Helen Phillips is the owner of the Clicker Gundog Training Centre in the U.K. and is a qualified teacher and an animal training instructor with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC). With her husband, she manages a small shoot at her training center solely for training purposes. She has been shooting and working dogs in the field for over 30 years, during which time she has been responsible for running varied types of beating lines and working her own dogs from large commercial shoots to rough shooting days. This finally culminated in the organization and running of a small syndicate shoot in Worcestershire, U.K.
She has been breeding Hungarian Vizslas since 1998 and has spent a lifetime with dogs from crosses to spaniels and Hunt Point Retrieve dogs. As a result, she has extensive understanding of living and working with hunting dogs. She has also achieved the working gundog certificate on dummies and on game and has competed in working tests and participates in grouse counting.
She taught a canine training and behavior course at Warwickshire College at two levels for six years and was a business partner with Learning About Dogs in Gloucestershire for 10 years. She has a distinction in the certificate of canine training and behavior from Warwickshire College and holds the City and Guilds Level 5 teaching qualification. She has also achieved the Learning About Dogs clicker trainers competency assessment program levels 1, 2 and 3 with distinction and was an active assessor for the scheme. Alongside this, she trained with Kay Laurence for many years and taught a variety of the clicker training workshops at Wagmore Barn in Gloucestershire.
Currently, she is teaching clicker gundog courses around the world as well as at her own training facility. Her focus is on promoting the use of force free, positive reinforcement training techniques and strategies within gundog training and field sports in general.
She is a Pet Professional Guild special counsel and has also created – and is the chair of – the Vale and West Gundog Club, whose mission is to provide support and encouragement to those wishing to use, or already using force-free training and organize events that provide a safe environment for members to participate in. She is an instructor and assessor for the Gundog Club, an organization that declared its force-free policy in 2018 and runs courses each year for all levels.
Alongside Jules Morgan she designed and is a director of the Gundog Trainers Academy (GTA) to meet the increasing demand for ethical gundog training with a robust qualification and assessment procedure. The GTA has just completed the rigorous assessment process for accreditation to the ABTC and is now a member organization as well as ambassador partner of the Pet Professional Guild. She is also author of the book, Clicker Gundog, which draws on building a strong connection between dog and handler working as a team in the environment.