staff, TBA’s and STBA’s.
Michael’s job involves working closely with dogs in the centre which require more specific, one to one training. He has to be flexible in time management, working with more nervous dogs at quieter times during the day when they will benefit more from his training. The rehabilitation plans for each dog varies greatly, from doing muzzle training, to loose lead walking and counterconditioning. In addition to this, part of his role involves working with new dogs which come into the centre, and helping identify any potential behavioural issues which may arise so the team can begin working with them as soon as possible. Occasionally, he will also work in the blocks with other canine carers when required.
Michael loves the variety of his job. Each day is different and offers a new opportunity to try something new, or teach something new to his dogs. The dogs are sometimes challenging, but being able to see improvements in them each day and the satisfaction when they go to a great home makes it worthwhile.
One thing that Michael always does with his dogs is clicker training. It’s a fairly basic technique, but he finds it very useful when teaching something new to a dog as the technique makes the training much more interesting and fun. His University degree prior to working at Dogs Trust was very scientific, and finding how things work the way they do has always interested Michael. Exactly the same applies to training his dogs. He loves working out why they perform the behaviours they do, whether they are desirable ones or not!