.....dog & puppy training the fun way

About Our Instructors

Petra du Toit is the chief instructor and owner of the training center. Her extensive experience started in 1994 with competition obedience and traditional training methods. She completed her Advanced Dog Behavior diploma in 2003 (Cum Laude), with the Pretoria Technicon. Moving from traditional obedience training to therapy dog training and crossing over to positive reinforcement methods, Petra has obtained her ADT (Associate Dog Trainer) Diploma with the International College for Canine Studies, under the guidance of internationally renown trainers and behaviorists such as Barbara Handelmann, Rachel Friedmann, Kathy Cascade, Sue Alexander, and others. Petra is qualified Super Pup trainer, supported by Royal Canin and her passion to teach people to train their dogs is seen in every class she offers. She has also assisted the SPCA Vanderbijlpark with temperament evaluations an,d rehoming evaluations of these shelter dogs. Petra has successfully achieved her international certification as CPDT-KA (Certified professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed) and is the first (and currently only) dog trainer in South Africa with this pretigious title. Her full profile can be viewed here

Through careful selection and training, Petra has employed some very enthusiastic and able help trainers, to assist with the general classes and play groups. After undergoing strict evaluations and dog behavior training, these help trainers apply their knowledge to their human and canine clients. Again, it is passion and love for the work they do, that differentiates them from other instructors in the area. Most of the instructors have dealt with problem behavior in their own dogs and are more that willing and able to transfer their knowledge to their clientele. Currently, Happy Tails Dog Training Center is blessed with the assistance of very capable instructors

  • Joan Hepburn: owner of Suzie Dachshund and Bonnie Labrador, this lady is a pleasure to work with. Her sense of humor makes any class she teaches, a refreshing experience. Joan specialises in the more advanced training of Canine Good Citizens

  • Tanja Grensing is our junior trainer since the age of 14. She qualified as therapy dog handler at the age of 10 years, started training her Golden Retriever Molly with 11 and, for her age, has a vast knowledge base on dog training and behavior. Tanja loves teaching tricks and assists with agility and the play group, as well as puppy class and individual training sessions. She was the first handler of Caring Friends Therapy Dogs, to pass the KUSA Canine Good Citizen Gold test

  • Leigh-Ann Vermaak: coming as well from a traditional training background, Leigh-Ann found her calling at our center. Having a Chocolate Labbie with socialisation issues, she invests time and effort into teaching new puppy owners how "not to do it". Her Golden Retriever Gizmo is a qualified therapy dog, raised and trained in our postive classes. Gizmo has passed his CGC Gold test in December 2015

  • Philip Santilhano joined Caring Friends Therapy Dogs with his Irish Wolfhound Wallace and has since obtained Dougal, also an Irish Wolfhound puppy, with whom he attends therapy dog visits. Philip has trained these 2 dogs with Happy Tails. He is involved in the Irish Wolfhound club and shows his dogs at championship shows regularly. His involvement as trainer started in 2015, when our classes grew larger and he and Joan are primarily teaching advanced classes with focus on Canine Good Citizen certification. Philip and Dougal have passed the CGC Gold certification in December 2015

  • Jana Santilhano has attended our puppy classes with Great Dane Chelsea, Irish Wolfhound Stirling and Irish Wolfhound Reilly, and has obtained great knowledge about puppy training and behaviour. She has great compassion for puppies and their owners and is always ready to assist them. Jana has since started assisting in puppy class and, together with Tanja, is now teaching Puppy II and Puppy III classes

Piet Nortjie: or "Oupa Piet", as he is lovingly labeled by all, is our senior help trainer. Oupa Piet loves challenges with difficult dogs, and by working one-on-one with their owners, he manages to instill confidence and handling skills. Oupa Piet and his Golden Retriever Joel have completed over 400 therapy dog visits and Joel is approaching his well deserved retirement