Photo of dogAbout our dog trainers

Dog behaviour expert on BBC radio Solent and David The Dogman's show Pets, Vets and Guests on Talk Radio Europe which reaches more than a million listeners! Gulp!

I am Denise Nuttall M.Res (Master's degree in Research Science - with distinction - Dog Cognition and Forensic Psychology), B.Sc (Hons) Applied Animal Behaviour; Dip CABT (Coape) and the founder of Paws In Hand Dog Training and Behaviour. I started life living on a farm. When I moved on from an investment banking career, people thought it was a dramatic change. In fact, the weirdest thing was that I was a banker in the first place. I always wanted to be a vet! 

Early on I started out helping friends with their problem pooches. Increasingly it became obvious to me that life was going to be about helping people to live happy lives with their dogs and I became a dog behaviourist! I completed the Advanced Diploma of Companion Animal Behaviour and Training run by the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology in 2004 ( ) and it was like removing a blindfold!

Then I applied to become a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. The APDT promotes rewards based training and prohibits the use of punishment. In order to become a member trainers are physically assessed to ensure that they meet the prescribed standards. I was pleased to be accepted in 2005 and my membership number is MAPDTUK00963.

Since engaging in academic study and with the experience of helping to train in excess of 10,000 dogs over the years, most training and behaviour problems are very clear to me and in most cases I can help people to very quickly restore the equilibrium in their household. Some more complex problems will take longer. Whilst I was working in investment banking I learned how to communicate very effectively with people and also how people learn best. As a result I can help people quickly because I understand how people and dogs learn. Also, I KNOW what it's like having a dog which is out of control and behaving very badly... including biting! So, if you want to talk to someone who really knows how difficult it can be living with a very naughty dog, come and have a chat with me, we can compare stories! I really am very approachable!

I am a full member of the Association of pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) and a full member of The Canine Training and Behaviour Society (TCBTS). As a full member of the APBC, most insurance companies will accept my credentials, which means that if your pet insurance includes behaviour therapy, you can claim back the costs of my services.   

Over 8 years ago I started to work with the Waggy Tails dog rescue charity. They are a fantastic group of volunteers dedicated to helping dogs find new homes. Some dogs that arrive in the centre have just had hard luck and ended up there through no fault of their own. Some dogs are a bit naughty and their owners can't cope any more so they end up in rescue. For the dogs in the latter category I support Waggy Tails in rehabilitating them either in the clinic or in their foster homes.

I have regularly appeared as a dog expert guest on BBC Radio Solent where I answer dog behaviour and training questions live on air. I have also been a regular guest on a radio show called Pets Vets and Guests on Talk Radio Europe which can be heard via the internet on Talk Radio Europe . I appeared on BBC Inside Out in a feature about aggressive dogs in October, 2012. I have run several lectures for the trainers and behaviourists at Learning About Animals in Guilford: "Interpreting Canine Body Language; Aggression", "Inter dog Aggression in Practice" and "Running the Behaviourally Aware Puppy Party". I have also delivered in house training to Priory Vets in Christchurch and also delivered Running the Behaviourally Aware Puppy Party lecture to Dorchester Veterinary Nursing School.

Our latest dog is Lily, who is another Dalmatian just over six years old. She has passed her bronze, silver and gold Kennel Club Good Citizens awards. I show Lily from time to time and have been learning the art of ring craft which is harder than it looks and we are learning competition obedience under the direction of the lovely Brian Reed who is a successful competitor and a judge who trains using a clicker, my favoured way of training my own dog. We also attend Dog Dancing classes with Carol Bentley at Purbeck Dog Dancing school in Sanford. Lily loves every minute of her training and I would go so far as to say training is her favourite pastime even above going for walks and runs. 

Contact me or call me on 01202 861340 or 07764 250554


Hello, I am Martin Nuttall I have been assisting Denise at our Lilliput venue for seven years.  I also assist with our puppy life classes on Saturday’s, recall master classes, and Fun Find and Fetch.I have been working with Denise in Puppy Life Skills for over four years now and have learned a lot. Oh, and I also help answering the phone calls. 

I was lucky enough to have my first Dalmatian at the age of nine.  Sharnie was 18 months old and looking for a good home.  She was a lovely dog and a great friend and lived to the great age of 16 and half.

There has always been a Dalmatian in our household. (I am pictured with our wonderful friend Amy and our son). Lily is our latest and is our fourth dalmatian.

