John has been professionally involved with the training of both dogs and handlers for nearly 50 years. He initially acquired his dog training knowledge through the methods used by the Metropolitan Police in London and the British South Africa Police in the mid 60’s. 

In 1969 John joined the Royal Rhodesian Air Force where, over a period of 13 years, he served in various capacities from a dog handler, trainer and instructor, to Dogmaster, Officer Commanding the Security & Dog Training Schools and ultimately Commanding Officer of the Air Force Regiment in the rank of Wing Commander.

Whilst with the Air Force, John’s involvement with dogs included the training and use of basic single and multi handled guard and infantry patrol dogs, specialist tracker dogs, including helicopter radio controlled trackers for use during counter insurgency operations. John was also involved with the training and development of explosive, mine and drug detection dogs and handlers.

When off duty, John volunteered to assist members of the public with their dogs, in the capacity of Chief Instructor, at various Clubs affiliated to the Kennel Union (SA) and he was also well known for the quality of the dog displays both he and his wife Sandie put on at Showground’s throughout Rhodesia.  John and his Dobermann “Kurt” and team of Air Force Dog Handlers won a host of Obedience and Working Trial titles between 1970-78.  From time to time John also served as a Working Trials Judge during this period.

After a brief 18-month stint as a senior Manager with Reliance Security Services in London, John joined Rand Water as a Security Manager in 1986, where he helped build their Security Dog Handler capacity both within the National Keypoint environment generally and in various competitions such as SAWDIS, where Rand Water’s Dog Handlers performed well.  During this time, as a hobby, John entered Obedience and Working Trial competitions with his Private dog, OB Ch Lascala Kilian TD2, IWT2. He also served as Chief Instructor and Secretary to the Klipview All Breeds Dog Training Club in Vereeniging and wrote many dog-training articles, published not only in the KUSA Gazette, but also overseas.  Supported by his wife Sandie and her dog Meg, John and Kilian put on dog displays for charity and at various formal and social events at Rand Water and other organisations.

In keeping with the changing times as well as the risk profile of Rand Water in the context of the “new” South Africa, John disbanded the organisation’s Dog Section in mid 1996.

John took a break from active participation in the dog world between 1995-1999 whilst he studied to qualify at University in the field of Risk Management.  In July 2000 John decided it was time once again to go ‘back to the dogs’ when he acquired an Australian Shepherd puppy by the name of Stavros the “Blue” Erin.  For the purposes of socialisation and an appropriate training environment, John and “Blue” trained with Klipview and Van Der Bijlpark Dog Training Clubs as well as the Top Dog Training School in Vereeniging and the South African Dog Training College in Klipriver.  Blue acquired his first Obedience Championship Certificate at the age of 18 months. One month later at the SADTC, Blue won the All Round Dog of the Year, the Internal Obedience and the External Competition Show Trophies as well as Agility and Protection awards and certificates for 2001.  Blue and John were also awarded the best Obedience Team for 2001 by Topdog Training School.

Blue did  well in Agility and Jumping competitions and  put on many displays involving scent, fire, carting, ropewalking and a variety of control and agility exercises.

John retired from Rand Water in late 2001 and purchased a property in the Randpark Ridge area of Johannesburg where he and Sandie did private training lessons for the rich and lazy and ran a dog training school in Florida.. He is an Associate of the Society of Risk Managers of South Africa, a Member of the Security Association of South Africa (SASA), has a Grade A Certification with the Security Officers Board and was a member of the South African Association of Dog Obedience Instructors.

In early 2002, John got a little bored with retirement and took up a position as Risk and Facilities Manager for Illovo in Pongola, where he resided until retirement in mid 2009. During this period, John and Sandie kept their hands in by training their own dogs as well as helping others on a voluntary no/charge basis, through one on one training sessions and/or occasional training in classes. The small fee charged for formal classes went to the Ntonga Club for the use of their facilities.

After leaving Pongola John moved to his plot in Sports Rd. Fairleads Benoni and then to Plot 177 Nkwe Rd Tierpoort (E Pretoria).  During 2008 and 2009 John became aware of the dog poisoning problems in many urban areas and applied his mind to the best possible solution for residents in high risk areas.  He carried out considerable research using his own dogs as well as others in the local community and has acquired a variety of abstention training aids available on the market with a view to assessing their worth.  This work continues, albeit in an informal/ ad hoc/advisory capacity, to whomever seeks help. The research was never really intended as a business generating exercise, as this sort of specialised service is seldom financially sustainable for a variety of reasons and also can be somewhat controversial, especially if applied by the unenlightened and inexperienced owner/handler.  His work helping others with a variety of dog training problems also continues on a non profit basis. 

John has recently(2014-2015) been working closely with and mentoring the Dog Training consultant presently engaged by the National Parks with regards their anti rhino poaching foxhound tracking project as well as other alternative dog related options in respect of  catching poachers.

Both John and Sandie have recently acquired a new young dog( born May 2015), a Border bitch called Jessie which they are busy training.