A Herefordshire dog trainer is advising dog owners to do their homework carefully – both when choosing a breed of dog and when choosing a trainer.

Research from charity PDSA suggests found that 27 per cent of UK adults owned a dog in 2022, higher than 26 per cent in 2021.

Compared to immediately prior to the pandemic, the proportion of people owning one dog has increased from 70 per cent to 74 per cent.


"Most people are unaware that dog training is an unregulated industry and anyone can call themselves a trainer," said Rick Van Eggermond, founder of All Positive Dog Services based in Hope-under-Dinmore.

Mr Van Eggermond, who met his wife and fellow trainer Sam, when they both worked at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London, relocated to Herefordshire in 2017 where her parents lived, starting the business in 2017.

While at Battersea, he worked mainly with dogs with behaviour problems and he brings that wealth of experience to All Positive Dog Services.

Ledbury Reporter: Mr Van Eggermond says anyone can call themselves a dog trainerMr Van Eggermond says anyone can call themselves a dog trainer

One of the major causes of problems is, he says, people getting the wrong dog for their lifestyle. A working breed, for example, needs outdoor space and a lot of exercise.

The rise in the number of dogs, many of them rescue dogs from overseas, has led to a corresponding rise in the number of dog trainers. "This industry is not regulated," said Mr Van Eggermond.


"And there are courses available online for just £30 to become a trainer."

Ledbury Reporter: Rick van Eggermond, second left, with wife Sam and fellow trainers Sarah and Jen Rick van Eggermond, second left, with wife Sam and fellow trainers Sarah and Jen

As a result, he adds, "you get people who don't know what they are doing.

"The best case scenario is that they solve a problem, but the worst case is that they can make it worse. The wrong advice will often aggravate a problem."

Among the accreditations Positive Dog Services displays on its website is one as a trainer for the Victoria Stillwell Academy.

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"She is trying to raise the standards of dog trainers."

Mr Van Eggermond is also one of people assessing trainers. He is committed,too, to CPD – Continuing Professional Development – for all the team.

Having started the business on his own in 2017, hiring village halls for classes, PDS now has a dedicated training barn and field in Hope-under-Dinmore and a team of five: himself and wife Sam, and fellow trainers Sarah Miles Griffiths, Jen Smith, Alison Kirby Cooper and Becky Morgan.