There are few people on the planet who have trained their dogs to competition level in Dog Obedience.
I am one of them.
I love it. I’m obsessed.Training, competing, watching, supporting, coaching, whatever it is I can’t get enough. It’s what I thrive on, it’s what I’m passionate about. It’s the living, breathing embodiment of my unique expression. It gives me a buzz and I feel truly alive. Follow Your Nudges is what I live by.
But before the age of 40 I didn’t used to have dogs.
I lived a very different kind of life, once upon a time, one that wasn’t especially good for me. So, one day I upped sticks, moved to the countryside, fell in love, and in 2006 got my first dog, a Golden Retriever called Lucy. I didn’t have a clue about raising a puppy, and feared I was going to be eaten alive. So off me and Lucy went to dog training classes, and I became addicted. Soon after, I left a 17-year career as an NHS manager to start my own coaching and training consultancy (which also meant I could spend more time with Lucy!)
In 2008 a timid 8-week-old Golden Retriever called Harry joined us.
And that’s when a whole new world opened up and my competition journey began. To be honest I didn’t really know much about the sport, but I found a force free trainer, and well, the rest is history!
Since then, I’ve trained 3 Golden Retrievers to competition level, and they’ve won numerous awards and titles. Harry started in pre-beginners and progressed through the classes. He competed at Crufts in the 2016 Obreedience Championship final and was heading for the top until his career ended suddenly due to ill health. Nevertheless, he taught me loads and paved the way for my other dogs to start their obedience careers higher up the classes. Jasper joined Lucy and Harry in 2016, and Berty joined us in 2020.
In 2022 I decided to listen to my nudges and made the big leap from using dog sport as a hobby alongside my consultancy work, to fully committing to competing, in Obedience specifically, as my main focus. I was excited to see what was possible when I was fully committed.
This year so far, I’ve been part of the Obreedience judging team at Crufts 2022. In Berty’s first season of competing, he’s had three wins, and he and Jasper have been placed in the winner’s line up 16 times. We are getting more recognition from other teams and judges in the field, and we’ve been invited to join the Competitive Obedience display team at Crufts 2023, to showcase motivational, force-free training methods that bring out the best in dogs and will hopefully inspire more people to train their dogs using positive force free training methods, and to see what’s possible.
Now I’m looking forward to continuing our success and navigating to a place where I’m earning a living from doing what I love so much.
You don’t need a Collie, or to belong to a Competition club, or to have a vast amount of experience with dogs to start competing in Obedience. I thought I wouldn’t be able to win anything because I had a Golden Retriever and got my first dog in my 40’s. But that wasn’t the case at all.
I believe training dogs and competing shouldn’t feel like a slog, or a chore. Living and working with dogs teaches you more about you than you ever anticipated! I love the journey. It’s addictive, and the pursuit of the perfect picture of teamwork has kept me enthralled for years.
I’d love to hear from you, so you can fill out the form on the contact page to get updates about My Competition Journey, which may act as the catalyst for you to bring your unique passion to life. Mine is Dog Obedience.