Welcome to Essentially Paws. We believe in supporting owners, helping them to build a better relationship with their dog through fun, kind, effective and scientifically proven methods.

Michelle Garvey has over 14 years experience in training dogs of all ages, breeds and behavioural needs. Essentially Paws offers basic training, agility and scent classes, one to ones and behavioural consultations. Areas covered include Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Cuckfield, Hassocks, Sayers Common, Lindfield surrounding towns. We also offer Zoom training for clients in other areas.

We also offer home visits to give advice and guidance on choosing a puppy, dog or breeder  and preparing for your new puppy/dog. Support can be provided on house rules, introducing the new puppy/dog to other animals in the home or house training.  

Essentially Paws works in partnership with Plumpton College teaching the Canine Behaviour Theory courses. Michelle has been teaching the Introduction and Advanced Canine Behaviour Theory since 2011. For more information on the theory courses: https://www.plumpton.ac.uk/courses/list/

Michelle is also an Assessor for Pets As Therapy, for more information on the charity go to: petsastherapy.org.

Essentially Paws is proud to work closely with the following vets:

Heath Vets in Burgess Hill: http://www.heathvets.com

Oathall Vets in Haywards Heath: oathall-vets.co.uk

Companion Care Vets in Burgess Hill: http://www.companioncare.co.uk/find-a-practice/burgess-hill-vet-surgery/.

Qualifications and Associations

  • Foundation Degree in Canine Behaviour and Training
  • Association of Pet Dog Trainers (01170) Member and Assessor
  • Animal Behaviour and Training Council Registered Animal Trainer
  • Approved Agility Club Instructor
  • Ian Dunbar 4 Day Conference
  • Absolute Dogs Training Academy
  • Chirag Patel Reactivity Talk
  • School of Canine Science
  • Various webinars and online training

Where did it all start?

People often ask how I got into dog training. In 2000 I adopted Ollie, a 6 year old cross breed from a local rescue centre. She had been rehomed 7 times in two years and her behavioural problems became apparent immediately, particularly fear related aggression.  She bit me twice in the first week and I was advised to put her down. I felt that Ollie’s problems were caused by unpleasant experiences and that she was fundamentally a good dog who deserved another chance.

Over time we went to numerous dog training classes and contacted behaviourists, all of whom either refused to deal with Ollie or wanted to use harsh methods. We were asked to leave two different dog training clubs because her behaviour. I realised that I was not comfortable with the ‘traditional’ approach and started to investigate kinder methods of training. 

Ollie eventually learnt to trust people and was able to live a relatively normal life but it was a long process. It took several months of gentle training just for her not to flinch when being approached or stroked. Ollie lived until she was 13 years old and I am very grateful for everything she taught me and for being lucky enough to have known such a wonderful dog. My experiences with Ollie means I understand the difficulties, emotions and heartbreak of a living with a dog who is struggling to cope with normal life.