Dog Behaviour and Training isn’t always easy. We all love our little furry friends but sometimes, they don’t behave quite how we would like. Presenting issues such as jumping up, pulling on the lead, over-excitement, stealing, separation anxiety – can all be challenging. Such problems can make dog ownership difficult and not as happy as it might otherwise be.
Why do I need a Dog Behaviourist?
Dog behaviour is a passion of mine, one I’ve studied at length over many years. As a qualified Canine Behaviourist I am able to assess the unwanted behaviour. I can then determine the reasons for it, and then work with you to make changes. Together we can resolve the issues and find solutions to problem behaviours. Then we can ensure you and your fur baby can live together in harmony.
What Behaviour needs correcting?
My own dogs are by no means, perfectly behaved. I never wanted them to be perfect as I love my dogs’ characters and quirkiness. My main priorities are that I need them to be safe and happy and to respond to cues that keep them safe.
Managing behaviour is subjective. Some people are happy to be pulled around on the lead on a walk, whilst others want to teach their dogs to play hoopla. Behaviour management is all about the relationship between you and your dog which makes living together possible, enjoyable and comfortable.
Most of us have issues with our dogs every now and again. We will work in partnership to resolve the issues., With a little guidance, a lot of love, over time through consistency of training and approach changes are achievable. It’s not always straight forward or easy, but hopefully it’s fun and we do it together!
How do dog’s learn?
Dog behaviour and how dogs learn is not intuitive to us mere humans. It’s not necessarily logical until you think about things in a different way. It’s not like teaching and communicating with children though, we know how hard that can be!
Dogs can’t link one action with another unless it’s instantaneous. For example, you shout at your dog because he’s made a mess while you were out. Over time he just learns that, when you come home you shout at him. He doesn’t connect the mess he made with your anger. He made the mess 2 hours ago, just as you were leaving. So he’ll begin to dread you coming home, which makes him more anxious when you go out! And another example:
You scold your dog when she finally comes back to you after you’ve been shouting her for the last half hour. This teaches her that coming back to you will be met with anger – so she stays away longer.
So if there is a behaviour issue you have with your dog please give me a call and I’ll gladly help you!! Sometimes it just needs a bit of ‘translation’.
Reactivity and Aggression in Dogs
I have worked with reactive and aggressive dogs – the terms often get confused and mis-used but they mean entirely different things. A reactive dog is a dog who reacts to a stimulus that may frighten them for example. An aggressive dog is one that wishes to cause harm. My own Labrador, Cookie is reactive. She is frightened of people and new situations so she reacts in a nervous, ‘I want to hide’ way, or she may bark incessantly. She is not aggressive, but is reactive.
I have worked with aggressive dogs. These dogs have wanted to eat me. And within a very short space of time, I have been able to gain their trust or allowed their owners to understand how to manage their behaviour. Most often, they are fearful, and don’t know how to react in a given scenario eg being approached by a stranger who may harm them or their owners. Man has bred these different breeds with different traits – specialists for guarding, security eg Dobermans, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and then we put them in a family home and expect them to cope. Or Terriers such as our very own Jack Russell Terrier who is absolutely wired to hunt and dig out her prey. We put them in a family home and expect them to observe the lovely lawn. Training and behaviour assessment is about creating an understanding between owners and their pets, so that each can learn how to manage the other.
If you need my help, firstly I would visit you to discuss exactly what the problems are. I prefer to work in the dog’s own environment where they are comfortable. We’ll discuss the dog’s background and specific problems before beginning some corrective behaviours. Most behaviour issues require a minimum of 3 sessions to fully address. This enables establishment of new behaviours that are instilled into the dog’s day-to-day habits and routines. It’s only through repetition and consistency of instruction that sustained change will be achieved.
Consultations and Training sessions are charged at £60.00 per hour.
Additional home visits are charged at £60.00 per hour. This enables continued working on previously discussed issues. Further issues may require a further home consultation. Further help over the telephone is charged at £40.00 per hour for support with previously discussed issues.
And just a point to note, I don’t support any form of physical punishment. My methods are kind and effective over time without you damaging your relationship with your dog. Training through force and fear does work, but fundamentally damages your relationship with your dog who becomes fearful of you. Such methods are unkind and unethical. Rewarding good behaviour is the way to encourage it. Behaviour that is encouraged and rewarded will be repeated. Behaviour that is ignored (with some exceptions), or not rewarded will occur less often before eventually extinguishing. This is how I work.