Occupation: Principal of Pinelands North Primary School
Married to Jonathan for 27 years
Dogs: Guinness, a 6 year old Giant Schnauzer, and Carling, a 9 month old German Shepherd
Other pets: No pets except a worm farm at home, but love animals so have 23 ducks, 2 worm farms, an aviary of budgies, 4 finches and 2 canaries, and several fish tanks at school!
Jonathan and I have been training dogs since 1991 when we got our first German Shepherd, Shiraz. Jonathan walks our dogs twice a day so he does the day to day training, and I do all our puppy training and the training of the dogs who run with me. We were both founder committee members of the dog club, and we are still involved – he with maintenance and me still on the committee.
Puppy training has changed so radically since we first started training – we were only allowed to start training Shiraz once he was 6 months, and then all training was ‘ruk ‘n pluk’ – we used slip chains right from the beginning, and seldom used rewards or lures! The best advice I have had was to ‘crate train’ a puppy – Carling has spent almost every day of his life at school with me, and the crate in my office has been a godsend. The children at school find it very easy to use too, and so still manage him easily even though he is so big. He walks into the crate calmly, lies down and goes to sleep if I have meetings in my office, and sometimes people don’t even know he is there he is so quiet.
Having Carling with me at work has been a very good learning experience for the children at school – they have learnt how to behave around a dog, that German Shepherds are not all ‘polisie honde’ who are out to kill you, and that even puppies can be calm and learn how to behave. Some have even learnt how to train dogs and practise on Carling!