What's in a name?
It all started about 5 years ago when I introduced a little club into Morpeth called Raven River Agility, named after my first agility dog Ravenriver Rock (Rusty). We are a small family run business running regular classes, courses and fun shows.
I own three Cocker Spaniels and a collie cross and have grown up around dogs; I have been training in agility for the past ten years and competing for the last seven. I have also competed in showing/handling and trained with Rusty in obedience and gundog work. I very sadly lost Rusty in October 2013 at the age of 8, he and I managed to get to Grade 7, and came home with a 4th and a 7th at Crufts in 2012. His kennel name, Ravenriver Rock, lives on through our club and he will be greatly missed.
I currently have a grade 7 Cocker Spaniel called Jake, who in 2015 narrowly missed out on a winning round at Crufts, but managed a 6th.
I have a rescue Cocker who competes at Grade 5, and a young Cocker who is due out in competition in September. My fourth dog is a rescue dog from Ireland who at 18 months old had already had 5 homes. Luna (or Loon as she's formally known) is coming on leaps and bounds.
I regularly compete across the country and recently began entering championship classes during the tail end of 2015.
I was a member of the Young Kennel Club for over 10 years and competed at Crufts in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2009 I won the Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Persons Award and was shortlisted in 2012.
I also work part time as one of the North East's top dog photographers, (Sit Stay Capture), having always had a passion for both photography and dogs, my work is used all over the world from book covers to magazines.
In 2012 I was shortlisted for the Newcastle University- NCL+ Awards- Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and graduated shortly after with a degree in Combined Honours. As well as dog training and photography, I have spent the last four years in marketing, and work part time as a Marketing Manager for the Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group. I was also nationally recognised at a prestigous London ceremony in 2014 – winning ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’ in the industry 'OvertheCounter' Awards.
I’m joined in business by my partner Jamie and father John. Jamie and I have completed a dog-whispering course and are also Certified Kennel Club Agility Judges. Alongside this I have attended various seminars with World class trainers and I'm keen to expand my knowledge wherever and whenever I can. I regularly attend workshops and practical days with renowned agility trainers and indoing so, always have fresh ideas for classes. I'm currently undertaking a level three qualification with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers. As a club we are always training and deveolping our knowledge.
My father John, is a retired Police Dog Handler serving over 15 years in the force. Over his career John worked a variety of breeds, but none quite as good as his general purpose German Shepherd Ricki (who retired at 8 and lived to a ripe old age of 13) Figo, his trusty narcotics dog retired alongside him and continues to enjoy life. Figo is also trained to search for cash and weapons and had a wonderful career serving almost 10 years in the force. John currently works in the National Health Service with narcotics dog Coco, and is bringing on a third team member Cocker Spaniel Jasper.
Classes are designed to be fun, but that is not to say that you don't learn anything. Any type of training is a brilliant way of creating a stronger bond between dog and handler. There is never one way to do things, what counts in class is each dog and handler combination with a strong emphasis on fun. All training is reward based, and positive with up to date methods.
Our arenas and equipment are safe for you and your dog; we use rubber contacts and Kennel Club competition grade agility equipment. The astroturf flooring at our Bedlington unit has been carefully chosen to ensure joint support and grip. You can check it out in action here.
Please get in touch if you would like to come and along and view any of our classes before deciding on whether they are right for you and your dog.