Role at OhMyDog! I started working for OhMyDog in August 2018, as part of an internship for my BSc. It was immediately obvious that OhMyDog's vision was a great fit with my ideas on how to run a dog business. Customer demand kept exploding, so I jumped on board as Laure-Anne, who could no longer handle the work alone. That is when we decided to continue OhMyDog as a partnership.
My tasks as OMD's co-owner focus mainly on strategy, planning and management. I also continue to be a group instructor for our group classes, as well as giving private dog training lessons in our clients' homes.
Credentials: Since 2015, I have been avidly keeping up with the latest relevant research papers, evidence-based books, and seminars on dogs and dog behaviour. I also steered as much of my MBO (Animal Management) and BSc (Animal health and management) as possible towards that topic. As part of my learning programme, I have followed internships with, among others: the police dog centre, a Rottweiler breeder/trainer, pet stores and a service dog organisation.
I am also a graduate with the Hondenspecialist certification program in behaviour therapy and puppy coaching. These studies are based on modern techniques and solid insights into dog behaviour, which is what attracted me to the program.
Daily work: I am responsible for co-managing OhMyDog, which I combine with giving group and one-on-one lessons. These one-on-one sessions can centre around putting the advice given during a behaviour advice and evaluation session into practice, or designing a tailor-made programme focusing on the students' learning goals.
Personal experience: 5 years ago, one of the dogs I was walking needed a new home so we fostered her 'temporarily', but we adopted her. By giving her the space and guidance she needed, this problem improved so much that she not only learnt to interact with other dogs without a problem, but she even became a very apt communicator with other dogs, which still fills me with pride. My experience with her has given me insights (and understanding for the owners) that I can use during my private training sessions. Unfortunately, Freya passed away recently. I now have a Golden retriever, who was originally destined to become an assistance dog (Buddy dog for PTSD patients) but did not make the last suitability tests because of her fragile temperament. Guiding her and sharing our lives with her is also an invaluable learning experience.