1. Contact me to arrange a free, no-obligation 20 minute phone call where we discuss how I can best help you and your dog. You can reach me via my contact form, text or WhatsApp message, email, or a phone call. If you need to leave a message I will get back to you as soon as I can.
I help dog owners with a wide variety of behaviour issues in their pets through careful diagnosis of each problem and application of humane, evidence-based behaviour modification protocols using the Least Invasive Minimally Aversive (LIMA) approach. I emphasise comfortable, positive interaction with your dog by enhancing our understanding of their communication gestures. I also advocate progressive, reward-based training in helping your pet gain confidence in performing the behaviour we want.
Problems frequently seen include:
Aggressive behaviour towards the family, strangers, and/or other dogs
Separation related behaviour such as destructiveness, vocalising or depression
Noise fears and phobias, and other anxieties
Reactivity on the lead, livestock worrying, recall problems, problems with house training, unwanted attention seeking behaviour, raiding the bins… this is not an exhaustive list!
Some behavioural issues are complex, requiring detailed behavioural investigation and follow-up support. Others need the same level of exploration, but the outcome may be a simpler behaviour plan which is easier to execute. Some cases of unwanted behaviour are more easily assessed and corrected though careful re-education of the dog over a series of training sessions. Speaking with me first will help us work out what is best for you.
2. Get your dog checked by your vet (if you haven't already done this of course!). We can't train pain and illness and pain affect our dog's emotional lives with consequence for their behaviour. In some cases very stressed and anxious dogs benefit from medication that only your vet can prescribe. Your vet will need to refer you and your dog to me and forward their medical history via the vet referral form. In may cases the vets I work with regularly will have already done this by the time we first speak.
3. Give me some extra detail on your dog's behaviour. Write down in as much detail as you can, an account of all the issues you are having and send it to me via email. You can also send me videos of your dog on WhatsApp (07974 569407), but make sure you don't put you or your dog in harms' way with your filming. I'll believe you if he or she bites or tries to herd traffic, you don't need to put you or your dog at risk to show me this.
4. We meet! This will either be in person (subject to Covid 19 regulations) or virtually in a Zoom meeting. Zoom meetings are really useful for getting the ball rolling for me to take your dog's case history, understand how and why they feel, think and behave, and set up your bespoke behaviour plan.
5. You receive your behaviour report, action plan and additional informational material, then we move on to regular communication on our agreed behaviour support plan and keep you moving forward.
Behavioural consultations are conducted at your home or online, and involve taking further details on your dog’s behaviour, lifestyle and relationship with you. Provided it is safe to do so, I also observe your dog's behaviour and interaction with you and in any other environment where there is a problem, such as on a walk. The aim of this is to fully evaluate your dog’s unwanted behaviour, what his or her motivation is for the behaviour, their emotional state surrounding the problem, and what they are trying to communicate. This thorough diagnosis helps me to create a practical, individual and humane treatment program with you. You will be supplied with a written report and bespoke action plan containing the all-important action plan, broken down into its individual steps to help guide you and stay on track.
Follow-on Behaviour Training and Support
Each dog and owner are different and so are the problems that are presented. We will work out what form of training and support you need during our Initial Behavioural Consultation when the problem has been fully understood and we have learned what it will take to solve the issues. Support is often a combination of online, phone and in-person visits.
Puppies and dogs under one year of age
It's not unusual to experience problems related to the dog's age, often the result of puberty and the “terrible teens”! Such problems may be related to house training, attention seeking, or even aggressive behaviour or fearfulness. Provided there aren't above average complexities to such cases, most owners and their young dogs benefit from a specifically designed puppy/adolescent consultation with the above follow-up services as necessary. The puppy consultation usually takes around 2 hours and covers the behavioural and emotional development of your young dog, as well as bespoke management and training advice to help them grow up emotionally well-balanced dogs.
All of my dog behaviour services are only available on veterinary referral. If you are having a problem with your pet’s behaviour it is important that you consult your vet first, just in case the reason for your pet’s behaviour is medical. If no physical problem is diagnosed, you can ask to be referred to me.