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Meet Your Trainer

How did you become a dog trainer?

Hi, I'm Keryn Bardwell, Professional Dog Trainer

It was 2003 and our long-time goal to buy our own home for the very first time had finally become a reality. What an achievement! We were so happy.


And it meant that another dream could finally become a reality. Our first dog, a puppy to love and spoil.


Our lovely little gold Cocker Spaniel boy, Chilli, came to his new home the day before Good Friday that year. We were so happy. He was gorgeous, playful, energetic and all you could want in a new family member.


Most of the time.


We went to puppy preschool (as you do), went to the vet and the groomer

(as you do) and bought him lots of toys, beds, coats and anything else he needed.

We knew it all...or so we thought!


But we had a burgeoning problem.


Around food, Chilli was a maniac. More than a maniac – a menace – a little monster.

Around bones & treats, he was worse. He grew possessive and protective of beds and

kennels, and as he grew physically, we had a problem that was also growing.


His resource guarding was serious.


I remember one day walking past him as he was sleeping in the bean bag. I was not even aware of him. I was not heading for him. But Jekyll & Hyde had swapped places. Out of the blue Chilli launched himself out of the bean bag to attack and bite me.


On another occasion, we were going out without him. We left Chilli shut in the kitchen with a pig’s ear to keep him occupied. I remember hearing him going ballistic at us even as we were opening the front door to go out. He couldn’t even see us.


Another day that was perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back. I can remember sitting in the middle of the concrete floor of the garage. Crying uncontrollably. He had just attacked me, triggered by his food, and moments later he was licking off all the tears. He had no idea that he had just caused them. Jekyll & Hyde had switched places and switched back just as quickly.


He needed help. We needed help!


The trainer me of today could have told the non-trainer me of then a few things. Our little monster was untrained. He had no manners, no boundaries, no limitations, and he had no accountability at all.

We let him go anywhere he felt like. We let him jump all over us. We gave him things that he

could tear up. We cuddled, played, and loved...but we didn't teach.


He was spoiled.


And that we could change. And we worked hard to do so. I even became a dog

trainer with the sole aim of helping him be a better version of himself.

The best version of himself.


At fourteen years of age, Chilli passed away on a Sunday afternoon in my arms

wrapped in a red blanket. His kidneys failed and he crossed the bridge. My heart dog,

my Jekyll & Hyde boy.


What I wouldn’t give – to this very day – for him to growl at me one more time.


If I could have the do-over I would not ask for Chilli to never have had that issue. It was part of who he was and part of who I am. 

Because of him, I found my passion for helping dogs become the very best version of themselves. 

I found my calling for helping dog owners find the relationship that they desire. Without their dogs losing their spark or their personality. 

Because of him, I can help people understand that they can set limits for their dogs. That they can change the not-so-desirable behaviours. That they can introduce a world of opportunity - a world of adventure - that they currently only dream of.


If I could have the do-over I’d give Chilli training and structure. I'd give him love, fun and care, of course. But from day one to make sure that I give him every chance of having the most awesome life together.


I learned the hard way a lesson I’d love to share with you. Assume your dog could become a monster and train to prevent that possibility. You’ll never regret it.


Need a relationship repair? Or want to prevent that from becoming necessary? Drop me a line to find out more about what you might be able to change now to help your little maniac.



- Keryn

Cocker Spaniel puppy on a bed
Two Cocker Spaniels & a Vizsla
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