Meet the Sussex dog trainer to the stars whose clients appeared in the 2023 John Lewis Christmas advert and Hollywood movie The Flash

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Meet the Sussex dog trainer whose four-legged clients have starred in adverts, television shows and even Hollywood movies.

Kathleen Tepperies, from Polegate, has been a certified trick dog instructor since 2012 when she discovered a passion for training her late pooch Brandy.

Now, the highly sought-after dog trainer has worked with the BBC, ITV and a huge variety of other big brands, including Pinterest, Co-op and JML.

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In 2016, Kathleen was scouted by Sky 1 for the show ‘Dogs Might Fly’ to train pups to pilot planes… yes, really.

Kathleen Tepperies and Pomeranian Jane who appeared in the 2023 John Lewis Christmas advert. Photo: staffKathleen Tepperies and Pomeranian Jane who appeared in the 2023 John Lewis Christmas advert. Photo: staff
Kathleen Tepperies and Pomeranian Jane who appeared in the 2023 John Lewis Christmas advert. Photo: staff

Then, in 2023, she spent six days on set with her client Jane, a five-year-old Pomeranian, for the hugely-popular John Lewis Christmas advert.

Kathleen’s own dogs are no stranger to the big screen either, with her nine-year-old rescue pooch, Rebel, securing a role alongside Ezra Miller in the superhero film The Flash, which hit cinemas worldwide last year.

Despite mixing with the stars, Kathleen doesn’t get starstruck as she ‘doesn’t really look at the names’.

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“I just want to make sure my dog can perform whatever we need to do,” she added.

Kathleen's dog Rebel played a therapy dog in the 2023 film The Flash. Photo: still from the film, credit to Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios, Double Dream, and the Disco Factory.Kathleen's dog Rebel played a therapy dog in the 2023 film The Flash. Photo: still from the film, credit to Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios, Double Dream, and the Disco Factory.
Kathleen's dog Rebel played a therapy dog in the 2023 film The Flash. Photo: still from the film, credit to Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios, Double Dream, and the Disco Factory.

Rebel, who was picked up as a stray when he was young, is proof that even rescue dogs can learn elaborate tricks. The Jack Russell also holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest stacking of plastic cups by a dog – with a time of 12.08 seconds.

When she’s not on set or breaking world records, Kathleen runs training classes through her business Fun Trick Dog Training. With the option to join a class in-person or virtually, thousands of dog-owners from all over the world have jumped at the chance to learn from Kathleen.

Just some of the tricks Kathleen teaches her four-legged clients include: skateboarding, blowing bubbles, balancing objects on different body parts, moonwalking, opening cupboards, ringing a bell and even playing Connect-Four.

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Kathleen said: “Dogs love to get involved in new activities and I believe that every dog, no matter what size, breed or age, given enough time with the right approach, can learn new things.

“I have witnessed many different types of dogs making joyful progress as their owners learn to communicate with them.”

To find out more about Kathleen’s work, and to join in with a training class, visit: www.trick-dog-training.co.uk.