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Donna is an animal behaviourist and training consultant specialising in canine, equine and feline cases.  She has operated as Pet Connection for over 20 years and offers a professional and comprehensive, reward–based, behavioural referral and training service across the south of England based from Three Legged Cross in Dorset, near Ringwood. In particular she covers Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somerset, Berkshire and Gloucestershire. Having re-located to Dorset from Salisbury in Wiltshire, she continues to run clinics and home visits in and around that area on a weekly basis. She also offers consultations in Dorset for clients who reside outside these counties.

Donna originally worked as a freelance fashion and interior designer having gained a BA(Hons) in Printed Textiles from Loughborough College of Art and Design. However, a chance meeting with an Animal Behaviourist from the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity literally changed her life. Realising there was such a career, and with a strong belief of “you only live once”, she set her sights on a new career in this field; a subject that had always featured heavily in her life.

Donna believes in sound theoretical knowledge backed by extensive practical experience. Having attained the Certificate in Applied Animal Behaviour from the University of Southampton she then went on to be awarded one of the most respected qualifications in the companion animal behaviour field – the Postgraduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling from the same University. She strives to maintain her professional standards by undertaking regular training and study of new theory and practise.

Donna is a full member of the two most highly recognised professional associations in the field - the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). To meet these Associations’ stringent criteria, members have to have the highest professional standards, knowledge and expertise. She is also an Animal Behaviour Training Council (ABTC) Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist and Registered Animal Training Instructor. She is also their Equine Representative on the Equine Sector Council.

Donna’s practical training experience began under the tutelage of Sally Sanford, a fellow APBC member in Christchurch, Dorset, where she was an assistant canine training instructor. She moved on to run her own Kennel Club listed dog training classes in East Dorset including ‘Puppy Playgroup’ (incorporating the Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme Puppy Foundation course), ‘Good Manners', ‘Perfect Manners’, ‘Fun and Games with Dogs’, ‘Daytime Training Walks’ and ‘Social Dog Walks’. Donna also became a member of Canine Concern, which involved weekly visits with her dog, Shadow, into a local care home.

Donna’s equine training experience extends way back to her teenage years at a local riding school, where over time she was entrusted to instruct clients. She has also worked as an assistant welfare worker at ‘The Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy’ in the New Forest.

Donna carries full public liability insurance and professional indemnity cover. She has received training in ‘First aid for dogs’ and has attended the BHS ‘Equine specific first aid’ course.

Donna is proud of the fact that the majority of her clientele come through Veterinary, animal welfare charities,, local councils, independent adoption and fostering agencies or word of mouth recommendations from those with knowledge of the results she can achieve. In addition to the thousands of pet dogs, horses and cats who have successfully gone through Donna’s behavioural modification and training programmes with their owners, her own animals form some of her best adverts for her work. She uses them regularly when demonstrating reward-based methods to clients and the general public at conferences, agricultural shows and such like, including demonstrating at Crufts for six years. She also competed regularly in Working Trials and Paws’n’Music competitions with Shadow, her beloved Dobermann, prior to her passing aged 15.

Donna’s current focus is on TREC GB competitions (formerly known as BHS TREC). Notably at the 2017 Trec GB Championships of Great Britain she placed 4th overall in the Level 1 Open Individual category and 1st in the MA Control of Paces at the event. This followed her 6th place overall finish at the same event in 2016. She won all her three other Level 1 Individual Trec GB events entered in 2016 and came 4th in the Horsemanship Magazine UK Level 1 Individual Summer League. Prior to this at the 2014 BHS TREC Championships of Great Britain she placed 2nd in the PTV and 13th overall in the Level 2 Individual category. In 2013 she was 2nd in the South East Trec Versatile League, in 2012 she won the Bronze medal at the World Clicker Equine Games and in 2011 was the winner of the South East Individual Level 1 Trec League. Away from her work she enjoys spending time with her family, in particular educating her daughter using reward based methods!