In this Blog we met Louise Williamson, it’s safe to say Louise has many strings to her bow including growing a successful dog training company, Mum, wife and helping with two dog charities. We'll explore with Louise her journey from starting her business to a recent rebranding, juggling family life as well as growing business South Coast Dog Training. Finally, we tease out of Louise her top 3 tips for puppy owners.
We started off asking Louise how it all started?
“I used to live in Buckinghamshire and I got a job with Hearing Dogs for Deaf people in 2006 and this was the start of my dog career. After a move to Bracklesham Bay I got a job with Canine partners in 2013 based in Midhurst. Louise found juggling being a Mum and working in Midhurst was to much of a challenge so started working at Downland Veterinary Group Chichester so she could achieve a better work life balance. Although Louise enjoyed working at the vet’s she missed the hands on dog training so took a leap and started Puppy School Chichester that same year.
Louise was already Hearing Dog trained through her previous role but wanted to establish her credibility so trained with Puppy School and also registered with the ABTC (Animal Behaviour Training Council). She noticed because of her connections through the vets she was quickly able to connect with dog owners who needed her help. Puppy School Chichester grew very quickly as a result. Putting her business head on Louise noticed a lot of dog owners travelling from Emsworth. Spotting a need in the market she quickly established a venue in Emsworth and now runs classes from there.
Within a year Louise was already running two busy venues and also fell pregnant around the same time. Determined to make the dog training a success she delivered the classes with another trainer whilst pregnant and returned just two weeks after giving birth. Louise went on to say “I still work for Downland Veterinary Group which is a great way to meet new clients and I enjoy working there and run their puppy parties at various different branches.
Tell us about the work you do for charities.
The founder of Hounds for Heroes Allen Parton was delivering a talk at the Downland Vets AGM, over a drink after his speech him and Louise got chatting and out of nowhere he said “we really need a puppy trainer can you help?” Louise, nervous at first, explained her business was growing and that it would be difficult for her to take it on. They finally agreed it would be part-time and could fit it around her other commitments so Louise jumped at the chance as she missed working for a charity which she still does to this day. Based in Petersfield Hounds for Heroes provides assistance dogs across the U.K. Their ‘mission is to provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK Armed Forces and Emergency Services. They aim to provide help and practical support leading to an enhanced quality of life. The charity places dogs with people who need assistance picking things up, fetching items and confidence building to help people around the shops for example.
The charity was founded by Allen Parton who was injured in armed combat and was in a coma. They had a dog called Endal who played a significant role in his recovery. “He has written a book called Endal which will have you in tears” recalled Louise, his work in Louise’s eyes is the true meaning of charity.
You’ve recently re-branded, why was that?
“We’ve now got 8 venues including Chichester Secure Dog Activity Park and our capability to cover more areas of training has increased, so we not only do puppies but adults as well now”. As a result of the growth over the years Louise has rebranded to South Coast Dog Training School. “We do levels and run a lot of day time courses as well which attracts people who find they have time during the day to spend on dog training.
What qualifications do you have and what do you specialise in if anything?
“I am a qualification addict” admits Louise. “Puppy School have their own courses and I recently enjoyed completing Shy guys and Teenage Tearaways” delivered by Gwen Bailey a leading expert in dog behaviour and training. I have also done Scent Work U.K and Gun Dog training recently”.
All of these qualifications are leading to South Coast Dog Training School being able to offer a lifetime experience for dogs and their owners. “All my trainers specialise in a particular area for me it’s assistance dogs, I also volunteer for Dog Aid where I mentor clients to train their own dogs to be assistance dogs ”
Finally, we asked Louise for her three top tips for puppy owners.
Tip 1 If your puppy has something in its mouth don’t chase it around the house, swap it with a treat.
Tip 2 Teach the settle, they don’t have to be on the go constantly
Tip 3 Consistency,continue to work with your dog and repeat what you are looking for in their behaviour.
Louise has a very bubbly and warm personality and clearly works very hard to make her and her customers journey a success, we love having her at Chichester Secure Dog Activity Park and wish her every success. If you want to find out more about Louise you can head to our Trainers page and find the link to her Website.