About Us

Taking the Lead

About Us

Meet the Team

At taking the lead we pride ourselves on being able to impart our knowledge and experience from 3 well qualified and experienced trainers. Scroll down to meet your trainer!


Finding out what makes dogs and owners “tick” is what Nik loves about her job the most. For Nik, finding the reason behind a dog’s behaviour is the most motivating part of her job. But the second most important part is being able to communicate this to the dog’s owner and she prides herself on being able to get owner’s and their dogs working together as a “team”.

As Nik says: “If you can’t get the owner onboard with the training then it will not happen. My job is to find a way that works for them that will totally change their relationship with the dog for the better.”

It is this need to understand dogs and their owners that drew Nik into a career as a dog trainer. She had always been fascinated by psychology but whilst she learned some as part of her degree, she had not had the chance to use it in her career. And with her love of dogs it seemed the obvious choice to put the two together.
Nik also trains her current dog, Nero – a rescue lurcher – in the sport of hoopers. She also has another older dog, Ollie, who has taught her much along the route as he had separation anxiety, was reactive to other dogs and not all that keen on people!

She began her own training journey completing her Level 2 Dog Care, Training and Management course in  at Writtle College followed by  Level 3 with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) before becoming a fully-qualified trainer.
She has also completed Level 4 in Common Behaviour Problems with the CIDBT.

Nik lives in Theydon Bois and is married with two teenage children.

Nik O'Flynn Dog trainer Essex


Haz got the bug for dog training after starting up her own dog-walking business, Scruffy Puppy Co, in 2018. She realised the more she worked with dogs the more she wanted to know about them; how they learn and how best to train them.

As a first step she began as an assistant at Taking the Lead and once she was hooked, she completed her IMDT instructor course to become a trainer.

Haz has a love of terriers and got her first rescue dog, Darcie, a West Highland Terrier in 2016 followed by Prudence the Yorkshire Terrier, before starting life as a trainer. Once she completed her training, she was looking for a new challenge and got another Westie, a puppy called Pickle so she could train her right from the start.

With Pickle, Haz discovered a love for dog agility, and she is now training others in that sport.

Haz is married to Stew whom she has been with for 14 years. Before finding her true calling in the canine world she worked her way up through recruitment up to manager level over a span of 11 years.


Dan is an IMDT qualified dog trainer, driven by a deep passion for canine companionship. His journey into the world of dog training began with his own beloved dog, Otto, sparking a desire to understand everything dog!

Motivated by the transformative “gotcha” moment when both owner and dog experience breakthroughs, Dan is committed to promoting ethical dog training practices. He has sought guidance from mentors Nik and Haz, who have inspired him to continuously improve his training methods. Beyond individual & group training sessions, Dan aims to make a positive impact on the wider community by advocating for responsible pet ownership and strengthening the bond between humans and their four-legged companions.

With a solid foundation of knowledge and experience, Dan has completed various training courses and workshops. His qualifications include; Level 3 OCN Learning Motivation & Reinforcement, IMDT Practical instructor, IMDT Easy Peasy Puppy Instructor, IMDT Body Language, Canine First aid & Intermediate Dog Training Methods for the Modern Dog Trainer (GoDT). Dan is dedicated to his continuous professional development and will be completing a number of courses this year including the OCN Level 4, Training and Behaviour Consultations and Functions of Behaviour correspondence course.

Through his dedication to understanding canine psychology and his genuine love for dogs, Dan has successfully helped improve the lives of numerous owners and their dogs.

Book your dog training sessions now