Cuxwold woman wins national title ‘Dog Trainer of the Year’

Natalie with Rhonda EMN-190909-112532001
Natalie with Rhonda EMN-190909-112532001

A local dog trainer has won a national award for her canine skills - despite being involved in a car crash on the way to the competition.

Natalie Smith, from Cuxwold, picked up the title ‘Dog Trainer of the Year’ after she took part in a five-day competition at London’s Battersea Dogs Home.

The 28-year-old - who runs her own dog training business called Quality Canines - says she is ‘overwhelmed’ by her success at the contest.

She said: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it’s quite overwhelming really.

“I’m almost a bit speechless, but it’s absolutely amazing.

“I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to do it.

“My family are just over the moon - I don’t think they quite believe it, considering I had a lot of curve balls thrown at me.

“Someone crashed into the back of my car on the way there.

“I was at traffic lights in central London.

“I was a little bit sore - my neck and lower back.”

And Natalie’s problems did not end there.

She said: “Half way through my dog cut her foot - it was quite bad and looked like it might need stitches.

“But overnight she managed to pull off the bandage and the skin, and it was fine.

“I was very careful with her though.

“Then on Friday, the staff decided to move her kennel from a quiet one to a busy one so I had members of the public watching, which made it even harder.

“But I was brave and just went with it.”

Natalie was up against 24 other dog trainers from around the UK who had to spend the week teaching a chosen dog how to follow various commands, before a big test on the final day.

The competition was judged by three renowned dog trainers, against a set of criteria, such as how fast the dog responded.

Natalie did a degree in animal behaviour training and got a job at a Hull training centre, where she worked for two-and-a-half years, before setting up her own business five years ago.