September 21, 2023
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SPONSORED: How The Canine College builds a lifetime bond between dogs and owners

Samantha Rawson is one of the top dog trainers in Ireland.

She is known throughout the country for her television and regular radio appearances on RTÉ’s Ray D’arcy Show and as a speaker at groups and clubs. But those who have benefited from her knowledge or who have been entertained by her stories, may be surprised by Samantha’s own description of her role.

“I would describe my role as a mediator between two species who speak different languages,” she says.

It is this approach which makes Samantha’s work at the Canine College unique.

Her mission, she explains, is to help dogs and their owners develop a mutually respectful relationship based on trust. “You develop this relationship through open, clear, honest communication and compromise,” she says. “I advise never to confront and compound the situation: I prefer to distract and diffuse.”

Samantha is a champion trainer and dog expert with over 27 years professional experience. She studied applied animal behaviour at the University of Southampton and Communication and counselling skills at NUI Maynooth. Samantha is a certified canine behaviour and training consultant and it the only qualified dog trainer and behaviourist in Kilkenny.

Her business started in Dublin in 1993, as a pet care service, and, when recession took its toll, she moved to Thomastown, Kilkenny, in 2011.

The move gave Samantha the opportunity and time to train her two beautiful rescue dogs, Pele (brought from Battersea dogs home in London) and Sassy (rescued on her way to Ennis pound). They both became champions in the sport of Working Trials.

“Sadly, Pele is no longer with us but he is on my van and all of my promotional material,” says Samantha.

Sassy won the Irish Kennel Club Top Working Trials Dog of the Year award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. She competes at the top level internationally in Ireland and the UK.

The Canine College now has a permanent home on five acres at Clashbeg, four miles from Callan.

The generous space gives dogs room to run free and lets everyone practise social safety protocols. There is also a spacious indoor classroom that can operate within the social distancing rules. The Canine College also offers a selective dog boarding and grooming service.

“We offer puppy classes, one to one training, behaviour consultations and house calls,” explains Samantha.

The key to successful dog training is mutual understanding, she says. “Our aim is to help owners to understand their dogs so that they can build a lifetime bond through trust compromise and play. People and dogs who play together … stay together.”

The Canine College is ideally situated between Callan and Coolmore, 10 minutes from Callan and four miles from Mulllinahone.

For more information about Samantha and The Canine College see or call her on  087 238 9260 and 052 915 3688




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  2. It is not always easy to raise a pet. This involves a real investment all the way through. While the hope is to be able to gain the dog’s trust and weave an appropriate relationship. One in which the dog knows his place and knows how to obey every instruction well. But the road to achieving this goal can be long and challenging. Of course, this varies from one dog to another, between different breeds of cats, and also depends on the age of the dog. Your experience in raising dogs also affects interest.

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