Meet the Team
All team members are working on or towards the Kennel Club Instructors Accreditation Scheme
Rebecca Keattch KCAI (CD) B.A.Hons, V.N., Dip.CVM
Level III Dog Training Instructor & Behaviour Consultant
Head Trainer and Team Leader
Hello and welcome to the Pets In Partnership Team. My training and years of working with animals in different parts of the world and in different areas has eventually lead me to create Pets In Partnership.
One of the big issues I noticed as I worked in kennels, rescue homes, as a Veterinary Nurse, Trainer etc. is the fact that as pet owners we have numerous services that we need to tap into, be it the vets, boarding places, grooming services, training & behaviour help plus some of us need special services such as hydrotherapy, Assistance Certificates so on and so forth; and that from all these service providers we can find ourselves having to sort through more and more information that can at times become conflicting and, most of all, confusing.
Pets In Partnership's central focus is helping with pet behaviour issues and providing dog training services to a high standard. Around this, not only do we provide complimentary services through diversely qualified staff, but we liaise closely with different professionals from vets to boarding kennel owners and other specialist trainers with the sole purpose of interconnecting to ensure pet owners receive what they need and are supported by a good network.
My degree is in Human Psychology and Eng Lit. I worked as a Veterinary Nurse for 5 years both in general practice and a cancer referral hospital. Other aspects of my working history has involved wildlife, farm animals and horses.
I now predominantly work with dogs and cats and have been working as an Instructor and Consultant for over 11 years not including the early days spent in training. I originally started out in training with The Central School of Dog Training, and then went through an intensive phase of training with the Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour as well as attending various other workshops run by people such as Sarah Heath & Vicky Hall, the BVNA amongst others.
Its a never ending path of learning with our pets and I continue to do so from people with amazing experience to share and from my own numerous four legged friends. I am passionate about working with owners and pets together to help over come the hurdles that arise.
On a personal basis, I always have a combination of cats and dogs within my home life and I currently train my dogs in Obedience and Working Trials to compete.
We are always here as a starting point to help you find what you need.
Kath Winckless, NVQ Level 2 Instructor
Deputy Head Trainer and Head Agility Trainer
My story really starts with a Chocolate Labrador called Daisy who I rehomed from a friend at 7 months old, having sadly originally come from a puppy farm. I commenced training with her immediately and solving the problems that she came with taught me a great deal. Achieving the Bronze, Silver and Gold Good Citizens Medal Tests with her gave me a great deal of pride after our early journey together. It proved to me what can be done and how these dogs can be helped with just a bit of dedication and patience. It was fascinating and wonderful also teaching my three children how to get the best out of Daisy as well. She is and will always be the reason I got a love and understanding of the canine world and is how I came to be a member of the Pets In Partnership team.
Zara, my Weimaraner was the next arrival to join our family, a breed of my dreams since a child, with whom I have trained in Working Trials predominantly and some Competition Obedience. She is a very demanding dog but she has always picked things up very quickly, even the socks and childrens toys! Most recently, in trots Ted, our black Chihuhua now 2yrs old who has already competed at Crufts with me in the obreedience finals 2015, which was so much fun, plus our team came 4th.
Having been a teacher all my working life it felt very natural to transfer my skills into dog training and behaviour problem solving. I feel privileged to share my passion for dog training with others and to be able to help get owners and their dogs through difficult times and develop a stronger relationship.
Karen Foster, NVQ III
Office Manager, Sub Instructor for Pet Dog, Competition Obedience and Rally Obedience classes
My parents had a couple of dogs whilst I was growing up, but it wasn’t until the youngest of our four children reached her mid-teens that my husband and I decided to get a puppy. So at the end of 2010 along came Max, an ever so slightly insane Chocolate Labrador, to join our family of four kids and two cats. I took Max to Pets In Partnership for training when he was 7 months old and it wasn’t long before I was well and truly hooked on all things dog.
At Pets In Partnership Max and I worked our way through the Kennel Club Good Citizen awards achieving the gold in 2012. In early 2012 we joined the Competition Obedience class, loved it, and began competing, by the end of the year we had qualified for Discover Dogs at Earls Court. The following season bought more success in the obedience ring and we won out of beginners. I started helping out in the pet dog classes at the end of 2012 and I love the interaction with so many different people and their dogs and each ‘eureka’ moment is so special. Whilst I am new to the world of dogs I am loving it, the challenges, the learning, the new experiences and feel so very lucky to have been given this opportunity and I am privileged to be learning from such great lead instructors. I am a student member of the KCAI and am currently studying for a diploma in canine psychology and behaviour and look forward to gaining more experience in the future.
Rebecca had me marked for the role of office manager, a position which has taken time and patience to bring into existence and has finally been a real step forward for our team. After working as a dispensing technician in a pharmacy for over 10 years, the timing was perfect to step into the office at Pets in Partnership in November 2014 with the arrival of the on site office.
