South West London

News, events, tips and advice on SW London

Archive for September, 2012

Best Local Business – Winkie Spiers, dog trainer and behaviourist

Winkie Spiers, South West London Dog Trainer

As any new puppy owner (including our CEO Lee James Pendleton) will know, training a young dog to be sociable, calm and well behaved takes time, skill and a thorough understanding of animals.  As most dog owners are hard pressed to achieve all three of these things, a dog trainer is a must.

Introducing Winkie Spiers is an established Battersea dog trainer, pet behaviour expert and chairperson of Pet Dog Trainers of Europe.  Winkie dedicates her time to working intensively with pets and their owners, ironing out the problems unique to each case and building the foundations for a successful relationship.  Doing so inevitably takes hard work and insight and we spoke to Winkie about what it takes to be a dog trainer.

1.       What inspired you to take up dog training professionally?

I grew up with dogs and horses so the choice to become a professional came naturally in a way.  However, after years in a corporate role, the turning point came with Dennis,  my own terrier, who had had a difficult life and presented many problems.  I spoke to a number of professional dog trainers about Dennis, but couldn’t agree with the suggestions they made, and this led me to research dog behaviour for myself.

2.       What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

It has to be facing the ignorance daily which surrounds dogs and dog ownership and can lead to cruelty, both direct and accidental.

3.       Is there anything dog owners are especially surprised to learn?

It has been proven scientifically that dogs are not pack animals – a misconception that the media causes many people to believe.  Dogs are social, just like people, and don’t respond to stern treatment as well as people think.  Like people, dogs can behave badly for many complex reasons – teenage hormones included!  Another thing people are surprised about is the amount of sleep and mental stimulation growing dogs need – puppies should rest for around 16-18 hours a day.

4.       Have you found that your training helps owners as well as dogs?

My clients really learn a lot from our training sessions – training a dog involves, to some extent, training their owner, too!  It can be difficult for owners sometimes to be told to change the way they treat their pets.

Winkie Spiers, South West London Dog Trainer

5.       How do you feel about South West London as a home for dogs?

People sometimes think the city is a terrible place for dogs, but London dogs really don’t lose out-in fact, they’re often better adjusted and more sociable than their country counterparts!  South West London is incredibly green, with plenty of parks and open spaces, and what’s more is a very dog-friendly part of the world.  As in any city owners have to be vigilant with their pets and ensure they get enough exercise, but a Battersea dog really does have everything they need on their doorstep!

6.       If the Northcote Road area was a dog, what kind would it be?

It would have to be a terrier-interesting, quirky, independent and tenacious!

7.       What one tip should all dog owners know?

I would say the most important tip is not to buy a dog based on appearance alone-choose your pet to suit your lifestyle instead!  Dogs are bred for a purpose, and whatever your pet’s individual personality, characteristics of the breed will shine through.  For example, Labradors and retrievers instinctively head for mud and water, so they aren’t the pets to buy if your home is white and spotless!

James Pendleton’s charity Cash Cube takes Bellevue Fair by storm

James Pendleton Estate Agents and its Social Media team, headed by Melanie Simon, was very proud to take part in the Bellevue Fair – Wandsworth Common on Saturday, 15th September 2012.

It was a huge success, the Bellevue Resident’s Association has never seen the Road so busy and we were blessed by wonderful weather!

We were delighted to learn that the James Pendleton ‘Cash Cube’ was one of the fair’s major attractions this year. A Crystal Maze style test of stealth and speed, the ‘Cash Cube’ gave participants 30 seconds to catch as many flying tickets as possible to be in the running for a fantastic cash prize.

James Pendleton Cash Cube Challenge- Bellevue Fair Wandsworth Common

James Pendleton Cash Cube Challenge- Bellevue Fair Wandsworth Common

The ‘Cash Cube’ was open to all and an amazing time was had by children and adults alike (the James Pendleton team included)! As the queue grew throughout the day, the team saw a multitude of interesting techniques being used to catch the coloured tickets, with approaches ranging from extremely methodical to singularly eccentric.

James Pendleton Cash Cube Challenge- Bellevue Fair Wandsworth Common

James Pendleton Cash Cube Challenge- Bellevue Fair Wandsworth Common

At 4pm, James Pendleton’s owners, Lee James Pendleton and Lucy Pendleton were thrilled to award the winner, James McLarin, £300 cash and runners-up David Ramsdale and Anna Jacobs £50.

James Pendleton Cash Cube winner - Bellevue Fair Wandsworth Common

James Pendleton Cash Cube winner – Bellevue Fair Wandsworth Common

We have raised £150 which was donated to James Pendleton’s “LivetoGive” charity organisation which supports Action For Children, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Perthes Association and Trinity Hospice.

Other attractions at the fair included a dog show for local pets and their owners, live music, a plethora of children’s entertainment and stalls selling a range of local wares from boutique clothing and accessories to dog biscuits!

This year’s fair has once again affirmed Wandsworth Common’s status as a thriving hub for local trade as well as a warm and vibrant neighbourhood.

An outstanding effort by every business on Bellevue Road so congratulations to them all, roll on next year.

Best Local Businesses: The Wine Tasting Shop in Balham

Wine Tasting Shop

The Wine Tasting Shop in Balham

Tucked away along Balham’s Hildreth Street, the Wine Tasting Shop is perfect for novice and established wine connoisseurs alike.  The Shop is well known in the area for its wine tasting evenings, which invite budding sommeliers to learn the basics of wine tasting, compare old and new world tipples and experiment with food and wine pairings.  Wines are also available to buy or taste at any time in store.  Julia, Devon and the team are very happy to share their expertise and the James Pendleton team don’t hesitate to recommend the Shop for a guaranteed journey of discovery at every visit.

We asked Julia Michael, owner of The Wine Tasting Shop, about her experience of living and working in Balham:

1.  What is the Wine Tasting Shop’s ethos?

Our focus is on wines which have undergone as little intervention as possible in the vineyard and winery.  We identify small scale, non-invasive wine producers and aim to meet as many makers as possible.  Our customers can find out the background story of every wine-something you’d never encounter in the supermarket!  Another aim of ours is to encourage our customers to try new and unusual wines-it’s amazing how often people are pleasantly surprised!

2.  What for you is the most rewarding thing about your wine tasting evenings?

It has to be seeing people realise that anyone can be interested in wine!  We try to demystify what can be seen as an exclusive pastime, and it’s great when people begin to gain confidence and start to explore some of the very many wines out there.

3.  What one wine fact most surprises people?

Just how little money goes into making mass produced supermarket wines; for a £5 bottle of wine, the amount spent on actual wine production is between 2 and 5p, with the rest going on bottling, marketing etc.  We like to offer real, good quality alternatives to supermarket wine, where more than pennies has gone into what you will be drinking!

4.  What is your experience of working alongside Hildreth Street market in Balham?

Hildreth Street has a fantastic atmosphere-everyone looks out for each other and there is a strong community feel which is hard to come by in a city as large as London.

5.  What do you feel the future of wine is in South West London?

I can see a great future for wine tasting in South West London; we’re seeing a great influx of people of all ages and generations with a real interest in the subject, which is fantastic as our goal has always been to make quality wines more accessible.

6.  If Hildreth Street was a wine, what would it be?

Most definitely a natural wine with no additives, no pretentions and a fantastic flavour!