Hi I’m Nicola!
I’ve got a confession to make…
I wasn’t supposed to work with dogs.
That wasn’t how my career path had been planned out.
But sometimes life takes you on journeys that you weren’t expecting, and this is mine!
I grew up in rural Lincolnshire, the oldest of 7 children (yes you read that right!)
At school I loved animals and art, and thought I had to choose between the two. I was rubbish at science so I chose art.
I went to University in Liverpool and took a degree in Architecture. I was training to be an architect.
I spent 5 years after I graduated working for various architectural firms but nothing quite seemed to fit.
Then in 2005 we decided to get a dog!
I had grown up with Labrador and lab-crosses so that seemed the sensible choice (go with what you know!), but I soon realised I actually knew nothing!!!
I fell madly in love with Joey, my little black bundle of fluff (and teeth and claws) and it broke my heart leaving him at home every day while I went to work.
In the evenings I would try to understand Joey better by taking him to dog training classes and absolutely loved it!
I travelled around the area working with lots of different trainers learning different techniques and practising on Joey who was my poor guinea pig (sorry Joey!!!)
I became really interested in learning theory and dog behaviour, and around my full-time job I started reading everything I could find about dogs and dog training and behaviour.
Then I started to have this niggling idea that I just might be able to have a go at teaching dog training classes. And wouldn’t it be great if Joey could come to work with me?
I came across a course which looked like a great introduction for me, and on finishing I took the leap, handed in my notice (which was terrifying!) and set up my first classes on a Sunday evening.
And that was how it all started!
Looking back I made lots of mistakes and I still carry on making mistakes now!
I hadn’t the first idea about running my own business and was very naïve about what would actually be involved.
I’m still getting the hang of it now, trying to keep up with changes in marketing, social media as well as the latest dog training techniques.
I tried a range of training methods before I found what felt right for me.
Some of the techniques I used I really regret (yes, I sprayed Joey in the face with a water bottle, and was told to ignore him because he was getting dominant! Luckily he has forgiven me!)
But I learn from my mistakes and I’m sure there will be many more to come which will continue to educate me!
I have worked with some brilliant trainers who I owe a lot too, and with a brilliant team of staff who have been very patient with me learning the ropes of ‘being a boss’ .
And most of all I have learnt so much from all of the wonderful dogs and clients I have worked with.
Every day really is a school day in this business and dogs are wonderful teachers if we take the time to listen to them.
In the past 10 years I have worked with hundreds of dogs and their owners in their own homes and in classes, and in that time have resolved all kinds of problems.
I am also mum to Thomas aged 9, and use my experience with kids and dogs to work with families training their new puppies or dogs, and teaching children about dog safety.
Whether you have a specific problem to solve, need some help with the basics of dog training, or you want to start a new hobby with your dog, we would love to show you what a difference we can make to you and your dogs lives!
What our customers say
The one to one sessions were a great start to understanding why Hugo did certain things and how to train him to heel and recall. This was then expanded upon during group training classes, which also a brilliant environment to help socialise and train Hugo with other dogs.
Nicola has helped us to understand why Hugo acts in certain manners and how to train him in a way that works for him. The training methods are kind and Hugo enjoys the praise and reward he gets when learning new things and adapting his behaviour.
Rebecca with Hugo
This week we had a fab talk about being safe around dogs. One of our parents Nicola Davies is a dog trainer, she offered to come in to school and talk to the children about dogs and how to keep yourself safe around them. She used songs and pictures from ‘Dog Stars’ to help the children remember the key messages. She also used quizzes and acting to reinforce things. All our children enjoyed it and learned something, as did the staff. I know she would love to get into other schools to spread the message. If you would like to find out more her details are below.
Email sent to heads of Derbyshire Schools by Mrs A Littlehailes, St Lukes Primary
Since we got our chocolate Labrador Hugo six months ago we have had numerous training classes with Contented Canines Training School.
We immediately started with one to one sessions with myself, Hugo and Nicola the trainer while waiting for the next available set of training classes. The one to one sessions were a great start to understanding why Hugo did certain things and how to train him to heel and recall.
