14/12/2018 - Latest News
For this blog we’ve decided NOT to write about the dogs. Instead, with this Q & A session we’ll give you a bit of an insight into the man behind the business. Sean Pickering
Q: How old were you when you knew you wanted to work with dogs?
A: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be with dogs. As a child I drove my parents to distraction asking for a dog. When they finally gave in and bought me a puppy I was the happiest boy in the world.
Q: Tell us about your first dog
A: My first pup was a Standard Schnauzer called Arnie. AKA Arnie Schnauzernegger. What a handsome beast he was! He taught me so much about training and caring for a dog.
The choice of breed was down to Mum and Dad – well Mum mostly. Finding a puppy these days is easy but back then the internet was in its infancy. The search for the right pup was done using a magazine called “The Dog Breeders Directory” and lots of telephone calls.
I can’t help thinking that if we had to use the same method these days, there’d be fewer puppy farms out there and maybe fewer dogs with problems. But maybe I’m just old fashioned.
I had to travel to Peterborough to meet the breeder before they would agree to sell me a pup. Vetting the owners is a sign of a responsible owner so I was glad to make the journey. When Arnie was 8 weeks old I was allowed to bring him home and begin our adventures together.
I’ve such happy memories of that dog. And I’ve dedicated my life as a dog trainer to helping other people build happy memories with their own dogs.
Q: Have you always been a dog trainer?
A: I have always had a dog of my own to be training. In my younger days, although my career involved dogs, I was not actually a trainer. Before I started Premier Dog Training in Romford I was a Police Officer. My career path led me to become one of only 16 Police Dog Legislation Officers within the Metropolitan Police.
It was a great job. I worked with local communities to help them understand and treat their pet dogs better. I devised and presented an interactive dog safety workshop for 9 and 10 year olds. And of course I would be called upon to help with situations where a dog was either in difficulty or causing problems. Because I had a good working knowledge of all breeds (not just GSD’s or Pit Bulls) I was able to read the dog’s body language and restore the peace without needing bite suits or grasp poles. I just had a slip lead and some sausages. And I never got bitten!
Q: Would you say that your first career has helped you become a better dog trainer?
A: Any of my colleagues who are professional dog trainers will agree with me when I say that the most difficult part of the job is not training dogs. Once you understand how dogs learn, they’re easy to teach. The biggest challenge of my job is helping worried, confused or frustrated dog owners to see the world through their dog’s eyes.
My police career taught me how to communicate with people who are anxious, stressed and close to the end of their tether. In my experience, a calm, open-minded dog owner will get the fastest results from training. So my first job is to help the owner understand why the dog is doing what it’s doing. Then we can work calmly and patiently to resolve the problem.
Q: What do you like most about being a dog trainer?
A: Helping people get the most out of their relationship with their dogs. It’s so fulfilling seeing people take my advice and being happy with the results. I also know that I am making the dogs happier.
Q: Which is your favourite dog training class to teach?
A: I really enjoy puppy classes. Seeing all that potential coming to life and knowing that the owners truly want the best possible life for their new family members.
I also like teaching agility classes. Such energy and such fun. The dogs love it and the owners always go away smiling and laughing. Bringing your dog to agility classes gives the same endorphin hit as a really good workout at the gym. It’s a great mood-booster.
Q: What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?
A: I’d like to build Premier Dog Training into a really strong brand. I’m planning on introducing more dog activities including Doggy Parkour, Canicross and Fitness classes.
What I really want to do though, is educate dog owners through TV work. I’d love to be Romford’s first celebrity dog trainer. You never know – they might even ask me to do Strictly Come Dancing!
Would you like Sean’s help to train your dog?
Premier Dog Training in Romford offers a wide range of dog training classes as well as 1-2-1 behaviour consultations and residential training courses.
Click on the links below for more information
Puppy training classes and home visits
Training classes for adult dogs
One on one dog training classes