...MeetChristina

Christina Click to read about Christina's Dogs / or to go to Christina's personal web-site

Christina – Founder and Owner of Ichthus Canine Centre, Head of Training and Behavioural help. HTM & Freestyle Judge, Advanced Freestyle handler, Advanced Heelwork handler.

NOTE - Between 2008 and 2010 Christina enjoyed a rest from a lot of her dog training work and during this time resigned her membership of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. (She enjoyed having more time to spend training and enjoying her own wonderful dogs!) In 2010 she started a new ICC training centre in Cambridge.

Christina first wanted a dog at the age of 3, but it was another 20 years before she was to have one. She kept hoping to find a stray needing a home but to her parents' relief this never happened! Instead, she busied herself with training her first guinea pig, Brownie to come when he was called in the garden (indeed he had a better recall than many dogs!) as well as many other tricks that she showed off one assembly at school. She spent hours with him and learnt that all good training must start with a good relationship. (Guinea pigs don’t come to you if they are frightened of you.) She carried this thought through to helping friends to train their horses, as well as dealing with her second rabbit (a re-homed rabbit that bit, kicked and scratched quite determinedly.) With patience and prayer (that produced instant and impressive results!) he settled.

She obtained an honours music degree and started work in 1999 as a violin (her main instrument) and piano teacher both privately and in schools. This gave her very valuable experience in teaching both children and adults which she has found extremely useful in her work with dog owners.

She then attended the I.D.T.S. (International Dog Trainer’s School, accredited by the Open College Network) 2 year training and behaviour course covering fascinating work on how dogs learn, understanding behavioural problems, training, instructing, calming signals, rescue and re-homing, and how to avoid stress, amongst other things. Teachers included Sheila Harper and her team (UK,) problem solving and understanding barking with international trainer/behaviourist and speaker Turid Rugaas (from Norway,) nose-work with Anne Lill Kvam (also from Norway,) and clicker training with Elizabeth Kershaw (UK.) More recently she has regularly trained with competitive obedience trainer Joanna Hill, and agility instructor Bob Sharpe.

She lives with her (supportive and very patient!) husband, their rescue German Shepherd Asaph, rescue Great Dane Ruach and Border Collie Eze. Click here to read more about Christina's dogs. They enjoy Canine Freestyle (Eze is competing at Advanced Level, Ruach is competing at Novice level,) Heel-work-to-Music (Eze is competing at Advanced level, Ruach is competing at Novice level,) (Asaph has retired having competed at Intermediate level when she was younger,) Competitive Obedience, Agility and fun together. Both she and her husband are involved with their local church, (her Husband is currently training to be a Vicar) and other interests include horse riding (particularly dressage) singing in a gospel choir and playing in various bands, and dancing, although so far she has not managed to find much time for riding or dancing since starting ICC!

Courses Attended

2009
Sue Sternberg – Arousal and Aggression in Agility / Body Language and Bull Breeds / Bite-O-Meter and Modifying Assess-A-Pet for Private Use.

2008
Bob Sharpe – Agility
Elizabeth Kershaw – Applied Learning Theory / Clicker Training
Dr. Anne McBride PhD - Understanding, Handling and Reducing Aggression in Dogs
Attila Szkukalek - Heelwork-to-Music / Canine Freestyle Master-class
Paddy Driscoll - Case Studies in Aggression / Square Pegs in Round Holes? (Assessing and matching rescue dogs to the right owners.)
Alton Matherne - Understanding and Handling Behavioural Problems in the Rescue Dog

2007
Dr. Anne McBride PhD – Equipment used in Training (UK Registry of Canine Behaviour Symposium)

2006
Paddy Driscoll – A wolf in Your Living room? / Hark, Hark the Dogs do Bark! / Bringing a Rescue Dog into the Family / Puppies and Adolescence / Breed Showing
Joanna Hill – Competitive Obedience and Motivating Your Dog
Richard Curtis – Canine Freestyle and Heelwork-to-Music
Attila Szkukalek – Canine Freestyle and Heelwork-to-Music
Jill Notley – The Dancing of Dancing with Dogs

2005
Sally Hopkins – Dog Games

BEFORE 2005
IDTS Course
Communication – calming signals / ethology and instincts, reflexes and stimulation / introduction to stress / people communication / practical: leash techniques for problem solving
Stress – the physiology of stress / recognition and causes of stress / the part played by stress in behaviour problems / stress reduction / assessing dogs / practical: handling skills
How Dogs learn – clicker training (with Elizabeth Kershaw) / rewards / learning theory / reward systems / puppies and adolescents / practical: fun tasks
Training – the science and purpose of training / creativity and logic / practical: set exercises
Shaping – training methods; clicker training, shaping theory and practical / scent and nose work / stopping techniques
Teamwork in Training – relationships – dog and owner / the dog’s viewpoint – life rewards / distractions and their advantages / compromise / practical: extending basic exercises; obstacles
Mental Stimulation – care and welfare of the dog / the holistic approach – alternatives for owners / creativity / practical: exercises for your dog’s brain, nose work
Problem Solving – causes, symptoms and consequences of behaviour problems / first steps to solving problems / the canine way of conflict solving / practical: effective intervention and splitting up
Instructing – teaching, lecturing and people skills / approach to instructing – flexibility and adaptability / class content / practical: use of games
Classes – planning and running classes, expectation and compromise / assessment / enriching the environment / problem owner, problem dog / practical: specific tasks
Behaviour Problems – what is a problem? / expectations of client / counselling / therapy and rehabilitation / behaviour modification / diet and medical problems / practical: problem solving