The Richie’s Room Dog Trainer Interview – all you ever Wanted to Know about Rosee Riggs

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How well do we really know the people who help us to train our dogs and to manage any behavioural issues that they may have?

Do they use Positive Dog Training methods as advocated by the likes of Victoria Stilwell?

Or are they stuck in the past with the Dominance methods employed by Cesar Millan?

Do they drink tea or coffee?!

And where does their greatest challenge lie? I suspect that this probably sums it up:

I can train any dog in 5 minutes. It’s training the owner that takes longer.

Barbara Woodhouse

With that in mind, I thought that it may be interesting to find out a little more about some dog trainers and behaviourists.

Welcome to ‘The Richie’s Room dog trainer interview‘.

In this episode, we are going to meet somebody who was recommended to me by a previous interviewee – Freya Locke. Presenting … Rosee Riggs.

Let’s get started …

Introducing – Rosee Riggs

Rosee, or if we are being formal, University Professor Rosee Riggs B.A. Hons., has over a decade of experience as a canine behaviour adviser.

And she has first-hand experience of living with a dog with separation anxiety so she is fully qualified, both by training and by experience, to help those of you who have a dog with this phobia.

Getting to Know Rosee

This series of questions is designed to tell us a little more about Rosee other than her role with dogs.

1. What jobs have you done before becoming a dog trainer?
dog trainer interview rosee riggs - theatre
Rosee has a theatric history

I was a theatre director and a professor of acting at a university for music and performing arts.

2. What is your favourite takeaway food?

Indian.

3. In the 15 minutes of free time that you have available each week, what do you like to do? What hobbies do you enjoy?
dog trainer interview rosee riggs - garden
We should all consider the permaculture approach

Gardening.

I have a huge permaculture-type garden, designed for insects and all wildlife.

I grow my own vegetables.

4. What is your hot beverage of choice? Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, something else?

Black tea with milk or black coffee.

5. You’ve just won £100m!! The only catch, if you can call it a catch, is that you have to spend it all. How would you spend it?

I would buy my daughter a house and myself a camper to travel with my dogs and see all my friends.

Then I would buy a vast tract of land and re-wild it as a nature reserve. That would be so cool!

Then I would carefully donate the rest.

6. Tell us a little about your own pets.

Till recently, I lived with a greyhound and two whippets, but they sadly passed away through old age.

Now I share my life with an elderly golden retriever.

7. Hollywood has come knocking at your door and wants to make a film about you! Suspend your disbelief and tell us which actor you would choose to play you.

Gillian Anderson.

8. Which TV series do you currently enjoy watching?

Suits.

9. Imagine that you could instantly learn any new skill (like Neo in The Matrix). What skill would you choose?

Capoeira.

Rosee as a Dog Trainer

OK, this series of questions relate to Rosee’s role with dogs.

1. What lead you to become a dog trainer? Tell us your story!

I was given so much contradictory advice with my first dog – and so much incorrect advice which caused havoc – that I decided to take things into my own hands and study canine behaviour myself.

2. How would you describe your approach to training?

My approach is relationship and choice-based.

I work as often as possible in natural surroundings and where the dog lives.

I love coaching caregivers to enter the emotional and sensory world of their dogs and support them to cope better in our human world.

I am passionate about good handling, including understanding how dogs naturally use the environment to orientate and communicate, and how best they can enjoy a walk. This is not just lead work, but a whole way of living in harmony with dogs.

When caregivers perceive more about this, they can facilitate harmonious social interactions for their dogs.

I also offer successful online programmes for people helping their dogs recover from separation fears/the fear of staying home alone.

3. In relation to dog training and behaviour, what training, experience, and qualifications do you have?

I have 12 years of experience as a canine behaviour advisor.

I studied with Sheila Harper, one of the great pioneers of a dog-centred approach (IPACS I & ll).

I hold the Level 5 Diploma in Canine Behaviour from the International School of Canine Psychology and Behaviour.

I am a Certified Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer (trained by Julie Naismith).

I am a full behaviourist member of INTO Dogs and the Pet Professional Guild, and am signed up to the UK Behaviour and Training Charter.

4. If you could only teach one skill to an owner, what would it be and why?

To read canine body language so that they can facilitate two-way communication with their dog.

5. What do you think is the most difficult skill to teach?

How to go at your dog’s pace, give your dog time and space to process things, by recognising their current needs and skill set.

My motto:

“The smaller the baby steps, the faster your progress will be.”

Rosee Riggs
6. Which trainer has had the most impact on your development as a trainer? (this can be in person, podcasts, video or a good old-fashioned book)

Sheila Harper whose knowledge is profound, and who has developed a unique practice to benefit dogs.

