Meet the Team

I’m very lucky to have a fantastic group of people working for me at Standish Dog Trainer.  All of my team  are properly qualified in canine studies, animal behaviour, canine psychology and how dogs learn. They are all passionate about working with dogs, about the welfare of dogs and are committed to increasing their knowledge.

Kayleigh Holcroft
Hi I’m Kayleigh! I teach Twinkle Stars in our Wigan venue and assist at the Standish Dog Agility classes, I also teach KC Rally obedience. I graduated from Liverpool John Moores with BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour in 2011. As part of my ongoing learning, I’m currently studying the Higher Diploma in Canine Behaviour Management (Compass). Addionally, I have attended seminars and workshops including; Victoria Stillwell’s ‘Dog Smarts: Unleash Your Dog’s Intelligence’, IABTC Introduction to Clicker and Target Training workshop with Angela White achieving IABTC C&T1 certification and David Ryan’s ‘How to Change Predatory Chase Behaviour’ & ‘Dogs that Bite and Fight’.

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I have been showing dogs for many years and am a committee member of North West Labrador Retriever Club.
After seeing some of the dogs in the show ring being very worried about the judges quite firmly touching them and looking in their mouths, I wanted to make sure that the dogs experience this positively, so I now offer show handling and ring craft training using only positive reinforcement training methods! I also work as a dog walker, specialising in walking the more difficult dogs who need that extra support.
Amy Brown
Hello I’m Amy. I am currently studying the Extended Diploma in Small Animal Management as St Helens College and began volunteering at Standish Dog Trainer as part of my work experience for the course. I started by volunteering the agility classes and now volunteer in the KC Rally as well as the Twinkle Stars and Super Stars classes. I also assist with the scent work classes.
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I have attended the IABTC Introduction to Clicker and Target Training workshop with Angela White achieving IABTC C&T1 certification and the Dog Smarts-Unleash Your Dog’s Intelligence seminar with Victoria Stilwell.
I found Standish Dog Trainer when I completed Twinkle Stars and Super Stars with my Jack Russell-Poodle cross, Skeeter. Working for Jo has opened up a range of opportunities for me and provided me with a great deal of knowledge which I can use with my own dog and hopefully further in my career.
Natalie Ferguson
Hi my name is Natalie. I assist Kayleigh at the new Twinkle Stars classes after spending time observing and learning from Jo and the team. I originally met Jo at a Victoria Stilwell seminar and since then she has been a great inspiration as well as being supportive in helping me on my path to becoming a dog trainer. We also currently attend Standish Dog Trainer agility classes with our most recent addition to the family, Marvin the pug, and enjoy every minute of them!
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So here is my story so far…I graduated from University of Glasgow in 2007, gaining a BSc Hons degree in Zoology. As part of my final year I travelled to the Amazon rainforest for a Tropical Rainforest Ecology course which was definitely a life changing experience. I later travelled back to the Amazon, co-leading a team of 18 people to carry out vital research on the biodiversity of the areas we visited during our 2 month expedition. In addition to this I have also volunteered for organisations such as the RSPB, Glasgow City Council Water Vole Conservation Group and Calderglen Zoo where I later became a paid employee.

I relocated to Merseyside in 2010 to work for Cats Protection. Animal rescue and welfare have always been a huge passion of mine (I currently have 2 cats, 2 dogs and a bearded dragon, all of which were rescues) so to be part of a rescue centre was a dream come true. During my employment at CP I helped hand rear rejected kittens and foster others when we had no space at the centre. I also fostered dogs for the RSPCA, aiming to rehabilitate them back to good health and help find them loving new homes when they were ready. This was until I adopted our first dog Ruby who needed a lot of help to cope with her new environment so we stopped all the fostering and concentrated on Ruby instead. Ruby motivated me to learn more about dog behaviour/training as I wanted to help her through her concerns and be a better dog owner “Mum” for her. From here my interests grew and inspired me to start my own pet services business, Ruby’s Walkies in Newton-le-willows. Since starting the business I have continued my learning through various workshops and courses. I have attended Victoria Stilwell’s seminars on “The Power of Positive Training” and “Dog Smarts – Unleash Your Dog’s Intelligence”, David Ryan’s seminar on “How to change predatory chase behaviour in dogs” and Dr Rachel Richards’ seminar on “Speak Dog”. Most recently I attended an IABTC Introduction to Clicker and Target Training workshop with Angela White which I then took further to become IABTC C&T1 certified and will be continuing with this to enable me to become an approved C&T instructor. I am also canine first aid and CPR trained and a qualified Dog Groomer which I practice whilst working alongside Doggie Divas in Newton-le-willows when I am not out walking dogs or training.

My learning will always continue as I believe it is important to keep up to date with new research and I look forward to working with the Standish Dog Trainer team who will teach me all that they know too.

Emma Hill

Hi, I’m Emma. I assist Jo in Twinkle Stars and Super Stars classes. I really enjoy helping people create a rewarding relationship with their dogs.
I studied Animal management at college and went on to University to gain a Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare; Completing my Dissertation in a Canine Hydrotherapy unit, focusing on body language to assess the dogs’ emotional state.
During my time studying I worked part time at a boarding kennels. I’m currently studying for an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour management with Compass Education.

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In 2009 I set up a dog walking business Muddy Mutt Adventures and have loved every minute of it. I work with a variety of dogs that each have very different personalities, this has been extremely valuable for learning. While working I’ve put a lot of my spare time into continued learning. I’ve attended many workshops and seminars. Gained my IABTC C&T 1 award, this I achieved with my lovely old golden retriever Mango, she was 11 at the time and a lot of the work was new to her, she loved it. In 2014 I attended Clicker Expo a 3 day conference on the science and application of clicker training. Recently I’ve attended a bite prevention weekend, Recall and Chase weekend and Mindful Handler weekend. I am also canine first aid trained.
I currently own Autumn a lovely Working Golden Retriever, who we brought home in December 2014. I’m really enjoying training Autumn, she has achieved her Kennel Club Bronze Good Citizen Dog Award and we are working towards silver and gold. We also attend regular rally and agility training at Standish Dog Trainer. We previously had another beautiful working Golden retriever called Mango who I took on as a 7 year old, she needed lots of training and help dealing with the world, she enjoyed scent work. Having the two girls together taught me about managing the needs of two dogs in one household.