I started running classes as Elton Dog Training Club in 2006 at Bury Parish Church Hall, opening WaggaWuffins Canine Activity Centre in 2009 which was then rebranded a few years later to WaggaWuffins Canine College, specialising in dog training.
The dog training industry is unregulated, which means anyone can set themselves up in business as a dog trainer or behaviourist, without any experience or qualifications.
I have always strived to be the very best version of myself and having a great love of dogs, their mental and physical wellbeing has always been really important. Dog training methods over the years have changed significantly and my goal is to make sure my knowledge and practical skills are up to date and current.
The good thing for people is that there is a trainer for everyone out there, the challenge is finding the right one for you.
My views on dog ownership are that my dogs are my family and my friends. The learning journey they have while I help them learn to become acceptable members of our human society and part of the family is of most importance to me. I take a kind, fair and effective approach to training. I want them to feel safe, to trust me and enjoy learning.
All dog trainers have the same goal, what differs is how it is achieved. For me the journey is as important as the outcome. We teach rules and boundaries with positive reinforcement. I will not use fear, intimidation or pain to train a dog.
Years ago dog training was very much a carrot and stick approach, but now we understand dogs so much more, we have emotions, neuroscience and research. My many years of experience and study have enabled me to learn about motivation and how to apply it practically. This is my passion, training dogs effectively with positive reinforcement training. We set dogs up for success, we set achievable criteria that’s at the motivational sweet spot somewhere between easy and boring and too difficult and frustrating, and then we raise it.
I help my clients learn how to be proficient and proactive handlers setting dogs up for success and rewarding them for getting it right.
We use rewards that motivate the individual dog, which will usually be a mix of treats, toys and praise. We also use other concepts such as environmental and life rewards, something called the Premack Principle also known as Grandma's Rule (You eat your tea, you get your pudding). We support dogs in learning emotional regulation and impulse control using current research and neuroscience and building a dog/human relationship built on trust, safety, friendship and teamwork, just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
At WaggaWuffins our aim is to provide the best and most ethical approach to training dogs that is easy and accessible to pet owners. It is suitable for all the family to join in, it does not require physical strength or a dominant/alpha personality and because it is all reward based you can get started straight away as soon as you get your new family friend home.