At Sheila Harper Ltd we offer a unique approach to learning about and working with dogs, with an aim that has always been to provide quality education for all. Each dog is an individual and is at the centre of any work we do. Through looking at the root cause of behaviour and training problems we aim to promote an holistic approach, including kind dog training, understanding of canine behaviour and language as well as humane methods of handling and consideration of the part played in body and mind by stress, nutrition and health issues. We offer a range of courses including weekends and week-long holidays as well as a year-long part time practical and theoretical International Dog Behaviour and Training School with a behavioural emphasis.
My first contact with dogs goes back a long time. From an early age I walked other people’s dogs almost every day until I had my own dog in 1988. This dog happened to be Dave, a three month old puppy and a crossbreed who was in a very poor condition.
At that time I was working in a rescue shelter, and immediately Dave was brought in I was determined to help him. I provided him with a safe and secure environment, and did nothing to train him besides house training. As a result, he eventually grew up to a stable and well-socialised dog. He was allowed to be a dog with nothing to spoil his behaviour, and I enjoyed being his companion for 15 years.
After Dave I walked into a so-called “problem dog”. He was given the label of being an “aggressive and dominant dog” with a bite history and no tolerance towards people, dogs or anything else. However, Perry was the same dog who led me in my quest to search for education about dogs and their behaviour.
I had my own list of requirements that I wanted to find in a course. I was looking for something that was different from the standard courses in its approach towards dogs and in its “philosophy”.
My search culminated in finding Sheila Harper’s International Dog Behaviour and Training School – a course that seemed as if it could possibly fulfil my needs at that time.
Before long I had realised how little I knew when I found myself following the course in Holland in 2006. It turned out that this course taught me about so much more than dogs. It taught me also about life; my own life and how it reflects on and influences dogs. Now, as one of the team members I have the opportunity to continue my learning about dogs and their behaviour, as well as their behaviour in relation to owners. This learning is one where a gentle approach, understanding and mutual respect are the key words for a better relationship with the dog. It is the kind of learning where the only tools used are tools to give a dog the opportunity to develop his life skills or to help him to relearn them and use them again. These are the natural life skills that some dogs have lost somewhere in their life for various reasons…..and giving back these life skills is the biggest challenge and reward that I can think of.
As with other members of the team I found my interest in dog behaviour through a need to understand a particularly problematic dog. Until that time, dogs had always been there, part of the family and just seemed to 'fit in'.
For 15 years I was involved in non competitive Obedience training with several dogs passing the Gold G.C.A.
I have worked with Dogs Trust as a volunteer Socialiser, Kennel Assistant and Training and Behaviour Advisor. During my time with Dogs Trust I attended many courses and seminars including a year long Canine Behaviour course with The Natural Animal Centre.
Since leaving Dogs Trust I have become a Trustee at Border Collie Trust GB, also helping dogs with behaviour problems.
I completed the I.D.T.S in 2006 during which time I was invited to become a member of the team. I am now involved with Sheila's Training classes and Behaviour consultations. I also run my own Re-hab and confidence building support group in Shropshire.
Though my first interest is in the health and welfare of rescue dogs and after-care once re-homed, I realise there is much unintentional pain and suffering throughout the dog world due to a lack of ethical owner education.
At home we have three collies, one of which is blind.
Throughout my life I have kept and worked with a broad range of animals (including several dogs!) and also had my own successful pet sitting business. As well as that I have qualifications in animal care and management, and completed my OCN on the Sheila Harper IDBTS course.
Having had previous experience of many different types of training and behavioural methods most of which relied on exercising some form of dominance or control over the dog, I realised that, at best, they produced only short-term results, but more usually, made matters worse.
After attending further courses, run by Sheila and other similarly enlightened people, I now am able to use my knowledge and experience to help people to understand their dogs, work with them to develop a positive relationship, deal with existing issues and prevent problems developing.
“A good relationship that works is about understanding, sharing and trust. With this dual relationship it lays down a solid foundation for the partnership to flourish and encourages problems to dissipate”
I have worked for Sheila now for 4 years, my role was mainly an administrative one, I’m also the book-keeper, course co-ordinator, Sheila’s secretary etc... however as I have now completed the IDBTS course I am now taking a more active part in the practical side, organising and assisting with the classes and social walks.
Sally has worked tirelessly to improve the lot of dogs. With interests in complementary therapies, health and
Sally continues to work alongside us as a more permanent part of the lecturing team for our International Dog Behaviour and Training School, primarily giving extra input into the areas of health and nutrition.