This was then expanded upon during group training classes, which also a brilliant environment to help socialise and train Hugo with other dogs. Following completion of the classes and sessions we needed additional help with training heel and recall as Hugo is a very inquisitive and easily distracted dog! Due to work commitments attending further sessions proved a little more difficult and Nicola was able to take Hugo out alone to patiently work with Hugo and feedback to us in additional sessions her methods of training which were specifically adapted to suit Hugo’s personality.
Having experienced all three methods of training we can without doubt recommend Contented Canines for each. Nicola has helped us to understand why Hugo acts in certain manners and how to train him in a way that works for him. The training methods are kind and Hugo enjoys the praise and reward he gets when learning new things and adapting his behaviour.
Rebecca Entwistle with Hugo
Our whole family have attended the puppy training courses run by Nicola and her team with our dog, Buster. We all learnt invaluable skills that have eased us into being dog owners, and Buster loved meeting other dogs each week of the courses. Nicola is always very calm and clear in her instructions, and will guide you if, and when you go wrong. My daughter was inspired to take the agility course too, and this has now become one of her hobbies. Thanks to Contented Pets for all your help.
Rhoda with Buster
Great training classes for my dog. The trainers were very knowledgeable and on hand to talk about a few at home problems - they always had a different perspective if I was getting stuck. Only positive training methods used so always a happy dog to work with!
Maggie with Barney
Took my Tia to the training classes earlier in the year and she loved every minute of it socialising with the other dogs and leaning to sit and stay etc. Her daughter Bella is to follow in her footsteps and starts training in January after attending a Puppy Playgroup. Looking forward to train my new 'baby' just like her mum. Thank you Nicola and love the new venue.
Jane with Tia and Bella
As you know, we brought Mitzie to your classes not just for training but also as a way of helping to increase her confidence. From being very nervous and timid at the start of the course, Mitzie has grown in confidence week by week. The classes helped both us and her enormously and we thoroughly enjoy them.
Jim and Jean with Mitzie
I didn’t think that by the time a dog was 5 years old you would be able to teach them new commands but I have been amazed at how well Jess has responded to the classes and 3 sessions later will do just about anything that is asked of her. She always got very excited when it came to Sunday evenings and though quite a nervy dog she is now a lot happier around other dogs. Thank you Nicola for all the help and encouragement you given us.
Ruth with Jess
I took Molly as she wasn't confident around other dogs. The class was small and the training was varied throughout. Molly is more confident around other dogs now and enjoys being around them. The classes are fun for all dogs involved and a positive approach is used to succeed. Expectations of training were tailored to each dog but by the end all those attending have achieved all commands and socialisation. I would recommend them to anybody and not just for the training.
Kirstie with Molly
I can highly recommend Nicola's classes to anyone looking to improve their training skills. Teddy was 4 and not had any formal training before but he has proved an older dog can be taught new tricks and we have both really enjoyed the classes. Training has helped us bond and work better together. All the skills we have learnt are used in everyday life e.g. - walking to heel, sit and stay, leave it and recall. Training was fun for both of us and the groups are fun and sociable for dogs and owners.
Lyndsey with Teddy
Contented Canines has provided us with just what we needed as new and inexperienced puppy owners. Not only have 'we' been delighted with the outcomes of the sessions but Hesketh equally has enjoyed his training as he bounces through the door to see his other doggy friends. Nicola and her team are proficient, friendly and always willing to offer help and encouragement. Having attended both the Foundation Skills Course and the follow on Skills for Life Course we are well on the way to having an obedient dog who is fun to be with. A great 'find'!!
Ruth, Julie and Hesketh
I booked Nicola to do some home training to help with some issues I had with my latest rescue dog settling in with my other two dogs. She was very professional and worked well with me and my dogs giving me helpful guidelines and practises which were written down for me to follow. She is very calm and knowledgeable which helped to instil confidence in me as I was finding the behaviour issues challenging. However by following Nicola's suggestions there was a marked improvement by the time of the follow up visit and I was a lot more relaxed.