Pat Sykes, NVQ II
Part Time Receptionist
My working life has involved clerical and shop management roles over the years, often working with members of the public. Having always had a multitude of animals in my personal life, taking on the role of receptionist here at Pets in Partnership has felt home from home for me. At this time my menagerie includes dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and a hamster and it is so nice to be able to bring my Cockerpoo, Holly, to work with me.
Pat Handfield, Competition Obedience Judge
Head Competition Obedience Trainer and Advanced Pet Dog Trainer
As many of us do, I started training dogs through needing to take one of my first pet dogs to classes for some help. It did not take long for me to become hooked into everything about training dogs, working with their different personalities, seeing what you can achieve and enjoying the special relationship you get with a dog. I trained in Working Trials and the Good Citizens Medal Test Scheme, but it was Obedience that became my passion and I have been competing for over 30 years. I have competed with my dogs through from the starting place of pre-beginners up to Class C category where I am now. I have judged and stewarded all over the country.
Whilst I am still competing, what I also love now is helping others with their dogs, both for general training and for achieving success in the competition rings. I work with all dogs, all shapes and sizes and that's what makes training fascinating, the different techniques that each dog and handler need to develop. From long years of ownership I additionally have a very in depth understanding of Border Collies.
Anita De Klerk
Sub Contractor for Gun Dog Training
As a child I was lucky enough to grow up with Spaniels and Terriers and developed an interest in training animals from a young age. I was rarely fazed by any challenge that a training issue threw my way and this allowed me to start exploring the psychology of training animals. I spent 20 years working in the horse world in various guises but always maintained an interest in training and competing dogs in Obedience and in the shooting field.
Some years ago I was given the opportunity to become involved in a local syndicate shoot, even with my background and experience it was daunting entering this 'old school' world, even more so as a woman who dared believe she could train a Gun Dog! The first season I spent proving myself and proving that my dog was up to the job. I now act as amateur Game Keeper for the shoot and with my dogs, assist in all of the activities required, from feeding and rearing the birds in the off season, to organising the beaters for shoot days and joining the beating line with my own dogs both at our own shoot and others to which we are invited.
I currently share my life with a Springer Spaniel, a Collie x GSD, a Collie and a Terrier. All are involved in the keeping duties for the shoot and I have successfully worked several non-Gun Dog breeds in the shooting field over the past 10 years.
Dog Training Instructor, Agility Instructor, GCMT co-ordinator, "Kids Safe and Sound" co-ordinator
11 years ago I researched many different breeds when I was planning to get my first dog and finally discovered that the dog who would most suit our life style was a Labradoodle, a breed I had never previously heard of. After months of tracking down a reputable breeder and travelling to County Durham, Sam arrived home. As a first time owner I wasn't sure what to do when Sam started to throw some interesting things my way so I sought the help and advice of professionals. It turned out that I too had issues that needed to be addressed and that not all the problems we had were Sam's fault - I now call this 'handler error'.
With a lot of hard work and perseverence from myself, Sam and my family of 5, he became a well behaved well mannered companion. Sam bought new meaning to the word chase, trains being a favourite. I learnt a great deal in the process of fixing this problem. To my surprise I found that I liked working with Sam, going to classes became a fun and enjoyable way of spending our time together. We encountered Agility, Heelwork to Music, Working Trials and Formal Obedience amongst our activities and Sam gained his Gold Good Citizens Award. Through Sam my two daughters became smitten with dogs and dog training which led to the arrival of Sooty, a miniature Labradoodle and Sweep, a Cockerpoo. I decided to learn more so studied a home learning course on Canine Psychology. A whole world of information was out there just waiting to be learnt. I discovered more and more about how problems can be avoided and how certain breed instincts need to be channelled.
I became involved with a couple of dog training clubs and was then invited into the Pets In Partnership team in 2009. What I love is helping people meet the natural needs and instincts of their dog and while being a dog owner is not always entirely peaceful and harmonious, like life, it's a work in progress.
Sarah Ward, NVQ in Animal Care
Sub Dog Training Instructor
I originally wanted to become a guide dog trainer so started to work temporarily at Sorata Kennels which I couldn't bring myself to leave. This was a large boarding kennels as well as a breeding and showing kennels, exporting dogs abroad. We also provided rescue services. I worked there for 7 years until I eventually came to Edgewood Veterinary Group where I am Office Manager, a very fulfilling job dealing with all sorts of situations and people.
Asides from ferrets and cats I currently have 2 German Shepherds and a JRT X Pug. My first personal activities with dogs was to show them and I initially started with somebody else's Cavalier. I then went on to show my German Shepherd Dream, and we competed at Crufts twice.
