Another String to our Bow… Dog Training with Helen Coogan!


Helen Coogan joined the Digs for Dogs team in January 2016, investing in her dog-walking franchise in Prestwich and surrounding areas. She absolutely loves her job and now has regular dog walking packs who she takes around Waterdale, Drinkwater Park and Heaton Park amongst other places.

Throughout her career prior to Digs for Dogs, Helen has always worked within a teaching/training capacity, whether this be in business or at a FE college. She loves teaching and training and she loves dogs, so becoming qualified as a dog trainer was the natural progression for her and her franchise. She has already recall whistle-trained most of the dogs she walks (i.e. they come back to her when off-lead on hearing her whistle), so training obviously comes naturally to her.

Helen will be completing her dog-training programme with the Wagga-Wuffins Canine College. Wagga-Wuffins Instrustor Training Programme is led by Jane Ardern and Belinda Melvin who both have Bachelor of Science degrees in Canine Behaviour and Training and Advanced Diplomas in Companion Animal Behaviour and Training.

The course involves in-depth reading, online support and 6 weekends of intense, “paws-on” practical training. Helen will begin her training in February and be qualified by July 2017.

  • Module 1 = develops modern teaching and coaching skills, understanding learning styles and setting up practical-based learning sessions
  • Module 2 = understanding canine body language and communication systems, analysing dog-to-dog and dog-to-human interactions, understanding canine developmental stages
  • Module 3 = building handler skills and practicing traditional obedience exercises incorporating skills and advice from the Kennel Club Foundation
  • Module 4 = taking the first weekend of handler skills onto the next stage. This includes fading food/toys use during exercises, conditioning other rewards and shaping more complex behaviours.
  • Module 5 = This module builds on more advanced obedience skills such as advanced shaping, building sequences and chains and teaching concepts plus competitive activities.
  • Module 6 = putting all the skills learned so far together, assess dogs strengths and weaknesses and learn different management techniques for different dogs and behaviours, develop understanding of common training class problems


Helen will learn a variety of skills and will be awarded a certificate from Wagga-Wuffins Canine College and also NOCN (National Open College Network).

On completion Helen will then be adding a variety of training courses and one to one training to the Digs for Dogs repertoire!

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on how Helen is getting on and photos of her putting training into practice!

Next: March 2017 - Two New Franchisees!