Nicola Wildman - Founder
Nicola began agility at the age of six encouraged by her parents who were beginners in dog agility themselves. Whilst growing up she enjoyed teaching tricks to the dogs in the house and running dogs trained by her parents. As a junior hander Nicola trained and handled a wide range of dog sizes, breeds and personalities and gained invaluable experience at different training problems from a range of dogs. At the age of 14 she was a Kennel Club Judge and teaching adults and juniors alike at Wyre (Lancs) Agility Club on a volunteer basis. As a regular at Crufts in the Young Kennel Club ring Nicola’s first Crufts win was in the Young Kennel Club team alongside her fellow North West junior handlers.
As an adult competitor Nicola handled a range of dogs but her first dog to consistently train and run was Zoom, the Australian Kelpie. Nicola and Zoom went on to compete at every major final they were eligible for, and were regulars in the main ring at Crufts winning classes and overall titles there. As well as representing both England and GB at international events she went on to be a member of the winning Nations Cup team on multiple occasions. Zoom retired in the main ring at Crufts in 2018 with Nicola who also retired Flame, her dads dog, there in the Crufts Team.
Nicola then took on her biggest ever dog training challenge in Zest her first dog in her sole ownership. Despite being a very challenging dog and requiring every ounce of training creativity and patience Nicola possessed; Zest has also been the most rewarding and helped to drive a more creative and flexible dog training approach. Despite ongoing training challenges the partnership have gone on to appear on the GB squad on multiple occasions as well as representing GB at the European Open and the England team as well as being selected as a Wild Card at the World Agility Open in 2019. They have been to Olympia on three consecutive occasions twice in the Novice class before progressing to senior and came runner up in 2019. Nicola and Zest also appeared at Crufts in the team event in 2019 before representing England in the international event in 2020 as well as placing second overall in the British Open. All this was achieved in their first three seasons of competition.
Nicola is passionate about a creative approach to dog training following positive reinforcement based techniques. No aversive methods are used as we believe agility is about creating a bond which makes pet life more fun and enjoyable for both ends of the lead. Nicola is an Agility First Approved Instructor, a qualification recognised by the Kennel Club. She also has experience as a Kennel Club Judge, seminar presenter, training camp organiser and coach. Her weekly students have appeared at Crufts, Olympia, England and GB Team as well as many who are just as happy to go home with a happy content dog after a fun class and taking advantage of an improved level of communication between dog and owner.
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