Steven Symonds

I am an experienced, qualified trainer and animal behaviourist . Since founding Activdogs in 2019, I have worked one to one with more than two thousand dogs and their families, making me the most sought-after trainer on the South Coast. 

I am a Cardiff University Alumni, where I read Biology, hold a Post-Graduate Master’s degree and have undertaken research in fish behaviour.

In my constant quest to increase my knowledge and experience, I am working towards a level 6 diploma in canine behaviour. Soon, I hope to embark on a professional doctorate and complete the certification process for the title of certified clinical animal behaviourist (CCAB).

The Activdogs Ethos

I passionately believe that the relationship between people and their dogs is what matters and that changing how a dog feels must always come before changing how a dog behaves. These two simple principles are behind everything I do and are far more important than whether a dog jumps through a hoop or walks perfectly to heel around a show ring.

My Goal

I am committed to helping dogs and their families to have the absolute best lives, together.

While out with my own dog I would meet people most days who were having issues with their dogs and, in the worst cases, where the relationship with their dog was under serious threat due to training and behaviour challenges. 

Without exception, the people I met wanted to do the best for their dogs. Unfortunately, so much of the advice available from quick-fix experts on TV and on social media is mis-leading, contradictory, ineffective or, far too often, just plain cruel.

There was clearly a need for something better.


Martha is our 10-year-old English Springer Spaniel and, whilst now semi-retired, remains a key member of the ActivDogs team. Martha will often be seen out practising recall with puppies on their first times off-lead. The puppies love to follow, copy and learn whatever Martha does and so it becomes a ‘supercharged’ way to teach recall (vicarious learning). Martha helps in many other ways and fulfills numerous roles including teaching gundog skills. To see a short clip of Martha in action with a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel pup on the ActivDogs Instagram page.