Southampton Dog Training Team

Sandra - Dog Trainer

Hi, I’m Sandra, head and founder of AA Dog Training School (now The National Dog Training Academy). Married to Mac, my children left home many years ago and I now have two beautiful grandchildren.

Mac and I live on an old Hovercraft on the Hamble with Rolo, a lively, Flat Coated Retriever who was an amazing pet Gundog, but getting a bit old now, so we’re letting him have an easy life. Rolo is our only dog at the moment as we lost lovely Doris, a rescue Great Dane, who was deaf and partially sighted. Doris taught me so, so, much and I miss her every day.

My next dog I’m sure will find me when the time is right.

I can’t believe how my life has changed since I decided to earn a living as a dog trainer. My only regret is that I didn’t have the courage to do it earlier. Although I hope I have lots of time left to make lots more life changing decisions, to date, this has to be one of the best decisions ever.

Building The National Dog Training Academy has been so exciting and worthwhile. My team are amazing and we strive to be the very best we can, winning Best of Business 2017 & 2018, Best Dog Trainers in UK 2018/2019, Top 3 Southampton 2017 – 2020, every year. That’s just a few of them and we are very proud but that doesn’t stop us constantly trying to change and improve.

I have a real passion for training other people to become dog trainers and helping them to follow their dream. So if you feel that’s for you, get in touch for a chat and check out the information on our page.

I began working life as a State Registered Nurse, and moved very quickly into the voluntary sector as a health care professional where I completed an MSc. I had a short spell as vice Chair for a local Citizens Advice Bureau. A brief overview of my experience includes, improving services, developing new ones, training medical and social care professionals, writing NVQ training materials and finally into senior management in the public sector.

My varied roles are too vast to mention, but throughout it all, what I really wanted was to work with dogs. Now, I cannot understand how or why it took me so long.

Finally, in 2010, after some life changing events, and a puppy that was making me cry, I took my opportunity. I discovered Steve Mann and took two of his courses and a year-long mentorship.

When I set out on the road, it was lonely. It was scary. Very few people who were on my course ever achieved their dream. That’s why I am so passionate, not just about the training we do for dogs and handlers, but training and supporting others to become dog trainers.

Offering Train the Trainer courses and a license opportunity seemed to be a great way to do just that at the same time as ensuring quality, professional & effective, dog & puppy training services are available far and wide across the UK.

Since my initial training  I have undertaken many dog training courses, (too many to note here), had some amazing opportunities, including training with Phillipa Williams one of the gundog performers at Crufts and Richard Curtis who performs in Heelwork to Music at Crufts.

Amongst my portfolio is a Diploma in Canine Studies and a Professional Dog Instructors certificate through Cambridge Institute of Dog Training and Behaviour. Continuing professional development is very important to me.

We, as a team regularly attend training workshops, conferences and seminars and are always looking for new ideas to improve our training methods. Our studies are not all about dogs, We feel it is very important to undertake adult learning training too. Being a dog trainer is very much about teaching people.

Dogs add such value to life and I have seen the impact they have on people who are ill or disabled. If you would like to read our story about Daniel, who had Huntington’s Disease, you can do that here. Both Daniel and Huntington’s Disease are very close to my heart.

Start your own Profitable Dog Training School

Due to huge demand we are now looking to develop our existing operations through new strategic licensing opportunities with the right individuals.