Dog Behaviour

This page is primarily about problem behaviour in young or adult or dogs. We can also help with your puppy, but it’s a different process. Our puppy page is here.

Dog behaviour is a huge subject and not something that is easy to embrace fully on a single page. However, if you feel that you are having some issues with your dog, then you probably are. These can be minor issues that are just generally annoying for you (for example your dog jumps up on all your visitors or barks like mad when the doorbell rings) or they can be quite major, to the point where you are reluctant to walk your dog because it becomes a battle of wills between you.

Most behaviour sessions only need one visit!Dog Behaviour

Generally, people just need some guidance, a bit of confidence themselves and a clear picture of how to help their dog make progress. This is the main thing we are aiming for.

Some examples of issues that may be considered problem behaviours are:

  • Pulling on the leash
  • Jumping up
  • Separation anxiety
  • Problems with traveling and vet visits
  • Poor socialisation
  • Fearfulness
  • Aggression*

An initial consult and set up session is usually around 2.5 hours but we ask that you allow 3 and if it takes longer, that is no problem. I want to leave you with everything you need to know to continue to help your dog after I leave and to help you establish the basics and build the foundations of what you will work on. In the majority of cases, the foundation session, assessment and consult are a flat rate with no additional charges, depending on your location

At the end of a session you will be left with guidance notes to refer to until I get home where I will tailor an individual behaviour modification programme for you and your dog which includes a full write up, video clips to give you visual reminders and other useful hints and tips. Free support via phone or email are available for the three months following any initial consult.

It is best to start when you have around 48 consecutive hours free to work with your dog so as to get things well practiced and established and then you will need to be around fairly consistently over the next week. This means that for many people a weekend is a good time to start. There is no extra charge for this on Saturdays but they do tend to book up in advance. Additional charges apply for Sunday and Public holiday bookings.

In most cases, things will change considerably over the next month of training and as long as you are consistent in your approach and you put the work in, you are usually well on the way to helping your dog become a good canine citizen in that time.

*Occasionally there will be behaviours that might benefit from an additional, second session but it is usually only with the more challenging behaviours such as dog to dog or dog to human aggression where more help is often needed. Even with these cases it is usually about building confidence and not about true aggression, which is in fact quite rare in dogs.

More challenging cases, where aggression is seen in some form, require on average between 3 and 5 visits depending on the severity of the case and to ensure that owners get enough support to be able to continue to work with their dog, growing his or her confidence by themselves. Each dog will be assessed on a case by case basis and an idea of what will be required is given during the initial assessment and consult.

Example Rates:

Foundation Session (2½ –  3hrs) £90.00


Follow Up Session £30.00 per hour or part thereof in 15 min increments
Travel charges – 25p per km outside of 40km radius (applicable only to follow up visits

Sundays and Public holidays cost  an additional £30.

 

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Dog Training
Session information:

Kibble: although not essential, it is great if your dog is on kibble because we actually use the entire food ration as training treats and where this is a dog’s main motivator, we use a combination of low value and high value treats along with toys.

For those that are fearful and unable to take treats or who are not treat motivated, often things like tricks or target touching are more effective – anything that for the dog, creates the impression of doing a job. The main aim is to redirect unwanted behaviours into wanted behaviours and with many cases we are working on changing the state of mind, rather than a specific behaviour.

Work is initially done on leash and in the home so that your dog learns a new foundation in the place that is his comfort zone. Home is also usually the place where owners feel comfortable and confident too and learning is always best when both dog and human are relaxed and having fun. A collar and leash are usually all that are necessary along with a decent treat pouch that stays open easily and doesn’t flop shut at inconvenient moments!

For dogs that have aggression issues, training to a muzzle may help, but for dog on dog aggression, this is not necessary for the first session. For dog on human aggression, training the dog to a muzzle is essential before a first visit and information about how to do this and the best types of muzzle to use will be provided.

It is helpful for us to get some idea about what you are facing and so please feel welcome to write to us with as much detail as you like about what you are struggling with. Often it feels good just to be able to share the burden and find that there is a way forward.

Although we ideally want to use reward based training methods, we do ask owners to keep in mind that this might not always be the most effective method for every dog behaviour. Calm, assertive leadership is needed around dogs along with clear rules and boundaries. Dogs do give each other reprimands and so there may be times when your dog will need this. Without clear leadership, dogs feel lost and can be inclined to feel that there is no option but to try and fill that role for themselves, one that they are distinctly not happy in. As a social animal, and one that is in effect always a puppy, due to the way we have selectively bred them over many years, they need us to be the decision makers.

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