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About Us

At Merlin's K9 Academy your dog comes first! We are a small, passionate team who's goal is to help you achieve your dog training dreams! 


Our Story

We first started as Merlin Dog Training as our head trainer Carol's dream in 2015. She'd spent the last 30 years working with dogs in a variety of settings; kennels, rescues, competition obedience and agility classes, as well as her own pet dogs. She'd been a volunteer trainer for a local club for a number of years, but wasn't a fan of how things were run. She felt the skills being taught focused on creating an obedient dog, a dog that can walk nicely by your side and wait before going through a door - but didn't create a confident dog, a happy dog that doesn't panic at the vets or crumble the second they hear a firework. Social skills weren't worried about, and gaining certificates just meant ticking an over generalised box. Carol dreamed of teaching dogs how to cope in the real world, with true confidence and a stronger relationship with their owners. This is something she'd focused on with her own dogs, a combination of rescues and from-the-breeder pups, aiming to create well rounded and happy dogs - regardless of their background.  Soon she was joined by her daughter, Tori, who became the agility instructor but on a part time basis only. Tori had been brought up in the competitive agility world, competing from a very young age and earning her Kennel Club judging qualification from 16 years old! She had competed with a variety of dogs at this point, including collies, a sheltie and a Boston Terrier! After Tori finished her University degree she decided to join Carol full time as the agility instructor, working with partnerships of all levels achieve whatever agility goals they were aiming for. Tori's passion in agility training is safety and skills, which means teaching the valuable foundations skills before meeting the equipment, this is something she focusses on in her very popular Pre Agility course!​In 2023 we had grown and developed a strong community, and started to feel like we needed to expand and make some changes to accommodate the numbers we were attracting. This started with brining Liz on board as an assistant trainer to help out in our busy weekly life skills classes. Liz is a very passionate dog owner who's dogs welfare comes before anything else, owning two chihuahuas and two mastiff crosses in a busy and active family household. She's worked extremely hard with her dogs which shows in her agility training with her Mastiff cross, Sasha! ​And now we're here! We aim to continue to grow relationships, create clever and confident dogs and help owners achieve their dog training goals all through fun, play and positive reinforcement, but just in a new way! As of Summer 2023 we are Merlin's K9 Academy, a new version of Merlin with a new accessible online system and structured way of learning! This is only the beginning, there is so much more to come and we hope you stick around to see it!

Meet the Team

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Carol Smith

Head Trainer
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Tori Smith

Agility Instructor

Liz O'Brien

Assistant Trainer

Ashlee Ankers

Volunteer Assistant
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