The History of Event Dogs...

In 2004 Christina founded ICC (Ichthus Canine Centre) Dog Training centre in Lincolnshire. It was built upon the principles of ethical reward-based training and treating both dogs and people with kindness and respect. This centre then grew to include 5 training centres across Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire each with their own centre manager, and Christina's role changed to become Head of Training and Behaviour. These centres continued to grow and ended up with their own areas of expertise but still continued to uphold the original values of ICC. Members of the team included vets, behaviourists, vet nurses, a canine massage and physiotherapist, and teachers, and centres had Kennel Club Listed Status. Team members also included members of the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK,) UKRCB (UK Registry of Canine Behaviourists,) and the APBC (Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.)

As well as weekly training classes and behavioural consultations ICC also offered workshops and seminars with some of the best trainers and behaviourists in their fields in the UK, becoming known as somewhere that offered excellent training at low prices. In 2018 Christina moved down to Essex by which point ICC had grown and developed to such a point that the individual centres were encouraged to become independent, and Christina felt that she was ready for a new challenge. Event Dogs was born, and continues to be based upon the same ethics and excellence of ICC but specialises in workshops, seminars, training days and holidays (with some AMAZING online courses currently being filmed as well - HINT - if you'd like huge discounts on those courses when they are available join the email list...) and it works closely with many of the amazing instructors that Christina has met over the years. 

Ethics - All training is based on modern, reward-based training methods and is designed to be as stress-free and enjoyable as possible for dogs and owners - it is very important to us that dogs and owners have an enjoyable time on our courses. No check chains, slip leads, prong collars, shock collars or harsh handling is allowed on our training courses. (Note - we do believe in being ethical to people as well as dogs however, and will assess the needs of both. In some cases we do see dogs bullying their people or being highly inappropriate, and therefore we are not a training centre that never says 'no' to them - dogs need love and guidance which includes kindly but clearly saying 'no' at times, having first taught them a more appropriate behaviour. This is only in rare, individual cases and is not generally how we teach but every dog / person combination is different and we tailor our training to the individuals we see.) Christina's approach to this is "Common Sense and Kindness."

Christina Oxtoby - Event Dogs Founder and Head of Training & Behaviour

As well as having a huge amount of experience of training firstly pet dogs and owners and then dog training instructors (see above) Christina is an HTM specialist. She is a twice Crufts HTM Freestyle Finalist, twice British Freestyle Team member for the HTM Open European Championships (Holland & Germany,) and 2020 & 2022 Crufts HTM Heelwork Finalist. She is a fully qualified advanced Kennel Club HTM judge in both heelwork and freestyle. She has also trained and competed in agility and obedience.

Christina has learnt from a wide variety of speakers and courses over the last 20 years. More than anything though, she has learnt from the few thousand dogs that she has helped to train, and maintains that new dog trainers need both education and experience. (This was something that she offered as Head of Training and Behaviour with ICC's apprenticeship programme that lasted several years with ongoing training and support.) Her most treasured teachers are her own dogs, and she has lived in a multi-dog household since the year 2000 (she currently shares her life with her 4 dogs.) She finds it astonishing that some dog trainers / behaviourists do not have their own dog, or live with a variety of dogs as she has learnt more from the thousands of hours of living with, loving and getting to know her own dogs and their relationships with each other than anything else (no matter how excellent the training courses are that she has attended.) 

Christina's approach to training dogs is to take time to build a relationship with them, rewarding what we do want them to do, not trying to punish what we don't want. Training is reward-based, built upon the theory of clicker training, and aimed at helping dogs and owners to understand each other. (She doesn't believe that we should raise spoilt, pushy dogs however, and believes that they need love and boundaries!)

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