Is your dog feeling ruff? Call Joanna, the dog counsellor

Joanna Reilly, St Annes-based dog psychologist
Joanna Reilly, St Annes-based dog psychologist
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Meet Joanna Reilly – dog psychologist.

The 44-year-old, from St Annes, has combined her lifelong passion for dogs, with a professional qualification as a counsellor to set up her own business designed to ensure content among clientele of the canine variety.

Joanna has always had an interest in behaviour and matters of the mind and gained an A-level in psychology while studying at the former Queen Mary School.

After earning a diploma in person-centred counselling, she worked as a mediator for disadvantaged and abused children, but decided to focus on a new career after taking in a rescued dog, Honey.

The fox red retriever was two years old and had already been subjected to serious neglect. She had been attacked by a rottweiler and was suffering from a foot-long scar.

Very sad, nervous and anxious, she was very much in need of a loving home and over time, Joanna watched her become healthy, confident, well-adjusted and full of zest for life.

Joanna said: “She came at a time when I too was going through a bad patch and we seemed to help each other. That led me to a life-changing decision, to train as a dog psychologist, and I have never regretted it.”

After achieving a diploma in canine counselling and animal behaviour via an online course, she put her newly-acquired skills into practice, offering to work with friends’ dogs.

Clients are dog-owners from all age groups with various breeds of pets, who might be suffering from fear, aggression or anxiety separation. Even stealing food, chasing cats or running off can be treated, says Joanna.

Joanna added: “I have found working with dogs a win-win situation.

“Watching them become more at ease, calm and obedient is very satisfying. Sometimes owners have to readjust their own handling of their dogs, which leads to mutual benefit as they watch the results.”

Joanna can be contacted on (01253) 698532 or 07930 245487.