Saffrina Welch, BSc, CPDT-KA
I'm a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), one of only 50 in BC, a Licensed Educator for the Dogs & Storks®, and Dogs & Toddlers™ programs, and a graduate from The University of Nottingham where I specialized in Animal Behaviour.
Why I chose Dog Training over Wildlife Conservation.
I remember when I was 14 years old being asked what I wanted to do when I left school. Easy, "I'm going to be a wolf biologist" I replied.
The lack of native wolves in the UK didn't seem to hinder my chosen career plans, though my French teacher telling me I wouldn't be able to visit Canada because my French was so terrible, crushed me, briefly!
Today British Columbia has been my home for the last 11 years (my French teacher would still be disappointed with my lack of progress), and I've been privileged enough to work on a couple of really interesting wolf related projects, in some very beautiful parts the world.
The Wild Places
My work as a Zoologist took me to some wonderful and wild places. I spent two months living with and studying the wild Przewalski Horses in Mongolia (which included protecting the foals from wolf predation), I worked on various wildlife rehabilitation and habitat restoration projects in both New Zealand and the UK, and volunteered at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Manitoba - who doesn't want to live on a decommissioned missile base on the edge of polar bear country? I've also spent three seasons sailing up and down the coastline of British Columbia looking for marine mammals, bears, and wolf poop!
Sounds like a dream-career come true, right? It was, though something was missing. The truth was I missed having a dog, and though I loved working on remote field projects there were very few opportunities for me to implement a positive change. I really did want to create a better world, I just needed to find a better way to do it.
Going Off Track
I went back to school, putting my animal behaviour credentials to great use, and spent the next few years working towards my Professional Dog Trainer certification (CPDT-KA). Off Track was launched in the Spring of 2011, with the mission to create a better life for my clients, both two-legged and four.
In 2017 my daughter, Georgia, was born, bringing a new and exciting chapter to Off Track. Becoming a Mom has given me the perfect opportunity to focus my skills, and share my experiences and knowledge in this specialized area of dog and family training.
A Better Way
Though I'm no longer on the front line of conservation efforts, my work through Off Track has enabled me to financially support a couple of small organizations that truly are making a big difference in the world: Nurture Project International, and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
Becoming a Mom changed everything.
It wasn't until my daughter was born that I realized how underprepared my dog actually was for her arrival. Thankfully my maternity leave plans involved joining Family Paws, and earlier this year I became a Licensed Educator for their Dogs & Storks, and Dogs & Toddlers programs.
This is an area of dog training that I'm extremely passionate about, and the reason I have chosen Family Education as the main focus for my business.
- BSc in Zoology from The University of Nottingham
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA
- Graduate from the Dog Stars Training Academy
- BTec National Diploma in Animal Care
- NVQ Level 2 in Animal Management
- Licensed Educator: Dogs & Storks® and Dogs & Toddlers™
- Karen Pryor's Puppy Start Right Program
Lectures & Workshops
- BCSPCA Animal Behaviour Science Symposium 2018
- Barb Weston. Reiki Level One
- Marie Forleo. B-School
- Terry Ryan. Chicken Camp - Targeting & Discrimination
- Dr Sophia Yin. Welfare & Handling
- Nicole Wilde. Working with Fear Aggression
What's In The Works?
In order to better help the young families I work with, I am currently working towards my Postpartum Doula cetiffication.
10 Random Facts About Me:
1. I've taken night classes in Sign Language, Belly Dancing and Welding.
2. I grew up with 17 dogs, ranging in size from 10lb to 90lb. Not all at the same time!
3. I've covered the coast of B.C. in a sail boat, but I've never drank wine in the Okanagan.
4. I was born in England, but tell everyone I'm Cornish.
5. I prefer to drink cider over beer (because I'm Cornish).
6. I used to played Field Hockey, Ultimate Frisbee and Roller Derby.
7. I can carve a birdhouse from a log using a chainsaw.
8. My first month in Canada was spent in Churchill, Manitoba, the next three months in Alert Bay.
9. One day I'll be a Bee Keeper.
10. I can say “hello” in Mongolian....as well as “I would like a shower please”.