Ketland, Sue

Sue Ketland, Wood Green Animal Shelters

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(Editor’s note: Sue Ketland is the Training Officer at Wood Green Animal Shelters, and was instrumental in bringing SATS to the UK, where we now have 15 SATS Certified Trainers, including 4 who are staff at Wood Green)

Although I have been around dogs all my life my professional career started over 16 yrs ago when I started work at Wood Green Animal Shelters and promptly adopted a Border Collie puppy. Learning how to deal with Sophie’s remarkable brain power and subsequent behavioural problems (caused by my lack of knowledge at the time) led me down the path of training and behaviour modification programmes.

In my innocent state I learnt all about compulsive methods and now cringe when I look back at what I put my poor dog through.

As the years passed I learnt about pack theory and as my experience in training and behaviour grew I felt more confident about attending courses and seminars.
When I discovered that pack theory was wrong and that dogs weren’t out to rule the world and bite any weak willed human that they came across I went through a stage of thinking that I could no longer do my work. What a fool I was!

My training style had changed dramatically over the years, I have gone from forced retrieves and alpha rollovers to shaping via clicker training. (Thank God!)

I have a Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour. I address every behaviour problem that I deal with from an emotional background. I have found that if you address the emotional drive of a behaviour you don’t need to address the symptoms.

Having worked in animal rescue for so long I have witnessed the destruction of too many dogs. Whilst I am aware that I cannot save them all and endorse euthanasia where necessary I am constantly looking for new ways to help avoid this action wherever possible.

I discovered SATS in 2003 and my life living with, working with and training dogs has now changed for ever. (my clickers are gathering dust in a drawer somewhere!) Whilst I can appreciate this techniques merits for general obedience training it excells in behaviour modification. In my line of work it is this that saves lives so I am well and truly hooked.

I organised Kayce’s first visit to the UK in 2004 and the seminar was attended by over 350 delegates. Kayce then returned in the October of the same year to do a certification course where I achieved my Lay Level 1 cert.

I have just returned from a trip to Japan where I talked about Wood Green Animal Shelters and I had to include SATS as it is now an integral part of what we do. It was received very well and Kayce will be very well received as and when she gets to do the job over there for real.

I want to shout about SATS from the rooftops but appreciate that I mustn’t run before I can walk. Therefore, I am eagerly learning as fast as I can so that one day I can help save the lives of dogs in other rescue organisations across the UK.

I live in Cambridgeshire with my husband, Ritt and my 3 dogs, a GSD called Lara, a BC called Squidgey and a JRx called Mushy. Oh and a cat called Cosworth.