For five hours a day, seven
days a week, this determined
57-year-old from Carrington,
Cheshire, UK, devotes her time
to helping dogs find a way to live
in perfect harmony with their human companions. This enthusiastic volunteer is the co-founder of the Animal Behaviour Centre in Lymm North West England, and firmly believes it is always possible for an old dog to learn new tricks!

"Dogs should always fit in with a family and not the other way round, "explained Tina, whose work brings her into contact with misbehaving and misunderstood canines, and their owners, all over the North West. "One of the most satisfying parts of my job is working with families whose lives are in chaos with their pet and helping them turn the situation around so everyone is happy and enjoying the amazing benefits this special canine/human relationship can bring."

Tina, 'dog mum' to bulldog Luna and English Springer Hetti, began training dogs to be well mannered 17 years ago after acquiring a hard to handle Belgian Shepherd. "She was a rescue pup that had issues with food and people and at my wit's end, I turned to Altrincham Dog Training Society for help," explained Tina. "I was soon told that my 'kid gloves' attitude to Amber was the problem and I needed to be firm and take control."

Tina believes that there's no dog, and owner, who can't improve with training and her subsequent experience has shown her that the training and attitude of the human is often more important than that of the dog. "Dogs don't realise that they are being trained so 'dog rule one' is make sure classes are fun; and 'human rule one' is that persistence and patience will pay dividends,"
says the lady who became so hooked
on the pleasure she gained from working closely with her pet that she worked her way up from tea maker to trainer at the Society. Since that start Tina has completed courses in animal behaviour and psychology, and even first aid - human and canine, of course!

On call to assist vets, the police and social services with difficult and sometimes dangerous situations this grandmother of 12 also acts as a private consultant to people whose dogs are acting strangely. "We're often called in by members of the public whose dogs have been spooked by 'ghosts'," she said, "but there's generally a simple explanation once we investigate. I've met dogs acting strangely because someone had changed the polish on a floor making it too slippy for their paws, being spooked by birds hopping across a conservatory roof and simply from the scent of a fox that had crossed a familiar path.

"If there's bereavement in the family the dog will pick up its owner's emotions and may act differently, looking away or yawning for example," added Tina, "dog emotions really do mirror those of their owner." Which is perhaps why when Tina introduces Luna and Hetti at the end of the interview we're greeted with enthusiastic wags and 'smiles'.
Tina walks her dogs for one and half house each day, so comfort footwear is essential. We gave her a pair of Trek in Cherryberry to try, she told us:

"I wore the boots whilst on a course over the weekend, they were really comfy
even in the heat, so they are doing
exactly what it says on the tin."
• Ask around your dog walking friends for feedback about the trainer you select.

• See if you and view or even try the class - remember a dog doesn't know its learning so make sure the class looks like it's fun.
Kennel Club