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I love writing and am very involved with animal welfare - especially that of dogs. Nowadays I combine both these passions as much as possible, through working with dogs, writing books about dog training and behaviour, and teaching canine psychology and behaviour. To date I've had 16 books and over 500 articles published on a wide variety of subjects - you can find out about the books by scrolling through the menu.
In my work as a canine behaviour specialist I work with private clients, rescue centres and veterinary surgeons, and have the privilege of meeting a lot of owners and their dogs. It's immensely rewarding to witness their relationships transform when the owners start to truly understand their furry friends. The dogs quickly realise that the lines of communication are now open and they can relax and cooperate.
Everything in life hinges on relationships; our relationships with ourselves, our families, friends, people we work with - and the animals who share our lives. This is something that's always fascinated me. It led to a qualification in counselling many years ago, then a qualification in Emotional Intelligence through Bath College, and further developed when I studied canine psychology and graduated with distinction.
It's been scientifically proven that reward-based methods work more effectively on dogs (and on humans) than the old harsh methods that are unfortunately still used in some quarters. I founded the Dog Welfare Alliance, The Dog Helpline and The International School of Canine Practitioners to promote compassionate 'positive' training methods that are based on scientific research. I developed a new system of positive, compassionate training that I call 'Sympatico', based on the Italian term 'simpatico', which means 'in sympathy with, in harmony with'. Every relationship that's based on trust and understanding has optimum potential to thrive.
Other areas I work in include film consultancy; one of the films is listed on IMDb. I'm also an ambassador for The Goodwill Treaty, which was founded by Nobel Prize nominee Bryant McGill. I was awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities by Moffett University in 2009.
I live near Bath, UK, with my jewellery designer daughter, Amber, and with Skye Lurcher (mentor and caring guide to all my foster dogs) and Charlie Boy, a Romanian one-eyed feral dog.
Organisations that I founded:
The International School of Canine Practitioners (ISCP) provides courses for dog-owners who are interested in acquiring a deeper understanding of their dogs, and a diploma course for students who wish to pursue a career with dogs. There's also a course on Emotional Healing for Dogs, which combines Bach Flower Remedies and Behaviour Therapy. Regular online talks and seminars are open to the general public.
The Dog Welfare Alliance was launched in September 2013. This is a connection point for all those who are interested in, own, or work with dogs and who wish to improve welfare conditions. All membership fees are donated directly to rescue charities around the world, to help dogs in urgent need.
Organisations that I'm a member of, or am closely involved with and wholeheartedly support:
The Association of INTO Dogs is an organisation of trainers and behaviourists who use only positive and respectful methods in their work with dogs.
Pet Dog Trainers of Europe is another organisation for trainers and behaviourists who use 'positive' methods. I'm currently an associate member.
The Dog Rescue Federation works alongside the government to raise awareness of, and improve the lives of, rescue dogs.
Blind Dog Rescue UK, founded by Katy Orton, rescues and rehomes blind, partially sighted and sighted dogs throughout Europe. Our one-eyed feral dog, Charlie, came from BDRUK.
CARIAD is an organisation that works tirelessly to raise awareness of the appalling conditions in puppy farms/dog battery farms. Recently I've been one of a team of four behaviourists commissioned by CARIAD to write two booklets: one for rescues and one for fosterers/adopters who take in dogs from battery farms.
Oldies Club is a rescue charity which takes in and rehomes dogs over the age of seven. I've fostered several elderly dogs for them, and have adopted three senior dogs, including two Oldies Club dogs.