My day usually begins between 6-6.30am when I have my first coffee and take my Jack Russell terrier out for her morning walk. I will then check any responses from emails sent out the night before and reply to those. The phone starts to ring from 8.30am onwards with enquiries about puppy training classes and classes for older dogs – most days there will also be calls from people looking for help for their dogs displaying unwanted behaviour that may be perfectly normal for the dog but is troubling the owner.
I cover a wide range of behaviour problems from aggression towards other dogs or people, dogs who destroy property while the owners are out or barking continuously. I can’t solve a problem or give advice without actually seeing the dog as I pick up so much more by observing the dog while discussing the problem with the owner.
As I also specialise in training deaf dogs, I will see clients from as far away as Lancashire, Mid Wales and Staffordshire. It is very rewarding for the owners when they see how quickly their dog focuses on them even though they can’t hear anything, as the dog isn’t distracted by sound.
If it is the day I see a DogAID client (Dogs Assistance in Disability) then I will spend approximately three hours with them. I am a volunteer trainer for this charity which teaches owners to train their own pet dog to work as a qualified assistance dog. This is particularly enjoyable, as some of my clients have barely left their home for several years until they got their dog and began the training. The dogs open up a whole new world of independence and that is so rewarding.
I have classes several times a week, together with my fabulous assistants. We cover the basics such as coming back when called and loose lead walking as well as not stealing food and social walks into town when we will stop for a coffee or ice cream while the dogs settle next to their owners.
On the days when I don’t have classes or home visits I have to catch up with the stack of admin that goes along with the job and I will attempt to have a meal in between returning telephone calls and emails. I sometimes feel I live off warmed up meals and cold coffee.
Usually jeans and sweatshirt/polo shirt with the club logo.
What is the favourite part of your job?
Seeing the look of relief on owners faces when they realise their dog is not trying to take over the house but is, in fact, behaving like a dog. Watching happy owners and relaxed dogs leaving classes and meeting new clients and putting them at ease.
What is the least favourite part of your job?
ADMIN! It just never seems to end.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now?
Travelling every inch of Germany and Austria and writing about the people I have met, the places I have visited and the history of every little village.
How do you relax when you are not working?
I love walking my Jack Russell terrier, watching her get into all sorts of terrier mischief, she constantly makes me laugh. I love taking early morning photos of Chester city without the distractions of people and traffic, gardening and music.
What is your favourite film?
The Sound of Music and The Student Prince, (apologies to my neighbours while I am singing along!)
What is your favourite book?
I have recently become a fan of Bill Bryson but I also have a vast array of books relating to all things dog, ranging from theoretical and science based to the hilarious.
What is your favourite song?
Welcome to My World by Jim Reeves. It takes me right back to my childhood and I feel it conveys a little about my personality.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you?
Victoria Wood, I love her ability to find humour in everyday life.
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?
Possibly five minutes, on Radio 5 Live and local radio talking about safety regarding dogs and children and preventing bites.
- Name: Angela Pitman
- Job: Dog training instructor & behaviour consultant
- Born: Buckinghamshire
- Lives: Chester
- Education: Sutton Secondary School, Animal Care College Ascot, and a vast array of accredited courses and workshops which never stops.
- Family: Just me and my Jack Russell terrier
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