I continued by taking Minnie to the training classes as she had never had training even though she is nearly three and she has proved to be a quick learner in Nicola's classes and isn't nervous anymore. I thoroughly recommend Nicola and the Contented Petcare team for their dog training programmes.
Val with Lou, Molly and Minnie
We initially asked Nicola for a home assessment after taking on an 18 month old cocker spaniel (Clara) who had lived all her life in a kennel. Clara wasn't house trained and didn't know any basic commands. Nicola spent some time talking us through Clara's routine and any concerns we had and getting to know what we would like her to help us with. Nicola had so many great ideas about helping Clara settle into home life, helping us with ideas from teaching her basic commands, through to keeping her entertained and using up her boundless energy. Nicola even managed to teach our 13 year old cocker some new commands! We took on every piece of advice Nicola gave us and we now have a very settled, very content, well behaved little dog. No-one would ever imagine she had spent her first 18 months in a kennel! We certainly felt the home visit was extremely useful for Nicola to understand Clara's routines and see her in the home environment. We can't thank Nicola enough and would recommend her to anyone who takes on a dog not matter what age.
Jo Scott and Clara
Elsie had attended all of Contented Petcare's puppy classes and the agility classes. She was really well socialised, always been around lots of dogs and happy meeting dogs on walks. She was attacked by a dog randomly on a walk with no injuries and I was more shocked than she was. However gradually over time she became more and more nervous when seeing dogs approaching from afar and even when meeting dogs on the walk. She would tense up then stare at them from far away and warn them away before they get near with a grumpy growl. Nicola did some one to one sessions at home with me and Elsie to use positive rewards to help both distract Elsie initially and teach her that the new dogs are not threatening. It's really helped me feel more confident with what to do and what not to do when she is tensing up as well as help me communicate confidently with other dog owners regarding her needing some space and not wanting a dog jumping on her head! She has improved with meeting dogs she still has work to continue but I'm glad it's getting better and not worse. She still meets new dogs on her home stays and when she is out with the other dogs with the dog walkers and has continued to be great in those settings. I can see now how her problems escalated from that one event and wish I'd realised sooner she was changing as it would have been easier to reassure her earlier on. Anyhow I wouldn't have known what to do or what was happening with her and it has given me skills and reassurance with how to manage and improve her behaviours.
Chris Mycio with Elsie
We are delighted with the service and expertise we received from Nicola at Contented Pet Care. Our dog has shown significant behavioural improvements after we had the training sessions. We have continued the training ourselves on a day to day basis with excellent results.
Jonathon and Ellen Close with Tamla
I would highly recommend Nicola from Contented PetCare for individual dog training. She responded promptly to my enquiry, made an assessment visit and a written plan of action. Practical sessions followed with one to one instruction and demonstration supported by written notes and evidence of supporting research. Session were tailored to my dogs individual issues.
Ruth Bentley with Strauss
I first got into contact with Contented PetCare after hearing fabulous reviews off various local sites. My Golden Retriever Chester, then 6 months old had terrible food aggression. It had got to the point where he was growling at my cats and children if any of them dared to go near him when he was eating. I didn't know what to expect before Nicola came round. I was very nervous as she was our last hope. When Nicola arrived she got to know us, our background, Chester's daily routine etc. Nicola also spotted that Chester was being over walked and was not getting enough sleep for a young puppy, this was adding to his behaviour problems. With regards to the food aggression we were shown how to hand feed him mouthful by mouthful and also to make him sit and wait to eat it. It took some getting used to and was time consuming but the results were amazing. Gone were any growls or snarls. The good quality food we started to feed him calmed him down, made his coat softer and helped him grow into a beautiful strong adult. I would recommend Nicola to anybody. You sometimes find dog trainers are more dog people and aren't very good at interacting with us humans but I can assure you Nicola makes you feel so at ease and is so funny and lovely. 8 months on and Chester is the perfect family dog.
Thank you Nicola.
Sarah Jones with Chester
I have 3 Labradors and have used Nicola on 2 separate occasions for 2 of them for very different reasons. The help, advice and support that I got on each occasion was excellent.