Pheobe, her daughter is my comedy dog, always getting into scrapes and being naughty - she has never grown up! I am also simply enjoying life with my newest, youngest German Shepherd, Leela. Most recently I have been challenged with switching between handling my large dogs and a tiny rescued puppy which is by all accounts a Pug X Jack Russell Terrier which is an interesting experience. With a family and busy work life I have not been able to continue showing, however my involvement of many many years with Pets In Partnership allows me to continue developing my skill set and just to have some time around dogs in general. They are a huge love of mine and with photography as a hobby, needless to say I have hundreds of photos of dogs everywhere.
Lead Dog Training Instructor & Tricks Night Trainer
Despite having worked with and owned animals for most of my life, family and work commintments meant that I had to wait until far later than I would have wanted to own my own dog. Luckily time constraints finally relaxed enough to allow me to do justice to dog ownership and my Golden Retriever, Amber, became a much loved member of our household.
Being a very sport orientated person, I quickly set out to find a training centre where I could try out a wide variety of the various dog sports available. This led to my first contact with Pets In Partnership. We started with puppy classes, moving on through the Intermediate and Advanced levels and, luckily for me, Amber has proved a very capable and enthusiastic learner, earning her Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold award by the time she was 18 months old. We then started trying our hand at some sports; Agility, Tracking, Heelwork to Music and Competition Obedience... we loved them all! Although we still do all of them in one way or another for fun, we are currently competing in Competition Obedience and Heelwork to Music and despite her relative youth, Amber is now climbing steadily up the ranks in both sports.
In 2014 I was invited to join the PIP team and am now enjoying helping to instruct the Pet Dog classes, I am also having enormous fun teaching the Tricks Night classes each month.
Lead & Sub Dog Training Instructor and Lead Rally Obedience trainer
My life with dogs started in 1983 with a borrowed mongrel who got me hooked. In 1987 I got my first Shepherd and started to compete in Obedience, he was a big challenge and tought me a lot. I started helping out at Ramsden dog club in 1986 and became a commitee member of Benfleet Working Trials club in 1988. In 1999 I aquired my second Shepherd with whom I trained in Agility.
I became so fasinated by the dogs that I intermittantly attended courses and seminars with trainers inculding Roger Mugford, Sylvia Bishop, John Rogerson and Paul Cook. In 2007 I took on Shadow, a Malamute, who swiftly brought me to the doors of Pets in Partnership with his desire to hang off of horses tails! He is now an old man taking life easy at home. 2011 saw the arrival of Dodge, a lovely laid back German Shepherd, we have great fun competing at Obedience shows together.
I formally became part of the Pets In Partnership team at the end of 2014.
Dog Training Assistant and Sub Tricks Night Trainer
I began training my dog as an 8 year old girl. My parents bought me a fairly laid back puppy and I was excited to be able to bring him up having already been working with our older dog, a Labradoodle named Sam. Along came Sooty, a miniature Labradoodle, and he has kick started what I hope to be a very long career with animals, especially dogs. Sooty and I have trained in Pet Dog classes, Agility, Working Trials and Heelwork to Music since 2006. My family also own a Cockerpoo called Sweep, who is the exact opposite of Sooty, but they get on like a house on fireand it's always fun to work with them both.
A highlight of having my dog was when I qualified for Crufts in 2011 in Freestyle Heelwork to Music, despite having to pull him out of the competition due to his slight nervousness in crowded areas. This was a huge achievement for us both as he isn't very motivated to do any work, so just getting him to wake up is a bit of an effort!
I have helped the team at PIP since I got Sooty, starting off with little things like heling to set up for events, this turned into volunteering on a weekly basis from 2013. I have recently stepped up into the role of Sub Instructor on the monthyl Tricks Night classes and they are a real pleasure to do. I enjoy helping people understand and communicate with their dogs and this goes hand in hand with the line of work I would like to do when I finish school.
Dog Training Assistant
Although I grew up with a German Shepherd and have previously owned a pet line Golden Retriever, my experience with serious dog training only started five years ago when I got Maxwell, a working line Golden Retriever. As a working dog he requires a lot to keep him both mentally and physically occupied, and being a bright, energetic and headstrong boy, he presented a real challenge in his formative years. I have been immensely lucky to have worked with the other trainers at Pets In Partnership who have always been there to help steer the right course with him, through all levels of Pet Dog classes, Working Trials, Gun Dog and extensive Competition Obedience training. Maxwell and I have also worked with some other very experienced trainers such as Lorraine Bennett, Jenny Lunn and Gary and Caroline Martin.
Maxwell has achieved his Bronze, Silver and Gold Kennel Club Good Citizen Awards and Bronze and Silver Gun Dog Awards. We now compete in Novice and A classes on the Competition Obedience circuit and were privileged to be selected for the Southern Britain inter-regional team competing at Crufts 2015 where Maxwell and I managed to be placed second. It was a nerve wracking but exciting day and one I would love to repeat.
I hope one day to be able to impart the same level of knowledge and help to other dog owners that I have been fortunate enough to receive from the team here at PIP