Katie Rourke Dowding entered the dog world in 1988 with a lurcher called Bryndle. By 1990 she was bitten by the “training bug” and became an assistant instructor at Cranbourne Dog Training School.
In ‘91, ‘93, ‘95 and ‘96 she attended The Top Dog Training School Instructor Camps in the USA under the expert tutelage of Jack and Wendy Volhard (world renown dog trainers) and she was briskly escalated to Senior Instructor status at Cranbourne. She successfully competed in the Obedience Rings for five years.
At the 1996 camp Katie watched Clicker Training being demonstrated for the first time and started to offer it to her clients as an alternative method of training in the summer of 1997.
1998 saw Katie open “The Canine Film Academy”, a dog training school dedicated to training pet dogs (like yours) how to perform the sort of behaviours seen on TV and in films. This was the first Dog Training School to offer a dedicated Clicker Training course in the UK.
CFA dogs went on to appear in magazines, TV commercials, films and even on radio over the next ten years. This legacy continues at Scout Dog Training in the USA.
Katie bred a beautiful litter of Standard Poodle puppies from Flossy before moving into Labradoodles in 2006. One puppy from that litter was gifted to Canine Partners For Independence. Dogs for the Disabled benefited from a gift puppy from the 2007 litter.
Although the new pressures of family life and the loss of her right hand woman Susan to the USA forced the closure of the training school, Katie devoted every spare minute to her new venture, Centre Stage Dog Grooming which opened in January 2010.
Ever competitive, Katie entered her first grooming competition in June 2011; The English Groomers Challenge, which is run by EGG, a group Katie is highly supportive of and active in.
Katie was awarded a "Special Award" for compassionate handling at that very first show.
In 2013 Katie joined NAPCG and did a two day workshop where she learned how to dye dogs safely. She attended Colin Taylor's (an international dog grooming star) workshop at the same venue later that year.
The IPG (International Professional Groomers) launched in the UK at the Mastergroom grooming competition in March 2014.
Katie joined this organisation at that show and sat her first exams in September 2014; passing the Salon Details exam and both the Mixed Breed Practial and Terrier Practical on the same day .
In 2015 Katie contracted Lyme Disease which curtailed her studies for 12 months. However she resumed them in 2016 and in 2017 she gained the coveted title of International Certified Master Groomer having sat a grueling total of 18 hours of practical and written exams.
Katie is married and has two children, Daisy and Jenson.
Katie's pets currently consist of 4 dogs, 12 cats and 8+ chickens and 2 tortoises.