Hi, I’m Hayley.
I’ve always had a passion for dogs!
One Christmas, when I was 8 years old I found a little Collins pocket book of dog breeds in my stocking.
I took this pocket book everywhere and I learned every single dog breed and memorised every thing about them!
I used to dream about owning some of the dogs in there like the Tibetan Spaniel, the Maltese and of course.. the Chihuahua.
I knew every dog breed by sight. A strange talent for a little girl!
I didn’t just love dogs, I was positively obsessed by them!
Growing up we had family dogs, Trixie a sweet and loyal Cairn Terrier then Kash, our beautiful goofy Boxer and finally Totty my very own tiny Terrier.. my Christmas present when I was 16.
As well as dogs I love all other animals and worked as a volunteer from the age of 14 in rescue centres, kennels and my local vets.
I worked every chance I could get, every weekend and every holiday.
I worked hard.
I was like a sponge soaking up every drop of information, assisting in consultations, watching operations and accompanying the vets on farm visits.
Then I moved away. And had a break working with animals.
Fast forward 15 years!
After a while, I realised I missed my animals, especially dogs....I felt there was a big piece of ‘me’ missing.
I took a chance. And followed my heart. I wanted to become a dog trainer.
I leapt into a self study journey, devouring any science based ethical information I could get my hands on.
I took many, many courses, webinars, classes and workshops.I read a ton of books and worked my way through copious amounts of articles.
I re-educated myself on learning theory and the works of Pavlov, Watson and Skinner.
I talked to other dog trainers and behaviourists, and absorbed everything I could.
I then found myself taking a few dogs in to foster and a couple I rehabilitated.
‘ Bo’ came to me originally as a temporary foster dog advertised for free on social media.
The advert said something along the lines of...
‘Free! 8month old Chihuahua Cross.
Please somebody take her. She’s biting everyone, snatching food out of my kid’s hands, weeing and pooing all over the house and fighting with my other dog! I need her gone as I can’t take any more’.
This was a puppy that clearly wasn’t coping.She was living with a Bull Mastiff and 3 children under 6.
We arranged for her to be picked up and brought to me.
When I approached the transporters car to get her out I saw a wide-eyed, dark brown chihuahua puppy staring at me through the car window.
She was TINY and terrified.
I carefully went to pick her up but she charged at me growling and snarling!
She wasn’t messing around. She meant business.I asked the transporter how long we had. We had 45 mins to get her out safely without force.
I made a makeshift collar to slip over her head so we could at least have some control...at the same time I gradually conditioned her to accept my touch.
My goal was to pick her up.
I eventually accomplished this as we hit the 45 min mark and we got her safely into the kitchen behind a pet gate.
We then had another 30 mins of getting a collar on so she could be safely toileted.
Luckily... she loved Kiri my Jack Russell straight away and she soon realised that she was safe.
I quickly realised her issues were insurmountable.She had severe resource guarding.
Body sensitivity and human-directed aggression.
She wasnt toilet trained and had had zero training.
This was a dog needing a massive amount of work and was unsuitable to live as a pet in a home that didn’t have the knowledge that I had acquired.
I couldn’t let her go. So she stayed.
She loved to train and we managed to get her into the vets to be vaccinated without restraint which was a huge relief.
We have accomplished SO much and we are still working on things.
Bo is a huge character in a tiny body. She is very sweet, very smart but was MISUNDERSTOOD, over-handled and punished for defending herself. A common theme among tiny dogs...
Helping Bo was when my LOVE for Chihuahuas was truly ignited!
And that is why I was inspired to start the Chihuahua Charm Academy.