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I'm Karen and I'm the founder of Dog School Nerja.
Dogs are my world and I've always been around them since I was a child. I had my first dog as a teenager - a German Shepherd called Max and have never been without a dog since then, and now live with my 4 dogs - 3 rescue dogs called Pip, Woody and Jess and a border terrier called Scout.
I'm originally from Scotland but began my professional career with dogs here in Spain. I volunteered in rescue kennels, fostered dozens of dogs and puppies, and assessed and trained dogs for adoption and rehoming, and set up a Europe-wide adoption network for a local rescue organisation.
I was lucky enough to be selected to attend The Dog's Trust International Training Programme in London in 2013 where I learned from some of the best in the business. Once back in Spain I began to study canine behaviour and attended practical courses in Málaga with The IMDT, and gained qualifications in professional pet care and dog training and behaviour.
I relocated to Scotland at the beginning of 2015 and set up a dog training centre which is now one of the most successful dog training companies in Scotland. Since then I've studied with The IMDT, The Dog Training College, The School of Canine Science and many other respected organisations, and attended seminars and workshops all over the world with some of the most respected canine behaviour experts. I also worked with assistance dogs and trained dogs for the disabled as well as developing a whole new course of classes for dogs from puppy to adulthood that's used by dozens of training schools in the UK.
I now live in Frigiliana and have opened the area's first ever ethical dog training school. I work with all kinds of breeds with different training needs but love a terrier! Having worked for many years with both Spanish and UK rescue organisations. I'm also a qualified Trick Dog Instructor have achieved several Champion Trick Dog titles with my border terrier Scout. I also trained in agility with my other border terrier Woody.
I'm proud to have been voted as Best Dog Trainer in the area where I lived for 6 years running, and to win Scottish Dog Trainer of The Year in 2020.
I've also recently been selected as part of a world-wide panel of experts dedicated to improving the oral health of dogs and educating owners on best practices for keeping their pet dog's teeth in great condition.
My passion is in helping people develop a deeper, more meaningful relationships with their dogs. A dog’s basic instincts haven't changed through the millennia and while we can, and often do, expect our dogs to adapt to fit with our lifestyles, it's important that we respect our dogs enough to realise that sometimes we may need to actually adapt ourselves to help them to thrive.
I believe that dogs will give more when they're enjoying learning and I only use positive reinforcement or reward based training methods. I'm constantly learning and expanding my knowledge when it comes to dogs and can promise that I will try any method that is best for the dog in front of me (every dog is different!), and give you all the information and instruction that I possibly can to be able to work with you to create a happy and fulfilled relationship with your dog and to show you how to work as a team.
I know how hard it can be to find a training class that is modern, up to date and fun and when I had my first dog I really struggled and ended up with an old-fashioned trainer that put both me and my dog in situations I wasn't comfortable with. I'll make sure both you and your dog can learn in an environment that's right and give you instruction that is easy to understand as well as being science based, proven techniques that I know will being you the success you are looking for!