Kimber and Sharon
Would you like your dog to be a model employee? Or do you want to train a puppy or need a trusted walker? Sharon Jennings is W6’s canine expert
When she acquired her beagle Kimber, little did Sharon Jennings know that he would inspire a new career. Kimber, it turned out, had ‘issues’. ‘At 3am I’d be googling canine behaviour; I was so fascinated by the subject that I decided to become a trainer.’
Sharon duly enrolled at the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behaviour. ‘It was six months of intensive work, but the teaching was superb.’ Having graduated with Distinction, she now runs The Office Dog, a business with three strings to its bow: puppy training, dog walking and the bespoke service that gives the company its name.
The Office Dog Skills Program is based on the premise that working in an office shouldn’t preclude anyone from spending time with their pet. ‘That’s what stopped me. It was only going freelance that enabled me to have Kimber,’ recalls Sharon. ‘Previously, working nine-tofive, I hadn’t had enough time to devote to a dog.
‘I find out everything about the client’s dog and then devise a training plan tailored to age, temperament and behaviour. That will include activities to keep the dog entertained and well behaved on a commute and in an office environment. Clients can implement the plan themselves or I take sessions myself.’
For her one-to-one puppy training, Sharon uses a set four-week curriculum that covers all the obedience fundamentals but goes a step further. ‘I teach clients how to communicate and build a trusting relationship with their pups. Also, I introduce fun games that encourage the dog to want to be near the owner – that’s crucial for leash walking and recall – and to chill out on a mat.’
Recently, Sharon has begun dog walking (by taking only one at a time she also incorporates some training basics) and, in the future, she aims to consult with businesses to make their offices canine-friendly.
‘I’d wanted a dog for ages, but couldn’t because I worked full-time and using walkers and sitters simply wasn’t practical. The Office Dog is designed to solve that problem. I hope it will help other dog-lovers too.’