The more severe problem was that my youngest pup was extremely travel sick up to the point that even touching the lead or my boots she would run and hide then she would begin salivating and vomiting, and the vomiting would continue when we got in the car. I had gone down the conventional treatments which the vets had recommended but she appeared to be getting worse, not better as time went on. I didn`t ever think that we would be able to travel anywhere in the car with her as she was so bad. I was also aware that as she was a youngster I needed to get the lead training right, but was unable to do any due to the state that she got herself in when I touched her lead. It was then I contacted Nicola and following a home visit, a plan was arranged to help my pup over her fears of the lead, my boots and the car enabling her to enjoy her walks with her 2 sisters. It was not a `quick fix` and took many, many weeks of reassuring, encouraging and repetitive training to build up her confidence, but following the instructions on the plan that we had arranged and also with the support from Nicola, I now have a very happy girl who loves the car and her walks and has no longer any issues with the it, and when I get my boots she knows that it is fun time again. Nicola gave me the ability to help my little girl to overcome her fears and enjoy being a puppy again and I always knew that there was support at the end of a phone when I needed it. I cannot recommend Nicola and Contented Pets enough and would not hesitate to contact her again should I need help or support.
Linda Kirk with Fearne
I have a dog that suffers greatly with separation anxiety. I am so glad that Nicola was recommended to me. She taught me so many techniques to alleviate his stress that immediately made both our lives so much better. Very happy to recommend Contented PetCare to anyone who wants to make their, and their dogs, life happier. Thank you Nicola.
Marie Tomlinson and Winston
Our dog Ronnie is a rescue yard GSD, he came to us when he was about 2 years old, for the beginning of his life he was tied up morning, noon and night. Nicola from Contented PetCare was recommended to us by Victoria Vets at a routine visit, as someone who could help us understand Ronnie's issues.
During Nicola's visits she helped us understand and deal with Ronnie's insecurities, only after a few visits Ronnie came on in leaps and bounds, this was due to not only Nicola's guidance with Ronnie but also the help and advice she gave both my husband and I.
Nicola also helped us purchase a correctly fitting harness, halter and lead, which has resulted in me having the confidence and be able to enjoy long walks with Ronnie without my husband.
Thanks to Nicola's advice, over the summer holidays, we have spent time socialising Ronnie with lots of dogs, all different sizes and breeds, he now has a very good friend in a springer spaniel called Fergus, this year for the first time at our caravan, we have been able to sit in company where Ronnie was very happy to lay besides Fergus, everyone who knows Ronnie at our caravan site have commented on the change in him.
Since our meetings, we have also on several occasions felt confident enough, where there has been no distractions to let Ronnie off the lead, with Ronnie staying by my husband’s side the whole time, previously he would have just taken off. Nicola also gave us basic treat training, this has resulted in Ronnie now listening to commands and responding really well.
We can't thank Nicola enough for all her help and guidance, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend Nicola to anyone who needs help understanding their pet. Ronnie does miss his monthly visit from Nicola, he was always so excited to see her, so if you are ever passing Nicola, please feel free to drop in.
Ann and Rick Singleton with Ronnie
We had some home training sessions with Nicola from Contented PetCare to help with our 1 year old rescue dog Luna. Luna seemed to find it difficult to hear me if there was something more exciting around! She came up with a detailed personalised training plan for our dog using lots of positive reinforcements and worked with me on recall and lead work. We have a very busy life style so it was fantastic that Nicola came out to us and spent one to one time with me and my dog. It was a very relaxed and positive experience and I now have a very happy dog that I can let off the lead (well most of the timeJ). I look forward to now joining in with the puppy training classes. Thank you Nicola.