So I have a wealth of experience in keeping dogs.  Also I have picked up a lot of knowledge from Denise whilst she has been studying for her qualifications and whilst assisting in classes with her for 8 years now. Invaluable information without the pain of the exams.

Our classes are informative, friendly and fun. I look forward to working with you and your dog. 

I also paint pet portraits. In my former career I was an illustrator. I love to paint in oils. Here is an example of a commission I did for a client. If you would like a painting of your dog, please do call me for details.







Hello my name is Jo Caldwell and I have been assisting Denise on a Saturday for 8 years and have run the Thursday evening classes. I have been a Secondary School teacher with 26 years experience, specialising in working with children with Special Educational Needs. I decided to give up teaching and work with dogs full time in August 2013.

I have had dogs since I was 5 years old, originally our family dogs were Great Danes. I also have a strong background in owning and training horses having owned them since I was 8 years old. When I was 16 we got Tilly who had been kept in a kennel for the first 6 months of her life and therefore was terrified of everything. This would show in a variety of ways including refusing to go anywhere and running away blindly from the slightest noises. As you can imagine a 6 month old Great Dane charging around in a blind panic was difficult and upsetting for her and the family. I formed a close bond with Tilly applying a lot of the reward based techniques I was using with the horses. We learnt a lot together and she slowly became a calm and well behaved member of our family. This started my interest in building positive relationships and training dogs.
I now own two Chocolate Labradors who are sisters and you will meet if you attend our classes, as they sit quietly in the room while the classes go on. They are the reason why Denise and I met, as I started attending her classes with them when they were 6 months old. She was in need of someone to assist her on a Saturday, I offered to do it temporarily over the summer holiday and here I am 6 years on and have changed my career pathway as well. I also now have a young German Shepherd as well. 




My name is Penny Druitt and I run the St Leonards venue Saturday classes and  the Thursday evening classes.

We always had a dog in the family when I was a child, but I did not have my own dog as an adult until my partner and I bought a chocolate Labrador puppy about eight years ago. We called him Charlie. He was a very challenging puppy and it quickly became clear to us that we didn’t know as much about training as we thought and our knowledge of training techniques was very out of date. As a result all three of us became very stressed. That’s how I met Denise and was introduced to reward based training methods. This helped us to turn a corner and start to build a positive relationship with Charlie. We started to attend her puppy classes and carried on through to the advanced classes, even taking part in some training demonstrations at charity dog shows.

It was through my experiences with Charlie that I became interested in positive reward based training and learning about dog behaviour. Denise asked if I would help out at some of her classes and five years later I am still here, assisting on Thursdays and occasionally at other classes. In 2014 I decided to stop pretending that my enthusiasm for training was just a hobby and now work with dogs full time, running my own business as well as working for Paws in Hand. My goal for the coming year is to work towards achieving professional accreditation.

I enjoy being able to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained and get enormous satisfaction from helping owners and their dogs to succeed. I look forward to meeting you and your dogs at class.


Hi, I’m Matt and my passion has always been Dogs! I grew up in the New Forest with Border Collies where my interest started. I got involved with dog training approximately 10 years ago, firstly volunteering with a Labrador Rescue Charity which resulted in me fostering some Labs as well as adopting my own Lab ‘Bubba’. Following this I was involved with a local charity which provided Assistance Dogs for 8 years. Within that time I took it to a professional level by attending many seminars, courses, workshops and online courses. To continue my professional development I am currently studying with the IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers) which also involves attending many courses and conferences. I’ve recently been involved in setting up a new venture ‘Helpful Hounds’, heading up a team of trainers which specialise in training assistance dogs - these dogs provide children with Autism, Down Syndrome or physically challenged, support by helping them with a number of tasks including picking up items, emptying the washing machine, opening/closing doors, pushing level crossing buttons to cross roads safely, accessing disabled access etc, assisting in everyday life enabling independence. I’ve trained a number of successful partnerships over the years who are still continuing to help there parntners to this day. I only use the most up to date reward based training which has been scientifically proven to be the most effective method including using toys, food, play, fuss and environmental enrichment. Most of all, this is the most fun for your dog and builds great relationships between you and your furry friend! I've been involved with ‘Paws in Hand’ by originally attending classes as a client with my puppy Golden Retriever ‘Paddy’, about two years ago. I now assist the other trainers with classes which I very much enjoy. I am also part of the ‘Paws in Hand’ Display Team with my dog which promotes ‘Paws in Hand’ at various dog related events across the South Coast.


