South West London

News, events, tips and advice on SW London

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!

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