Chris has been working as a veterinary nurse for over thirty years. This work sparked an interest in dog behaviour and training. She studied with COAPE and sees cat and dog behaviour cases via her practice. This was done to ensure a good grounding in pet behaviour before setting up classes, initially at the surgery. A member of the APDT, UK she has run puppy and dog training classes for fifteen years. Chris has been a member of the APDT, UK committee, (presently chairperson) and various sub-committees, for the past few years. She helped set up, and instructs on, the APDT Pet Dog Training Instructor's course and, in 2010 she went to South Korea with Val Harvey to deliver the course to Samsung employees.
Chris is a trainer for Dog Aid, helping people with disabilities train their own dog up to Assistance Dog level. She has puppy-walked and socialised two dogs for Dogs for the Disabled. She has competed in obedience and agility and instructs agility at her local club. More recently she has become interested in teaching scent work to Duffie, realising the potential of the dogs nose is amazing! She has visited various retirement homes and hospices with her dogs, entertaining residents and patients with their tricks, and for the past twelve years Chris has performed tricks/routines with her dogs at Crufts as part of the James Wellbeloved 'All Stars' Team. She and her dogs also perform at various country shows throughout the year.
Taggie and Duffie - her present dogs - have appeared in various TV adverts and photo shoots and Duffie especially loves performing to an audience, and at the moment stars as 'Tramp' in Eastenders. In her spare time she enjoys walking the dogs and thinking up new tricks to teach them.
Val has had family dogs since she was five, and has shared her life with a mongrel, golden retriever and three Staffordshire bull terriers. As an adult she became interested in teaching other people to train their dogs, initially in the world of 'showing'. Determined to have the correct knowledge and skills she attended various seminars and workshops and found her way to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Instructor's course, knowing that they used positive methods and members teach owners and dogs using kind, fair and effective methods. She worked for some years at a local club, as well as helping to set up a show dog training club for Staffordshire bull terriers, and moved to Puppy Pals in 2002 to develop her knowledge generally, particularly in 'clicker' training . Having gained experience and improved her skills teaching classes and one-to-one sessions with many dogs and owners, she applied, and was accepted for, membership of the Association. Val joined the committee of APDT,UK and two years later was elected as chairman. Having served five years in the post - the maximum allowed - she stepped down in 2013.
Val is passionate about helping people to understand their dogs, and believes that anyone who teaches owners to train their dogs should have good knowledge and understanding of the correct way to do so. She has been involved with the education side of APDT,UK for several years and tutors on the same courses that taught her so much when she started out.
Val believes that every owner is an individual, each wanting different things from their dogs and whether that be a well mannered family pet, Crufts show champion, an agility whiz or myriad other things the foundation stone is the same - a good relationship with your dog, which starts with having a dog who understands what is required of him. She teaches - as do all the Instructors at Puppy Pals - positive, reward based methods of training. Coaching owners to not only teach their dogs basic exercises, but helping them to understand how to teach their dog to do pretty much anything they want as their training progresses.
Val also works for the charity Dog AID who help disabled people train their own dogs to be Assistance Dogs.