Gosia Bates (Lehkunow) is 36 years old, moved to the UK 12 years ago and has been living and working with dogs since... she can remember.
When still in Poland, she was extensively cooperating with animal shelters and rescue organisations fostering, training and rehoming dogs, not all of which were well-behaved and easy to handle. She's gained a lot of experience with dogs of all shapes and sizes, from Miniature Dachshund to Great Danes.
In 2009 she moved to London to study dog training and animal behaviour, which was not available in Poland at the time, and is actively interested in modern, reward-based techniques of training. Since moving to the UK she’s been doing various courses, attending seminars and conferences to learn from the very best in the field like: Daniel Mills, Ken Ramirez, Patricia McConnell, Ian Dunbar, Marc Bekoff, Claudia Fugazza, Victoria Stilwell and Brenda Aloff, Turid Rugaas, Chirag Patel, Susan Friedman, Kamal Fernandez, Jo Hill, Craig Ogilvie, Alexa Capra and Denis Fenzi. Gosia is a certified dog trainer and a member of the Guild of Dog Trainers (Master Trainer) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, UK (01290) and a full member of The Institute of Modern Dog Training. Dogs & the City has the Kennel Club Listed Status and hosts The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme.
Gosia firmly believes that training methods should be matched not only to particular dogs' temperaments but also to their owners' skills and abilities and therefore she does not support one fit-for-all training philosophy but approaches every situation individually instead. She also believes that a dog's happiness and well-being is at the centre of her work.
In 2013 she moved from London to Scotland and opened a new branch of Dogs & the City, which covers Edinburgh & Fife.
When living in London, Gosia was a volunteer dog assessor, home checker and fosterer for German Shepherd Rescue Elite and Rescue Remedies and since she moved to Fife, she has been volunteering in one of the Scottish branches of Dogs Trust and Staffordhire Rescue Scotland.
Gosia’s German Shepherd, Ivan, who had been an invaluable helper during training sessions for years, sadly passed away in June 2015 and now she shares her life with Mia the pocket-rocket Staffie from Battersea Dogs Home, Gonzo, an amazing Rottweiler that’s been a true inspiration for so many new projects over the past 4 years and Rita, a Papillon puppy and a future agility star.
Gosia is police-checked and fully insured with Pet Business Insurance.
Joanna is police-checked and fully-insured with Pet Business Insurance.
Joanna’s life always revolved around animals, dogs in particular. Aside from caring for her own family’s dogs from a very early age, she started walking neighbourhood dogs at the age of 11 and full-time volunteering at dog shelter during summer school holidays at the age of 17. Her passion for animals and thirst for knowledge led her down the academic path in animal science, culminating in a PhD in animal genetics and years of successful scientific career at the Roslin Institute, the leading institute in animal genetics worldwide. Among others, she has published peer-reviewed papers on genetics of dog health* and behaviour** under her maiden name Ilska. Alongside the career in science, Joanna has been actively and continuously involved in dog training, attending courses and workshops by the world-class trainers, such as Chirag Patel, Kamal Fernandez, Jo Hill, Anna Herzog, Denise Fenzi and many more. She has also organised a multitude of workshops for dog sport enthusiasts, bringing top trainers to Scotland.
Over recent years Joanna discovered the pleasure of helping other people develop the bond with their dogs. This led to an assessment with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers, which she passed with distinction. Joanna is now a full member of IMDT.
Joanna’s experience with giant breeds has provided her with clever ways of creating open communication channels without the use of force, applicable to dogs of all sizes. Her expert knowledge of genetics helps her understand the breed-specific, intrinsic motivators of behaviour, as well as appreciating the individuality of each dog.
Joanna grew up with German Shepherds, fox terrier, and a few mongrels. She now shares her life with two giant, Russian Black Terriers: Yarpen and Falka. Yarpen is now retired from a successful career in competitive Obedience. He has represented Scotland at Inter-regional Obedience competition at Crufts 2013, gaining 2nd place in his class. He is extremely well versed in dog social skills, and occasionally helps Joanna with client’s dog struggling with dog-dog communication. Falka is currently in training, hoping to start her competitive Obedience career in 2020. Both dogs have been the most amazing teachers, friends, companions, and Joanna is not ashamed to say that they are the centre of her universe.
Joanna is police-checked and fully insured with Pet Business Insurance.
* Lewis, T. W., Ilska, J. J., Blott, S. C., & Woolliams, J. A. (2011). Genetic evaluation of elbow scores and the relationship with hip scores in UK Labrador retrievers. The veterinary journal, 189(2), 227-233
** Ilska, J., Haskell, M. J., Blott, S. C., Sánchez-Molano, E., Polgar, Z., Lofgren, S. E., ... & Wiener, P. (2017). Genetic characterization of dog personality traits. Genetics, 206(2), 1101-1111.