Hi, I’m Emma and I’ve been assisting with classes since 2017. I always wanted dogs growing up but never got my way! When I was 19 I met a boy who had a Newfoundland and I joined their family instead! That boy is now my husband and that Newfoundland lived to the ripe old age of 14 before we had to say our goodbyes. Thee years after we lost our loyal Kahuna Bear we welcomed a furry hurricane into our home in the form of Bodhi the Bearded Collie! We were quite sure we knew how to train the usual sit, down, stay etc. but we were keen to take him to classes, if nothing other than to socialise him, and he just loved it at Paws in Hand!

What an eye opener, not only did we learn the practical elements of training, but we learned about the research and academia behind dog training and behaviour and I was hooked! Denise often sends me articles to read because I like to soak up knowledge like a sponge and since starting have trained Bodhi to be my assistance dog to help mitigate my disability. When Bodhi was around 1 I asked if I could bring him to classes so he could learn to settle whilst I was doing something else and very quickly that turned in to me assisting Saturday classes at Ferndown! Bodhi usually sits in the corner, or on the steps or seats as he likes to be up high, (we think he’s secretly a meerkat!). I have since worked with three charities helping to train assistance dogs and found a real passion and enthusiasm for helping others regain independence, and just learning as much as I possibly can about reward based dog training. I find it really rewarding when you see a dog and their human finally finding their balance and becoming partners in their task. It’s the best feeling when you see that moment of trust and enjoyment in both owner and dog, and I love being able to help with that!


My name is Harad Burn and I assist the St Leonards venue Saturday classes run by Penny. I always wanted a dog as a child and my wish came true when I was 14 when after a period of being unwell it was recommended by doctors to my family that a dog could help me with being more confident. Therefore we rescued Harry from Beagle Rescue who in his previous home we were told had chewed through several iPods. We spent several years struggling with his ‘naughty’ beagle tendencies and him barking at other dogs. We decided to go to classes with Paws in hand as something fun to do with him and learnt very quickly that he wasn’t naughty instead we did not create an environment to set him up for success. Denise worked with Harry to over come his barking at other dogs which she said was fear based and now in the supportive class setting Harry can cope with coming to classes without barking so long as he’s given plenty of space. We learnt about the yellow dog scheme which has helped us all out incredibly. Having learnt that Harry was worried about other dogs he has also been able to now go comfortably on walks with other dogs he knows and once he was comfortable with this we decided to bring home a little Patterjack puppy to add to our family called Lupin. Lupin is a very lively but also nervous girl who adores people she knows but is worried by people. We took her to puppy parties, novice and intermediate classes with the aim to complete her good citizen awards in the future. Harry and Lupin also enjoy taking part in rally and freestyle rally classes. Denise offered for me to start helping out with classes in 2016 and since then my knowledge of dog training has continued to broaden. I enjoy working with dogs which like Harry are worried around other dogs in classes and to see how each dog flourishes with their owners. I am hoping that in the future I will be able to go on training courses to engage more with dog training but currently I am studying for a law degree. I am unsure what I would like to do after finishing the degree however as a combination of the two areas I would love to work towards being a dog handler for the police force. My other passion is my horse who I have been training for the last two years as when I bought her she had very little experience being ridden. I use a lot of what I have learnt at Paws in Hand with her as well as knowledge I have gained completing Stage 1 in Horse care and management with the British Horse Society and other clinics and demonstrations run by local professionals. If I am not spending time with my dogs I am most likely spending time with my horse.

A trained dog is a happy dog!

Paws in Hand can help hold your paws and hands right through from 8 weeks and beyond so that you can start teaching your puppy and learning how to socialise your new puppy and "Read dog" from the earliest stage.

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Dog behaviourist Services

Denise is a qualified and experienced full time dog behaviourist and trainer. She holds a B.Sc (Hons) in Applied Animal Behaviour and also an advanced diploma in companion animal behaviour and training, DipCABT (Coape).

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Useful dog information

Getting a dog or puppy is a huge decision and there is a lot to consider from how to choose your breeder, to how to decide which puppy will be most suitable for you all the way to being able to choose a dog sitter or groomer.

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Photo of aggressive dog

Aggressive dog solutions

Denise deals with any behaviour problem, especially aggression and anxiety. Many behaviour problems can be caused by medical conditions which is why she must work on vet referral.

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Aggressive dog solutions

Denise deals with any behaviour problem, especially aggression and anxiety. Many behaviour problems can be caused by medical conditions which is why she must work on vet referral.

Read more