Jo Soden with Luna
I found the whole experience of working with Nicola excellent. Her advice on how to work with Albert - our very lively young Springador! - sensible, sound and practical. She greatly improved my self- confidence when handling Albert. A very approachable, caring person who bases her training techniques on experience, knowledge and common sense
Pat Hudson with Albert
We called on Nicola’s services for a home training session when our beagle puppy was around 4 months old, mainly to help us learn how to positively toilet and crate train her. I was struck by Nicola’s knowledgeable, calm but friendly approach. She clearly has a wealth of experience of dealing with many different breeds with many different needs! She went over and above what we expected, really taking the time to listen to the problems we were experiencing, and then tackling each one in detail. She even left us extensive written notes for us to refer back to in times of need. I would definitely use her home training services again, and I’m sure our beagle would be thrilled to see her too.
Nicole Pilmoor with Millie
The one on one training and advice was invaluable. Nicola came to our house and watched how Jess interacted and responded with us. At each visit she addressed any concerns or problems we raised and the detailed notes she left helped to remind us of the best way to deal with training and any issues we had.
Sue Thorpe with Jess
Not having raised a puppy previously we were unsure as to the best way to go about all the required tasks to ensure we ended up with a happy, well behaved dog. Our training progress with Poppy was hampered when as a puppy she suffered a health issue which basically meant she was unable to mix with the dogs. We spoke to Contented Pet Care and were delighted when Nicola stated she was willing to come round to our home to help was with the 'puppy fundamentals'. On each occasion we found Nicola's advice extremely helpful, the help did not just cover one subject, but covered everything from the way we should deal with certain situations right up to positive reinforcement methods. We can honestly say this has helped to develop a social, friendly, well-trained and intelligent dog.
Haley and Gary Sharples with Poppy
Having 4 children, a rescue cat with issues and a clear brief of how we wanted our dog to behave we contacted Nicola. She was a superstar and instrumental in teaching not only our dog but our family as a whole! The children looked forward to our sessions and Nicola would set them tasks to practice with the dog ready to showcase in our next session. She gave us ideas and thoughts and most definitely they worked in practice. She truly is a dog whisperer!
Her love of all animals is apparent and at the heart of all she does. Sensible dog ownership is a huge commitment, Nicola and her team ensure the process is made as easy as possible giving strategies and tactics that help families in their quest to enjoy fully their Doggy addition! We wholeheartedly recommend her and believe a necessity that pays for itself with the skills she will teach.
The Hazelhurst Family with Hennessey
Nicola came to us to help train our Doberman pups Sam and Daisy. Nicola’s approach is very professional and consistent and we understood what we needed to do to successfully train our dogs. We found Nicola very friendly and knowledgeable and very very patient! We asked Nicola to come to us because we were not able to make it to the group sessions. We were really pleased we decided to take Nicola’s advice and would definitely recommend her. We’d certainly go back to her if we need advice in future.
Paul Welsh with Sam and Daisy
We had a home session with Nicola soon after we brought our puppy Grace into our home. It was so convenient having Nicola come to us, and we were able to cater our session to our specific needs - mostly how to make sure our cat accepted the newest member of our family and didn't desert us! Nicola was understanding of our concern for our beloved cat and helped us to establish a plan to integrate Grace into the family. I am happy to report that while they are not yet the best of friends, the integration is going smoothly and both our puppy and cat are happy and healthy. Thank you Nicola for your help!
Brooke Love with Grace
I had lessons at home with Nicola from Trixie being about 10 weeks old. Even though I had had dogs before, it was brilliant to have Nicola involved from the beginning, in those very important weeks of toilet training, routine and socialisation. Trixie is a Border Collie, and even in those early days, when she wasn’t able to go on walks, very much needed mentally stimulating. At the end of each session, Nicola would give me our ‘homework’ to practice for the next lesson. It was brilliant to be focussed from the start, and I’ve reaped the rewards since. I also had with Trixie many collie type traits, she wanted to chase cars, bikes, balls, basically anything that moves. Nicola showed me different strategies to try and techniques to work on. It took some time, but she will now run through fields of sheep off lead, watch the cricket off lead, and ignore cyclists and cars. She’s just 12 months. I can honestly credit how amazing she is to those earlier home sessions, and subsequent group training sessions with Nicola and Contented Petcare.
Zoe Kelly with Trixie