***** Following our licence renewal inspection in March 2022 by Durham County Council, Paws n the Paddock is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the highest possible rating – 5 stars!! *****
Thank you to all our lovely clients with their wonderful dogs for your continued support.
We also look forward to welcoming new clients, please contact us with your enquiries.
As a dog owner of more than 40 years, I’ve walked/fed/trained/played with/cleaned up after/nursed and groomed dogs for the majority of the last 14,500+ days.
Canine Author and breeder of 2 Obedience Champions
Championship Class Competitor at Obedience Shows
College Lecturer and Course founder on Canine Subjects
Top Trainer With More Than 45 Years Experience
The Kennel Club Information Officer
Obedience Show Judge
Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Judge
I was a dog-mad kid who never grew out of it.
Following O levels, A levels and a degree, my career roles have included –
*Information Officer at The Kennel Club
*Reporter for The Kennel Gazette, Dog World, Our Dogs, The Northern Echo and The Weardale Gazette, with more than 300 articles published in my name
*Editor for TFH Publications, the world’s largest publisher of pet books
*Lecturer in Small Animal Care at South Downs College, Hampshire
*Founder and lecturer in a variety of canine courses at South Downs College
including Problem Dogs, Raising the Perfect Puppy, and Working with Dogs
*I’ve had a book published ‘All You Need to Know to Train Your Dog’ in my maiden name of Marisa Keophaithool
*Organiser of various competitive obedience dog training courses and companion dog shows to raise money for dog charities.
I was born in Southsea, Portsmouth in 1964. I got my first dog – an RSPCA Heinz 57 called Toby – when I was 13 years old, after years of begging my parents to be allowed one. I then saw a postcard in the local newsagents advertising dog obedience classes. I managed to get a lift there each week and soon became hooked on training and the psychology of dog behaviour. I became interested in obedience shows through admiring the lovely Border Collie of another handler at dog club who took part in these competitions.
I soon discovered that although Toby was very bright he really didn’t like to do stays at shows, which sadly put paid to any promising rounds. So a couple of years later, after more begging, Danny the Border Collie joined the family. His father was an Obedience Champion (Ob Ch Springfarm Myth) and his mum also competed too. However, as a young beginner handler who hadn’t even passed their driving test, my sights (and handling skills) were set a lot lower and we mostly took part in local exemption shows. When I went away to Liverpool University in 1984, Danny came too of course. He was my best friend in a completely new environment hundreds of miles away from home and, of course, a brilliant ice-breaker since everyone talks to you when you have a dog!
After graduating, I moved to London to find work. Unfortunately, Danny died soon after, under a routine anaesthetic to have a haematoma removed from his ear. More than 30 years later, I still remember that phone call from the vet so vividly. It was completely unexpected and devastating news.
Rallying my thoughts, I hired a car and took Danny on the heartbreaking journey to Wales so he could be buried in the land of sheepdogs. Afterwards, although I no longer had a dog, I carried on going to obedience clubs – sitting in on classes and watching what instructors and owners did and was then invited to handle other people’s dogs at shows, which also taught me a lot.
During this time, clicker training happily changed the traditional approach towards dog training. Many trainers and handlers changed from the old compulsive ways (think Barbara Woodhouse) to these insightful more motivational techniques, including me.
My instructing career began when I was asked to become a trainer at Petersfield and District Dog Training Club, which gave me invaluable experience in teaching pet dog handlers with a whole cross section of breeds.
I also became Chairman of the club for a year, which was another great honour. Although initially nerve-wracking (I was younger than most of the people I was teaching), being an instructor at other clubs gave me the confidence to eventually set up and run my own dog training club single-handed for 18 years.
Meanwhile, on the show front, I was very fortunate to see an advert for a Trajan litter bred by Lesley Deegan. I chose a beautiful spotty white bitch and so Misty became the first bitch to join my gang (consisting of Jed and Whizz, who were not amused at first to have a sparky little sister). She was a talented workaholic, my first dog to qualify Ticket and the mum of 2 Obedience Champions in her one and only litter. Her son Ludo – Obedience Champion Aramisty Double O Seven – won the Crufts Dog Obedience Championships in 2006, making me the breeder of a genuine Crufts Champion!
What a fantastic dog she was and oh how lucky I was to have her. Prior to moving to the North East in 2011, I lived and worked all over England, giving me the opportunity to join a variety of clubs with different trainers and therefore a variety of approaches to training. I watched, asked questions, and chose the methods that I felt would best suit my dogs. There is never a one-size fits all as, like us, they are all individuals with their own characters and likes/dislikes. Over the years I’ve competed up and down the country with my dogs under the Aramisty affix (Aramisty being a combination of the words Misty and Marisa) getting up at the crack of dawn and travelling long distances until a couple of years ago I realised that I now prefer training to competing. I no longer enter shows but I do still follow the sport closely and love attending Crufts. (I’ve been to every Crufts for the last consecutive 38 years.)
Although retired from competing, I’m still a qualified Kennel Club Obedience judge and enjoy attending seminars and training courses to continue learning and updating my skills. I’ve attended courses run by Di Martin, Linda Rutherford, Kathy Murphy, Mary Ray, Paul Anderson, Rod Roberts, Jane Moran, Jenny Gould, Michelle Newman, Neil Short, Jan Matthews, John Seal, Jenny Lunn, Kim Innes, Barbara Macknish, Kathy Russell, Jo Hill, Susan Jaffa, Kamal Fernandez, Kay Cutts, Lynn Green, Dot and Ian Watts, John Rogerson, Trevor Cooper (Dog Law) Dr Ian Dunbar, Phil Jeffries, Rob Bint, Carol Clack, Kathryn Gillard, Sylvia Bishop, Moe Edser, Julie Rowlands, Shirley Clowes, Jessica Lewis, Lorraine Bennett, Dave and Sue Howell, Herbie Watson and Sandy Wadhams – all experts in their field and hugely inspiring.
I have been very lucky to have owned all the wonderful dogs who have come into my life. In addition to them, I also have experience in looking after and training many different breeds, from Great Danes to Chihuahuas so please rest assured that your dog is in very capable hands and will be loved and cared for as dearly as one of my own.
I fostered my first rescue dog 20 years ago and since then have supported various dog charities through fostering, adopting, fundraising, performing home-checks for potential adopters and taking part in transport runs. Helping dogs who are less fortunate than our own is very rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of adding a new member to the family or who can spare a little time or money – it makes such a difference to these dogs and the wonderful angels who save them.
I have particular experience with rescue collies and Romanian rescues, through fostering and adopting some challenging and amazing dogs.
We’re here for all your canine requirements. Don’t hesitate to get in touch and reap the benefit of our experience and knowledge gained from years of loving, living with, and learning from man’s best friend.