How The Canine College builds a lifetime bond between dogs and owners

Samantha Rawson is Ireland’s leading dog trainer and behaviourist.

She is known throughout the country for her television and regular radio appearances on RTÉ’s Ray D’arcy Show  & ‘How to be good with money.and as a speaker at groups and clubs. But those who have benefited from her knowledge or who have been entertained by her stories, may be surprised by Samantha’s own description of her role.

“I would describe my role as a mediator between two species who speak different languages,” Samantha says.

It is this approach which makes Samantha’s work at the Canine College unique.

Her mission, she explains, is to help dogs and their owners develop a mutually respectful relationship based on trust. “You develop this relationship through open, clear, honest communication and compromise,” she says. “I advise never to confront and compound the situation: I prefer to distract and diffuse.”

Samantha is a champion trainer and dog expert with over 27 years professional experience. She studied applied animal behaviour at the University of Southampton and Communication and counselling skills at NUI Maynooth. Samantha is a certified canine behaviour and training consultant.

She a member of the Irish Kennel club and is an approved obedience and working trials & agility judge. Samantha is also a  member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (UK), the Canine Behaviour Training Society (UK) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Ireland.

Her business started in Dublin in 1993, as a pet care service, and, when the recession took its toll, she moved to Thomastown, Kilkenny, in 2011.

The move gave Samantha the opportunity and time to train her two beautiful rescue dogs, Pele (brought from Battersea dogs home in London) and Sassy (rescued on her way to Ennis pound). They both became champions in the sport of Working Trials.

“Sadly, Pele is no longer with us but he is on my van and all of my promotional material,” says Samantha.

Sassy won the Irish Kennel Club Top Working Trials Dog of the Year award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Sassy has competed inrthe sy yjr  top level internationally in Ireland and the UK.

The Canine College now has a permanent home on five acres at Clashbeg on the Tipperary-Kilkenny border.

The generous space gives dogs room to run free and lets everyone practise social safety protocols. There is also a spacious indoor classroom that can operate within the social distancing rules. The Canine College also offers a selective dog boarding and grooming service.

“We offer puppy classes, one-to-one training, behaviour consultations and house calls,” explains Samantha.

“We also provide special virtual training courses that you can book online – all from the comfort of your own home.”

Samantha says the key to successful dog training is mutual understanding. “Our aim is to help owners to understand their dogs so that they can build a lifetime bond through trust, compromise and play. People and dogs who play together … stay together.”