Niki was born in England, but her parents immigrated to South Africa when she was 2 years old. The first part of her schooling was in South Africa, & at 12 years old she returned to England with her mother.
Growing up in South Africa, she felt as free as a bird, never had shoes on or winter clothes. This was where her love of animals took root. Their house was always full of animals of every description from snakes to rats, birds, dogs, cats etc. Her father was an ex-army officer who was very involved in intelligence work during the 2nd World War, & never really accepted civilian life. He ruled with an iron rod - every person & animal stood to attention when he was around. It was during that time that Niki began to feel that there was a better way to treat both people & animals and started helping with the neighbours dogs to teach them how to “be good dogs”.
When she returned to England, they lived in a tiny flat & were not allowed any animals. As soon as she was old enough she went to stay in Italy. Here she encountered thousands of homeless stray cats roaming the streets of Italy & she adopted a couple of these cats. When it was time to return to England, smuggled the cats back on the train in a basket. She returned to South Africa at the age of 21, where she has lived ever since. She always wanted to be a Vet, but never had the finances to support herself through University. Her life has been spent learning new things; "Grow until you Go" has always been her motto.
She has had quite a number of different businesses from Squash teacher to African hairdressing, to catering, to owning a food shop as well as helping her husband in his construction company. She worked for 2 years in the TTouch office with Eugenie Chopin, & it was there she learn’t about & became addicted to TTouch.
Niki qualified as a TTouch Practitioner Level 1 in 2003 and went on to qualify as a Level 2 Practitioner in 2005. In December 2003 she qualified to give Puppy Socialization classes and went on to incorporate clicker into all these classes after qualifying as a clicker Instructor in March 2004. In December 2005 Niki qualified as an Obedience Instructor through MacKanine. Together with Kay Aitcheson, the Puppies In Balance training school was started and they built this from just one puppy class per week to doing 10 classes a week, some of which include Adult classes in Obedience, Agility and Heel Work to Music. In January 2006 Niki qualified as a Kitten trainer and Practitioner. In July 2006, Niki co-founded ThinkingPets behaviour practice, but resigned in 2012. She consults with clients at their homes as well as at her practice in Bryanston.
Niki is one of the co-presenters of the different courses offered through Bodies In Balance and has been a guest speaker on radio and television programs. Niki has written articles on TTouch, training and behaviour for Cats Life, Animal Talk, Dog Directory and several breed clubs as well as presenting TTouch workshops to Veterinary Nurses at Onderstepoort and assisting with training at the Police Dog Unit at Roodeplatt in Pretoria.
I grew up with animals in our home. Although we moved from town to town when I was a child, we always at least had dogs in the home. I've always said, a home isn't a home without a pet! For me, if it wasn't cats or dogs, then cockatiels and guinea pigs were the order of the day. When I got married, my husband and I got our first dog together and I felt the need to take him to puppy classes. Alas, I found the traditional methods of choke chain training quite stressful. I moved on and found TTouch and clicker training...yay! I immediately found these modern methods more agreeable to my nature. To be able to teach my dog behaviours without shouting and yanking him around was just fabulous! The great thing for me was that he really came into his own and happily learnt new exercises ... and remembered them. To this day (he's 13 years old now), he gets excited about learning new tricks! Gradually more dogs and cats have been added to the household - all being raised by way of positive reinforcement. It's truly remarkable to see how much can be accomplished using these methods. In 2004 Niki Elliott and I joined forces and started a puppy school together. That school grew and grew and soon became the 2 schools we currently run. In 2004 I qualified as a TTouch Practitioner 1 for Companion Animals. In 2004 I also qualified as a Clicker instructor and in 2005 as an Obedience Instructor through Canine Culture. In all classes we try to incorporate fun with the learning. The classes range from puppy socialization through to "seriously fun" heel work to music and agility.