Heather Witty, Paws in Wales

I have worked with dogs for the last twenty years, and studied for a number of years to gain independently accredited OCN qualifications with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) and the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers and Behaviourists (IMDTB).

I am proud to be an accredited Instructor with the UK College of Scent Dogs

I am a qualified Instructor with the International Animal Behaviour Training Centre where Angela White KCAI (Fellow) encouraged me to become a member of the Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Scheme and work towards accreditation.

I trained with Nando Brown to become an accredited Force Free Trick Trainer (FFTT) and Happy Puppy Instructor.

I am a Tier One Instructor for Wag It! Games and a member of Talking Dogs Scentwork (TDS) and the British Competitive Obedience Society (BCOS)

My early career was training horses and riders. I have had dogs all my life, and was introduced to Competitive Obedience by the late Jan Ging when I attended her classes with a new puppy. So began a new and fascinating journey learning a completely new sport which I find absorbing and endlessly engrossing. I was fortunate to have some extraordinary dogs in my life at that time, and was immensely proud to represent Wales at Crufts with Chance and Silver in 2001 and 2002 in the Inter-Regional Competition, and then had the immense privilege of again representing Wales with Ranger in the Obedience World Cup from 2006 until his retirement at Crufts 2011.

My dog life then moved into new and exciting activities as I began studying and training new activities, and found a new fascination in Scentwork. It is humbling to learn how incredibly sophisticated dogs’ sense of smell is, and I have had the honour of training with two of the best scent dog trainers, Steve White of Seattle USA and Rob Hewings of the UKCSD.

I now use various forms of Scentwork as a key foundation skill, and find it especially valuable when working with troubled dogs. It is the only time when we wholly enter a dog’s world, where they are without question the expert and we must be led by their skills. There is nothing better for building a dog’s confidence.

While I am not currently competing in a dog sport I have the same passion for striving to be the best possible trainer I can of my own dogs, and helping other dog owners do the same with theirs. My dogs are Tabby, a Sproodle and Gusto, a Collie.

Working with dogs who are finding life difficult is deeply rewarding and a key tenet of Paws in Wales. I trained and mentored for some years by Dave Bryce during my study for IMDTB accreditation, one of the most knowledgeable, compassionate and empathetic dog behaviour analysts in the UK.