Hi I'm Shona
I became a dog trainer and walker without owning a dog for 15 years.
“How can you be a dog trainer if you don't have a dog”
This was a genuine question I was asked whilst setting up The Gracious Dog Academy.
I can be a dog trainer without a dog because I have a genuine passion for dog training and helping people trainer their dogs.
Many years ago had a dog called Sassy, and true to her names she was a sassy shih tzu. Sassy sparked my interest in dog training. At 5 yrs old I was trying to teach her to jump through a hoop which at 5 years old, I was not successful.
This passion was further enforced by been taken into foster care at 7 years old were I was not allowed a dog. Although I was not allowed a dog, this did not stop me from wanting to learn about dogs training. I watched all dog related TV programs which gave so many different forms of dog training and many technical terms. A lot of the information given on these shows was so confusing.
Deciding TV shows were not the best way to learn about dog training I decided to do both a diploma and a honors degree in dog training and welfare.
Throughout my education, we focused mainly on life skills training. This is helping dog owners how to live every day with their dog.
Now I had received my education in dog training I wanted to help owners with training their dogs. However, I didn't want them to get confused with all the different, conflicting and confusing dog training advice which we still see on many dog training TV shows, Website and Youtube videos.
I wanted to provide an easy to understand dog training service for dog owners which are lost in all the mixed up dog training advice. Thus The Gracious Dog Academy was created 2 years ago.
When I started Gracious Dogs back in 2017, I had my first client Pablo. Pablo's owner had come to me because of his barking problem. Pablo would bark relentlessly at other dogs. During the day while his owners were at work Pablo was going out with a walker which was not suitable for him. There were far too many dogs being able to do whatever they want. This contributed to Pablo's unwanted behaviour. I soon took over Pablo's walks whilst his owners were at work. Walking Pablo allowed me to manage his barking and continue training. Pablo is now happily with another dog walker in a small group and his barking is a lot better.
Pablo's experience made me realize that a lot of dog owners were struggling to find a dog walker for their dogs. These dogs usually bark, have little training or a lot for most dog walkers to handle. Leading to them not been able to find the right dog walker for them. This inspired me to establish tailored treks, east Leeds only solo dog treks.