Back in July I was approached by the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy and asked if I would consider becoming a mentor for students of their new UK-based course which was being launched in September 2016. I was honoured to be asked but rather daunted by the selection process I’d have to undertake…It involved completing a huge application form and essay, submitting hours of video footage of me working with dogs, asking for references from clients and vets and taking part in Skype interviews with established VSPDT trainers and then with Victoria herself. I decided to go for it and got on with preparing my application…along the way the European Coordinator, who is a well-respected trainer based here in the UK, asked if I would consider joining VSPDT not just as a mentor but as fully certified member of the training team! Now I was really terrified, there are only 14 dog trainers in the whole UK who’ve been selected to become part of Victoria’s team…I looked at who they were and just didn’t see myself on the same level – they were really great trainers!!…A few of those great trainers had followed the same path into dog training as I had (via COAPE) so our paths had crossed at various conferences and they encouraged me to go for it! I took a deep breath and 4 months later I’m delighted to announce that I made it! After an emotional phonecall with Victoria (she was great, I cried!) asking me to join her team, I got the email on Christmas Eve confirming my status as a Certified Victoria Stilwell Trainer. So now there are 15 VSPDT Dog Trainers in the UK and one of them is right here in Portsmouth – 2017 here we come!