From Boots and Behaviour to Trainers and Teaching!

by Sian Hornigold // November 2017

From Boots and Behaviour to Trainers and Teaching!

I started working with Dogs Trust in 2014. Over 3000 dogs passed through the Essex Centre whilst I was there, all looking for their forever homes. From imported puppies, unidentifiable strays to those handed over from their loving home all due to different circumstances. My job was to help those struggling most in the kennel environment, those that needed preparing for the home environment they may have never experienced before, those that needed to trust all over again and those that already had extensive behavioural needs.

After years of seeing dogs ending up in kennels for behaviours that could be easily prevented or better managed, I quickly understood the importance of the preventative aspect which led me to Dog school, becoming Head Coach for Surrey.

(Harvey spaniel, my favourite boy, the sponsor dog at Essex)

Whilst on face value these roles seem polar opposite, one working on managing and improving behaviours with direct hands on work with the dog, the other teaching owners how to train their dogs and give them the tools to help their dogs continually improve their life skills. Whilst making the move across to Dog School I have quickly come to realise the roles may not be as dissimilar as initially expected! Every dog and every owner learns in their own way, whether its teaching a dog a new way of coping in kennels or teaching an owner a new way to train their dog, it requires me to teach the appropriate information/skill in a way best for the individual to learn. Each day is still as unpredictable as it was in the kennel environment and equally as rewarding.

(Gorgeous rescue Tim, used for practice in training classes)

In kennels my absolute passion and satisfaction came from seeing a dog learn a new behaviour, stop practicing an unwanted behaviour and helping the dog trust again. Now I get it from seeing the bond grow between the owners and their dogs, seeing them better understand each other, BOTH learn from one another and knowing we’ve given them the ability to achieve that.

No doubt it is a very different environment to work in and a part of me shall always miss making a direct difference to those rescue dogs, but I could not be more excited about helping owners and dogs stay together in the hope we continuously see less and less dogs ending up in rescues.

Don’t Forget!

We will soon be running our classes across different parts of Surrey, to help your pooch transform from a rebel without a cause to your best friend on four paws! For more information please call us on: 01372 224766 or email: surreydogschool@dogstrust.org.uk and get booked on to some of our classes.

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Instagram: Dogschoolsurrey and Twitter: @surreydogschool