Hi! My name is Amy. I am the founder of Reach For The Stars Dog Training. If you want to find out more about me, and how I became a dog trainer, you’ve come to the right place.
Hello there! My name is Amy and I am a qualified Pro Dog Trainer, and veterinary nurse. I have always enjoyed dog training, for as long as I can remember. As a young teen, I was the one that naively taught our family Great Dane to enthusiastically give paw, resulting in many accidental bruises, oopsie. As I grew up, I always knew I wanted to work with animals, but the opportunities presented to me did not really light a fire in me. Once I finished my A Levels, I went to university and graduated in 2015 with a degree in Bsc Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Hons). While I was at university, I completed a level 3 in dog training theory. While I always enjoyed dog training, and it was something I did with my own dogs, I had no idea how to translate that way of teaching to others. Operant and classical conditioning was a snooze fest for me, so I had no idea how to put that to work for others!
Fast forward to 2017, and I started working in a veterinary practice as an animal care assistant. I loved the inpatient care and helping owners with their pets. I hit the ground running and within 12 months I was on my way to training to be a registered veterinary nurse (RVN). After a few set backs from the pandemic, I graduated as an RVN in 2021.
While I love my job as an RVN, dog training is what always lights me up. I was always the nurse that the team would come to for canine behaviour advice. In the summer of 2021, I completed the AbsoluteDogs Pro Dog Trainer and Geek programme. The AbsoluteDogs way of teaching translates to real life so effortlessly and has helped me with my own dogs. Once I completed the course, I started running clinics at my practice which were successful. I enjoyed helping owners build a better relationship with their dogs and it quickly became the most rewarding part of my day, which it why Reach For The Stars Dog Training was born.
I have always been a positive reinforcement trainer, but I also was under the misconception of training in the situation. I was the person that believed that when you get a puppy, that puppy must be introduced to every single possible scenario within X amount of weeks, in order for them to be well adjusted. I believed that an “unruley” or “crazy” dog needed more exercise. But Pro Dog Trainer has taught me so much more! It has taught me that dogs become more of what they do, so look for the what you do wants rather than concentrating on what you don’t want. Growing concepts and games-based training has been a game changer for me and many other owners that I have helped.
Luna – Female, December 2016, Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
My little pocket rocket, with a personality that is out of this world. We had Luna from a puppy, and for the most part she is bullet proof, but she does like to throw me a curve ball every so often. Through lockdown, she discovered squirrels and unleashed her inner terrier. This lead to me discovering AbsoluteDogs. I think she was just giving me a nudge in the right direction 😉
Concepts we are growing –
Calmness, Disengagement, Proximity.
Nova – Male, August 2017, Great Dane (ish) Cross, Rescue.
Nova was sent to really put ALL of my skills to the test! But he’s a giant lovable goofball. We picked him up from the rescue center and he was a bag of bones. He was very worried about everything. He did not like fuss, didn’t know how to play, and cried for nights. As he grew, he became more comfortable with us, but the outside world was still a very scary place for him. I felt guilty for a long time because he was the polar opposite to Luna. She’s extremely sociable and he really is not. It took me a long time to learn that its ok to take them out separately, and what works for one, won't work for the other. Besides testing my training skills, Nova has also had a plethora of health issues. He was a cryptorchid dog, he has had to have exploratory surgery for a foreign body removal, and to top it off he has chronic skin issues from environmental allergies. So, when I tell a client, “It’s ok, I’ve been there, I understand how you feel”, I really mean it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Concepts we are growing – Optimism, Calmness, Flexibility.