Professional Dog Trainer in Croydon, South London
Karen’s a qualified Pro Dog trainer based in Croydon and South London area. Having worked as a NHS nurse for nearly 40 years, she is pursuing her lifelong passion for dog training. She currently has two springer spaniels, four year old Bruce and puppy Lex. She has a keen interest in positive gundog training, and is working towards grade 3 with Lex.
After discovering Horton Dogs’ games based training, she joined Cathy to help teach the weekly adult and puppy life skills classes, both online and in-person.
I left school at 18 and moved to London to train to be a nurse. I have worked as a nurse in the NHS for nearly 40 years! Recently, I have worked in General Practice. It has been a great career but it’s not my passion.
My first dog was a boxer, Ginny. She was a super addition to our family, absolutely amazing with my children and fantastic in the house, very loving and fun. Out and about things were a bit different, she was fearful of other dogs and as time went by she became reactive. We went to different classes and trainers but nothing helped. I couldn’t let her off lead and I felt ashamed. We used to walk at quiet times and in places where we wouldn’t meet other dogs. I didn’t know how to help and I couldn’t give her the life I wanted for her.
My next dog was Bruce, a springer spaniel. I had a friend who was a gundog trainer and I was in awe of the relationship he had with his dogs. They were so attentive and loved working for him. When I got Bruce it was a different story, all he wanted to do was sniff, I literally couldn’t get his head up off the floor. He pulled on the lead and didn’t know I was there. If I left him off the lead he would run away, I was worried that he would get lost or run over. At home, he chased lights and shadows, guarded toys and food and barked at visitors, postman, delivery drivers. I wanted to work him on a gundog shoot, that’s what he was bred to do so I sought the help of a gundog trainer. His methods were quite harsh, pulling back hard on the lead, smacking Bruce and picking him up by the ears and spinning him round. These methods didn’t suit me and I was looking for another way.
I booked myself into a gundog training day. Bruce was his usual self, overwhelmed by the environment and had no desire to work with me and no drive to retrieve. There was a passing reference during the day about playing with your dog. This got me thinking: how do you find the joy? How do you play with your dog?
I started searching online and I kept coming back to Absolute Dogs. I saw a film of Lauren Langman playing with her dogs and I was blown away. That was exactly what I wanted for me and Bruce and it was the beginning of my journey as a positive, reward and games based dog trainer.
When the opportunity came, I joined the Pro Dog trainer programme. It was a big financial commitment, but I knew the programme offered me hope for my relationship with Bruce. Eight months later, I had my first visit to Devon Dogs on Pro Days training for joy finders and solution seekers. I went full of hope and I wasn’t disappointed. This was the beginning of me understanding Bruce; there were people there who could see how anxious Bruce was, how he jumped at every noise and how totally overwhelmed and distracted he was by the environment, and they understood our struggles. I left Devon with lots of ideas and so many games to play.
We had two more visits to Devon Dogs in 2019, attending Positive Gun Dog days and the Gun Dog holiday. I met some fabulous people there and my confidence in myself and in Bruce was beginning to grow.
In July, I approached Cathy to help her weekly life skills classes. Cathy and her husband, Man, are the best people you could meet. They are so positive and work so well together….Wow! In Cathy’s classes I saw the games in action and her students happy and positive.
October 2019 I got a new puppy, Lex, another working Springer Spaniel. This time, I knew what to do. Lex has been raised with games and we have so much fun and freedom.
My Powerful Why
My Powerful Why is to spread the word about positive, games based dog training, to help others find the joy in their relationship with their dog. My hope is that no owner will feel alone and hopeless as I did and that dogs will live lives full of freedom and fun.
2018 Pro Dog Trainer
2019 Pro Dog Trainer Geek
18th August 2018 Upping The Ante Gun Dog training day with Lez Graham
13th-14th October 2018 Absolute Dogs Pro Dog Trainer – Deep Dive
13th October 2018 Obedience Games
5th April 2019 A Day of Pro Dog Training the FUNdementals
6th April 2019 A Day of Pro Dog Training the Magician
7th April 2019 Naughty but Nice Day
11th-13th May 2019 Positive Gundog Training
11th-14th July 2019 Gundog Holiday
15th July 2019 Disengagement Day
November 2019 Super Trainer Live
7th-10th February 2020 Positive Gundog Train the Trainer