Lucy Heath found fame in 2016 as a finalist on Britain's Got Talent, with her furry friend Trip Hazard. The dog trainer and her cross-breed Trip have won many awards together, and this year Lucy will be appearing at DogFest to teach us all about Obedience Training. We had a chat with Lucy about her love of dogs, and what she will be looking forward to seeing at this year's DogFest.
DogFest South may be over for this year, but the fun is yet to begin in the North and West! Tatton Park, Cheshire and Ashton Court, Bristol are coming soon, and tickets are still available. So, if you'd like to see more from Lucy Heath, plus appearances from the likes of The Supervet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, and Clare Balding then grab a ticket to DogFest today!
At what age did you decide that you wanted to work with animals, and what made you specifically become a dog trainer?
According to my parents, one of my first words was "dog"! I wasn't allowed to have a dog as a child, even though I was obsessed. So, I always thought I would be a musician (I'm a guitarist, I was an A* music student and used to play in bands).
When I got my first dog of my own at 21 years old, I became immediately hooked on dog training. I found I really enjoyed it and definitely had a talent for it. I wanted to help other people to enjoy their dogs as much as I enjoy mine!
Which dog breed would you recommend to a family who have never had a pet before?
All families are different, some enjoy very active lifestyles and some more sedate, so I'd definitely recommend they do a lot of research on what breed would suit their lifestyle. They could talk to or visit breeders, or if rescue is preferred. The rescue centre should be able to match them with an appropriate dog. Either way, good training should ensure they have a dog that is a pleasure to live with.
Dog training often seems puppy-focused. Are there any specific things we should train our dogs to do in their older years?
Dogs can learn new things at any age, so there are no limits on what you can train an adult or older dog to do (as long as they are fit and healthy).
We often hear a lot about dogs who suffer with separation anxiety when their owners aren't around. What would you say is the best way to help a dog who suffers with it?
For real separation anxiety, I would definitely recommend working with a good dog behaviourist. If a dog has very mild separation anxiety or is just bored, there are many things you can try. Walking your dog before you go out can help, so they are more tired, plus leaving them with feeding toys such as a stuffed Kong, a snuffle mat or a lickimat can keep them busy and occupied for a good while after you have left and helps to teach them that being left is a good thing.
Is there still a behaviour in the dog training community that you just can’t figure out how to solve?
Not yet, that I have personally come across or dealt with!
What are you most looking forward to seeing or doing at DogFest?
I absolutely love the shopping and the food - it is so difficult to decide what to eat! I also just adore performing with my dogs and showing people what can be achieved with kind, fun training.
DogFest comes to Tatton Park, Cheshire on 15th & 16th June, and Ashton Court, Bristol on 22nd & 23rd June.
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