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Robyn Connell - Trainer

I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember and wanted one for many years. As one of those kids that wanted a puppy for Christmas every year I was repeatedly turned down by my parents. Then in 2007 my family finally gave in and we got our first family dog, a yellow Labrador called Kramer.

Watching Crufts on TV had me dying to give agility a go! In 2013 we got one of Kramer’s puppies and straight away I wanted to do all the training with him to begin working in agility. We did our first foundation class when he was 6 months old and didn’t look back. Our agility classes unfortunately stopped running which left me to teach agility on my own, in my garden. We worked hard making lots of mistakes, needed to redo parts of the training but we made it to competition! Slowly over several years me and Murphy made it to the dizzy height of Championship classes and Grade 7. I am so proud of taking us as a partnership from nothing to the highest grade in agility with mostly my home-schooling and dog training intuition but I wanted more.

In 2020 I got a bulldog puppy called Thanos, the breed I had wanted for so long but questioned if he would be suited to agility. Thanos is by far the hardest dog I have trained, he’s strong-willed, stubborn, ridiculously smart and eager to please, which can make training tricky! We enrolled onto a foundation class at Wild Paws and that’s where our journey began, the difference from our home-schooled foundations with Murphy and the strategic and fun foundation games from Wild Paws gave us the head start we needed to our competing career.

Thanos started his agility career in such an exciting was smashing through the grades making grade 6 before his third birthday! He made many finals and became a favourite around the agility circuit with many recognising him for his amazing athletic ability and running contacts. We went to Crufts as the first partnership to include a Bulldog in the main ring agility events. This meant qualifying points in 2022, then a Semi-Final at Discover Dogs, before competing in the final at Crufts 2023. Going to Crufts was my lifelong dream and to have done this with such a unique breed for the sport which showed Bulldogs can be happy, healthy and fit for purpose. Not only this we came 2nd in the final giving us some Crufts Crystal to remember it forever.

I have worked with dogs everyday for the last few years as well as previously doing some part time dog photography and grooming. My passion and understanding for dogs grew and Nicola approached me to join the Wild Paws teaching team as a mentored trainer. I became a fully fledged instructor in 2022 and can’t believe I now get to spend my time teaching people as passionate and crazy as I am about dogs.

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