I’m Josie and I’m the founder of Positively Pawfect, as well as Longridge Alpacas.
Here’s how I came to be a dog trainer…
I originally qualified as a Barrister and got called to the Bar at Inner Temple in London. During my final year of training I became unwell and was eventually diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Fibromyalgia which impacted on my ability to practice. It took me a few years doing different jobs and completing various qualifications to figure out what I wanted to do as a career.
I have always been a HUGE animal lover, having lots over the years – but I never had a dog. My husband had dogs growing up and when we got our first house together he convinced me to get a puppy (I didn’t need much convincing!). We stumbled across a beautiful Chow Chow x Norweigan Elkhound puppy. We instantly fell in love and brought her home, naming her Lola. We later discovered that her start in life wasn’t great and we suspect she wasn’t old enough to have been separated from her mother and littermates or even to be sold. As a result of this, Lola wasn’t able to learn basic life skills such as bite inhibition (her teeth are very sharp!), how to communicate and how to manage being on her own. As you can guess, my first experience of living with a dog was rather stressful and I wanted to be able to help Lola manage her anxieties and learn some manners. Through researching, trying and testing many positive reinforcement based methods I managed to help Lola become calmer, happier and confident. The incredible thing is, whilst I was helping her, she was also helping me by improving my health and wellbeing. Pushing myself to take her out for walks in the countryside when I was in pain or fatigued meant that my physical health improved and coming home to a joyous bundle of fluff after a long day at work undoubtedly cheered me up!
My fascination with dog training and behaviour led me to discover the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behaviour. I always enjoyed watching her show ‘It’s Me or the Dog’ and was captivated by how much knowledge and understanding she had about the dogs mind and how she was able to help families enjoy living with their dogs. Having experienced first hand a puppy with emotional and behavioural complexities, I understand the impact this can have on the home life. I trained with the Academy on an intense hands-on course, learning about canine psychology, physiology, behavioural management and lots more. I graduated from the course as a positive dog trainer with a distinction – I was over the moon!
Canine First Aid
I'm Sophie and I volunteer with Positively Pawfect as a class assistant. I have a level 3 qualification in animal management. At classes I can help you with any of the exercises we are working on and I am always willing to receive doggy cuddles!
I also help out at Longridge Alpacas where I care for their alpacas and sheep and help run events. Over the years, I have had a lot of animals of my own. So far I have had: chinchillas, snakes, bearded dragons, hamsters, tortoises, chickens, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, fish, cats and of course, dogs!