Shortly after my husband, myself and our three cats moved into our first house, we decided to expand our family and get a dog. We opted for a Ridgeback puppy and named her Nikita a.k.a. "Josephine”, oblivious to how significant this name would turn out to be.


We soon realised we knew nothing about dogs and Nikita caught on quickly. She persistently demanded attention, pushed her boundaries, back chatted all the time, developed a keen interest in gardening (she arranged my husband’s precious indigenous bulb collection all the way up the driveway to welcome us home) and killed one of my beloved cats. As the months went on the list of misdemeanours got longer. She made my life miserable and had me in tears more often than I would like to admit. I was at a complete loss.


Yet, we were committed to make this work and did what so many desperate dog owners do – we turned to all the "experts" around us for advice. Family members, friends and dog owners at the training classes were generous with magic solutions, which mostly involved physical force and punishment. We even borrowed a book on solving canine problem behaviour, which Nikita promptly tore to shreds on our bed.


Needless to say, with all the advice and our desperate attempts to get her under control, we damaged her character and the trust relationship we had with her. Today, many years later I know better and Nikita has turned out amazingly fine with the exception of a few tiny issues.  


And so, after spending many years as a graphic designer in advertising and marketing, it was time for a career change. Considering my experience with Nikita, I decided to take on the complex world of canine behaviour with the aim of helping dog owners with appropriate solutions to problems they experience with their dogs.


I studied at the Ethology Academy under the late Prof Johannes Odendaal and completed the Basic Behaviour Course for Dogs in 2006, as well as the Advanced Behaviour Course for Dogs, with a distinction, the following year. I am currently studying for my Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour Management through PetSense (a Compass Education and Training Partner).


Based in Pretoria, I have been practising full time as a dog dog behaviour consultant since 2008 and have instructed dog training courses and classes in various categories since 2009.


I believe that as a behaviourist I can learn a lot from other professionals in the field and that if we all work together we can make a difference in many dogs’ lives. All over the world experts in canine behaviour are discovering and developing new ideas and methods to compassionately help a dog become the best companion it can be. I aspire to keep on learning from these great minds in order to equip dog owners with the knowledge and skills to train, handle and understand their dogs better.


All thanks to my beloved Nikita - the best teacher in dog behaviour and the finest canine companion anybody can ask for.


On the 10th of August 2013, a few days before Nikita’s 13th birthday, her old heart stopped beating. She died at home with all of us by her side. We miss her spirited, larger than life presence deeply every day and will never forget her.


Affiliations


Certified Student Member (No. 2929)


Certified member
(No. 10439036) of
The International Pet Professionals Guild


Committee member of The Animal Behaviour Consultants™© of Southern Africa