I'm a dog trainer, pet behaviourist and writer (both of non-fiction and fiction), and my first job working with animals was way back in 1997.

Animal behaviour and training...

Although I always wanted to work with animals, it took many years of study and various animal-related jobs before I settled on what gave me the greatest pleasure - helping to improve the behaviour of our pets, and creating more harmonious homes and yards. I spent many years at Hadlow College in Kent, initially as a staff member in the Animal Care unit working with a diverse range of species from bearded dragons, to llamas with a whole host of others in between. Always being focused on behaviour I started courses with the Natural Animal Centre, and learnt about equine behaviour, natural horsemanship and clicker training. That led to me studying full time for a degree in Equine Management at Hadlow College, with a view to work as an equine behaviourist. But my focus changed slightly, as I was still keen to learn more about behaviour, so I began several years of learning about dogs in a much more detailed way than before. I attended many workshops, and passed the Advanced Instructors course with the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (UK).

I started my business of dog training and pet behaviour in 2011. Always with a focus on careful management and the use of positive reinforcement, I've continued to research many training styles and techniques so I can offer the best advice to owners (which techniques to avoid, and which are the most ethical and kind ones to use). I've now written three dog behaviour books: Help! My Dog Has Issues, How to Cope with your Puppy, and Our Emotional Dogs, all of which are available on Amazon as eBooks and paperbacks. My latest book 'Ethical Pet Training' includes information for the ethical training of dogs, horses and cats.

My constant companion has been my Labrador Bea, who's been with me every step of the way for the past 13 years. We've learnt countless tricks, sports and behaviours, and she continues to teach me about canine communication. Our highlight was being part of a team of 13 other owners and dogs, doing a heelwork to music routine for the auditions round of Britain's Got Talent.

Writing...

Having been interested in creative writing since school, and with a passion for film and television (gaining an HNC in Television Production), and because I wanted to write a book about dog training, I finally had the confidence to start writing 'for real' in 2016. I enjoyed the courses, workshops and self-study so much that I wrote a couple of romantic comedy books, plus a long list of amusing sketches and poems that were aired on BBC Radio Kent. Some of these can be heard on my YouTube channel. I also won the 2018 Hammond House Literary Prize (screenplay category), and have helped out with the judging for their Literary Prize ever since. I wanted to encourage others to have a go at writing, so I run a few workshops, including a monthly one at Hildenborough Library, and I've written a short book about writing therapy. I've also written two romantic comedies 'Run or Love' and 'How to Create a Love Triangle' - both are available on Amazon.

I'm often asked how writing and pet behaviour go together - but really it's all about behaviour. To write creatively, you need to be able to describe how people think, act and communicate - and I'm a keen observer of behaviour, whether it's human or animal!