7. What is your favourite thing to teach?

Lead handling and going for successful walks, and also how to help dogs feel safe at home alone.

dog trainer interview rosee riggs - dog walking
8. Do you use video recordings during your training or behavioural sessions?

Yes, it is really useful to look at recordings to school observation skills.

9. Are there any lessons that you have learned during your time as a trainer that you feel may be valuable to somebody considering a career as a dog trainer?

Continuous learning is vital.

And then finding really experienced practitioners to help you translate theory into best practice which benefits the individual dog.

10. What do you enjoy most about being a dog trainer?

Seeing dogs being able to relax, practise their natural talents, and caregivers finding joy again in the relationship with their dogs.

11. What do you think are the best ways for owners to bond with their dogs?

Reading their dog’s body language to set up two-way communication.

Helping their dogs feel safe and learning how to support them to learn the skills they need to navigate our human world.

12. What aspect of training do owners usually find most difficult? And how do you help them deal with this?

Finding the time, the optimism and the peace of mind.

I help them by showing them the fascinating world of their dog and by concentrating solely on what is really important.

To me, that is facilitating life skills rather than training exercises to get particular behaviours. Caregivers generally find this a more natural and rewarding way to live with dogs.

I am a huge fan of positive diaries: noting the skills your dog does in fact have (instead of only concentrating on a problem), noting all the wonderful things about their personality and all their successes, is life-changing in terms of admiring your dog in a new light.

13. Where do you see your career with dogs heading? Do you have any plans or ambitions that you can share?

I love working in a team, learning together and complementing each others’ skills. So, I am currently working on building a team.

And I want to write a book about my greyhound, Stevie, and what I learnt from him.

14. And finally, if you could travel back in time to the point when you began your dog training career – would you still do it? If not, why not? If so, is there anything that you would do differently?

I definitely would still do it 🙂 🙂

I feel grateful to have found the right people for me to learn from.

All ways round, I am content with everything up till now – and am still curious, looking forward to further learning from the best in the industry.

Contacting Rosee

So, if having read Rosee’s answers you’d like to contact her, or follow her on social media, the details you need are as follows:

dog trainer interview rosee riggs - portrait

Acknowledgements

Featured image and pictures of Rosee provided courtesy of Rosee Riggs

And …

Content images provided courtesy of Ulli PaegeStéphane CHADOURNE

The End

Richie's Room - Harv leaving
Time to go!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post.

Feel free to navigate around the site to see if there is anything else that may be of interest to you.

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And, if you’d like to add a comment that would be great too – you can do that below.

Know of a trainer/behaviourist that you think would make a good candidate for a future post?

Please ask them to get in touch and we’ll sort something out.

24 thoughts on “The Richie’s Room Dog Trainer Interview – all you ever Wanted to Know about Rosee Riggs”

  1. Many people don’t understand the time and patience needed to train their dogs. I love that you enjoy seeing dogs able to relax as a reward of dog training.

    Reply
    • Hi Annette, thanks for commenting. Yes, its something that demands a lot of effort – but it is so rewarding when so see your dog ‘get’ what you are teaching.

      Reply
  2. Love this fun interview! It is so interesting to see where people start out and where they end up, and what values and life lessons carry through throughout the journey. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks very much, Jaya. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Yes, some may have convoluted journeys but that just makes them more interesting 🙂

      Reply
  3. I really enjoyed reading this! Very interesting interview I especially like that she even grows her own veggies that’s incredible! thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  4. This was such a great interview. I enjoyed reading all the answers. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  5. I didn’t know the dominance method was a thing. Dogs are normally just looking to live and be loved, so it doesn’t really feel like a method that makes much sense, unless you want to raise a mean pet. Rosee seems like my kind of trainer

    Reply
    • Hi, thanks for the feedback. I complete agree, dominance theory has no place in modern dog training. Yes, Rosee is a great trainer.

      Reply
  6. I remember watching Barbara Woodhouse when I was a child! I really enjoyed this interview – while I don’t have dogs, it was great to hear that Rosee is a fellow gardener and I’m fully on board with her idea of buying land to re-wild it as a nature reserve.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback, Lisa. It’s been a pleasure to see just how generous and charitable the dog trainer interviewees are when it comes to that question.

      Reply
  7. This was such an interesting interview, especially Rosee’s way into dog training from a background of theatre! Gillian Anderson is a fantastic choice as well – love her!

    Reply
    • Thank you, that’s very kind. And I agree, reading about people’s backgrounds can be so interesting.

      Reply
    • Thanks very much – I’m glad that you enjoyed it. A dog is a fantastic addition to a family – I wish you luck with your choice. There are lots of great trainers available these days, just make sure that you pick one that employs positive training methods (if they mention dominating your dog, or alpha rolls, or showing your dog who is boss – walk away).

      Reply

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