About Sophie Mills

About Sophie Mills MBIPDT, PMIACP

Sophie is a Member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers Qualified with an Advanced (Hons) Certificate in Techniques of Instructing, Administration and Organisation. She is also a Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and is fully insured for all training purposes.

Sophie and Audrey

Sophie and Audrey. Photo courtesy of Martin Deeley

Sophie Mills has spent many years handling horses and dogs on the farm giving her a very practical introduction to animal behaviour. It was her passion for dogs and understanding their behaviour in 1996 that took Sophie, as a natural progression, into dog training with a Jack Russell terrier, Archie. It was Archie’s character and personality that had her falling in love with dog training. In addition to Archie, Sophie also had rescued a lurcher. The lurcher had her fair share of unwanted issues and it was her behaviour and the need to change it that led Sophie to find out more about what makes dogs ‘tick’.

However it was her JR that motivated Sophie to do more with him and they worked their way through the local dog club beginner classes to join the advanced class. Archie, who was quite a character (as most JRs are) was a great little dog who wanted to please and he became a popular member of the club’s display team. To meet Archie was to love Archie.

Award received

Collecting 4th place at Edenbridge and Oxted Gundog working test, 2013. Photo courtesy of Martin Bagg

During this time Sophie’s husband Adam, a first class horse trainer, had a Labrador and was training this dog for the field. Adam was doing an excellent job and Sophie enjoyed helping him with it. It was following a Martin Deeley workshop and gundog training classes with Chris Rose and Joy Venturi Rose they both attended that the training bug hit Sophie and in 2004, a black Labrador bitch, Nell, joined the team. This was Sophie’s first gundog and so she set to work training Nell for the field.

Training dogs for the field and competitions brought a wealth of knowledge and experience for Sophie. A gundog has to be a wonderful companion in the home and a great partner in the field.

With Nell, Sophie has competed and won awards in Field Trials and Tests. She still competes with her in Gundog Working Tests (open and veteran) and continues to win awards in both team and individual competitions. And, together they still work on local shoots. Today she has her third gundog that she is taking to the highest level of training to compete in trials and tests. This Labrador puppy, as with all her dogs, has become part of the family, where training is often done with the assistance of Sophie’s two children.

Nells' awards 2013

2013. Not a bad year for Nell!

Driven by her desire to help others achieve what she has with her dogs, Sophie built on her experience and trained to become an instructor, taking classes and attending practical courses with The British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers (BIPDT)– ultimately becoming an Advanced Instructor and a Member of The British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers. (MBIPDT). In addition she is qualified to train owners and their dogs, and judge the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Scheme at all levels.

Sophie’s love is helping others create a relationship with their dogs that will last a lifetime. The relationship she enjoys with her own dogs. In her words ” Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing an owner and their dog working together, creating and strengthening their special bond. And in doing so, watching the relationship develop to achieve more than the handler ever thought possible. I know from training my own dogs how special this feels . My desire is to help others have that feeling.”

Course History

2017 – Audrey got awarded another Certificate of Merit at a Field Trial.
Attended a seminar with assorted trainers and canine professionals and was Martin Deeley’s assistant for his presentation.
In working tests, Audrey got a 3rd in an Intermediate test and Nell got 2 x 4th’s in Veteran tests.
Audrey won the Springerfields Competitive Training Day test.

2016 – Course Instructor for the BIPDT at Harper Adams.
Audrey got her Working Gundog Certificate (presented at Crufts in 2017)Qualified with Audrey for the Chudleys Gundog Championships at the Midland Game Fair, Weston Park, Shropshire.
Audrey ‘s first season competing in Field Trials and she was awarded a Certificate of Merit.

2015 – judging students for the BIPDT on their Spring and Autumn courses at Harper Adams, Shropshire.

2014 – Ran my Open dog in a team for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Labrador Retriever Club at the Gundog Team Working Test at Chatsworth.
Team Captain with my Open dog for Arun and Downland Gundog Society at the Southern Interclub Team Match.

2013 – Attended Martin Deeley Retrieving Course.
Team Captain with my Open dog for South Eastern Gundog Society at the Southern Interclub Team Match.
Ran my Open dog in a team for Utility Gundog Society (Kent and East Sussex Branch) at the Utility Gundog Society Finals.
Ran my Open dog in a team for Guildford Working Gundog Club at the Edenbridge and Oxted Show.
Judged students at the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, Harper Adams University.

2012 – Honours Pass at Advanced Grade – BIPDT. (Residential, practical).
Judging Silver and Gold, as well as Bronze, Good Citizen tests.
Ran my Open dog in a team for Guildford Working Gundog Club at Chatsworth
Gundog Team Working Test.
Became a Member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers. (After
gaining my Advanced Instructor with honours.)
Ran my Open dog in the winning team for Utility Gundog Society (Kent and East
Sussex Branch) at the Utility Gundog Club Finals.

2009 – Nell passed Silver and Gold Good Citizen.
Honours Pass at Graduate Grade – BIPDT (Residential, practical).
Starting judging Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze tests.

2007 – Became Affiliate Member of BIPDT

2006 – Attended Sheila Harper ‘Instructing Pet Dog Classes’ course.
British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers – passed Grade 1 Instructor level. (Residential, practical).
Upgraded from Grade 2 to Grade 1 Instructor

2005 – Attended Barbara Sykes seminar. (Date approximate).
Nell passed Bronze Good Citizen

2004 – Attended ‘Aspirant K9 Instructor’s Course.’ (April).
Attended Gundog Workshop with Martin Deeley and Ian Openshaw and gundog classes with Chris Rose and Joy Venturi Rose.
Attended ‘Aspirant K9 Instructor’s Course’. (October).
Started teaching pet obedience classes.

2003 – passed ‘Think Dog – A Certificate in Canine Behaviour and Training’ – with COAPE (Centre Of Applied Pet Ethology).
Passed Silver and Gold Kennel Club Good Citizen with Archie.

2001 – Passed Bronze Kennel Club Good Citizen with Archie.

1996 – attended training classes with my Jack Russell puppy, Archie.