Full Disclosure

Full Disclosure
Full disclosure - Why it's important to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to your trainer! AKA, how do I get the best outcome for my dog? When you come to a dog trainer for help, you should know that's exactly what you get. All good dog trainers are invested in your success as much as you are. They want to help you get the very best possible outcome for you and your dog. They don't judge you. They don't want to shame you. They don't think you're stupid. They need to know what you've been dealing with and how you've been dealing with it. They need to know E...
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Anxiety

Anxiety
Some dogs are born anxious. It's part of their genetic make up. Some dogs have become anxious as a result of their experiences (or lack of experiences). Whatever the trigger is for their anxiety, whether it's the presence of other dogs, or people, or cars, or cows or some other object, animal or situation...it doesn't have to stay that way. You can ALWAYS make a difference, sometimes a big difference. What we should NOT do is make excuses for it. Accept it, make a plan and move through it. We do this by providing the dog with clear, calm leadership and information about what we do and ...

Genetics

Genetics
Genetics: You can't fight nature. Sometimes it's best to go with the flow instead of tackling things head on. The reality is that:  Not every dog can be super social with other dogs  Not every dog likes kids  Not every dog likes guests visiting their home They all have personalities and preferences and whilst we can train to improve what we have; we simply cannot change genetics. The nature of the dog is the nature of the dog and our role as responsible dog owners is to understand what we've got and to respect our dogs. Respect is a two way street. We expect our dogs to respect...

The Fundamentals

The Fundamentals
It's always worth remembering the fundamentals, whether you're training a puppy or an older dog, teaching something new or problem solving an unwanted behaviour the same fundamentals will ALWAYS hold true. Your dog only does 2 things. 1. Tries to get things he likes 2. Tries to avoid things he doesn't like I could go on and on and on about this with 100 examples but every dog is different and the things that one dog likes or doesn't like is not the same for the next dog. You need to learn about YOUR dog and know what things they like and don't like in order to make this work for y...

Reactive Dogs: Arousal

Reactive Dogs: Arousal
For those of you with reactive dogs or who are struggling with the walk, impulse control or aggression here's the key. Arousal. Arousal is your enemy. Arousal is the point before the outburst (whatever kind of outburst that may be) when your dog's mental state changes and the body generates adrenaline, the muscles tense up and the dog kicks into fight or flight mode. This moment, immediately prior to the outburst, when the dog becomes aroused, THIS is the point where you need to intervene to de-escalate. You might think your dog is 'just excited' but I can assure you that what you se...
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Will Neutering Fix My Problem?

Will Neutering Fix My Problem?
This can be a hot topic and one which has people coming out strongly in favour of or against this medical procedure. Neutering is the generic term to describe the de-sexing of a dog. For males it's also called castration or for females it's known as spaying. ✂️ What does this have to do with dog training? After all, we train what's between the ears, not what's between the legs! Well, you may or may not be surprised to hear that the same urban myth continues to be shared by the ill informed and uneducated professionals and amateurs alike, online and offline, in parks, training classes ...
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What Are You Allowing?

What Are You Allowing?
Left to their own devices, dogs will do what they want to do whenever they want to do it. When dogs live with us as pets, more accurately they will do whatever they're allowed to do, whenever they're allowed to do it. So if you are reluctant to impose boundaries on your dog it's quite likely they will exhibit behaviours which people will find anti-social. Like barking a lot, jumping up on people, mouthing, nipping, soiling indoors, resource guarding, showing aggression towards people or other dogs. Now, there are hardly any people who could honestly say they do not impose any boundaries on ...
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Using Natural Drives

Using Natural Drives
Is your dog chasing birds, rabbits, deer, something else? Is he digging holes all over your garden? Obsessing about something? Our dogs all need to have an outlet for their natural drives and instincts. The drive or instincts of your dog will vary according to their breed and also to their individual temperament. Some of these tendencies can be a real nuisance to us as dog owners and whilst it's possible to reduce or suppress some behaviours in the short term it's also often best if we can find an outlet for our dogs to fulfil these behaviours safely. If your dog is chasing the birds ...
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Driving a Car

Driving a Car
Give yourself a break! No one was born with the ability to drive a car. Training and handling dogs is a lot like learning to drive a car. It takes time to develop the ability to press the clutch, steer, check the mirror, change gear, operate the wipers and have a chat with your passenger at the same time. However, over time, with instruction and practice, you learn. It's always good to watch other people you admire as good dog handlers and observe their body posture, their position, where and how they reward their dogs, what they do to motivate them, how they hold the leash, what they...
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The Dance

The Dance
When we dance as a couple there is a leader (usually the man) and a follower (usually the lady). In order for the dance to be smooth and fluid there must be a leader and a follower. Ladies....this one is for you. If you can dance in hold you will understand exactly what I mean when I say you must trust your partner, you must follow your partner and even when something goes wrong and the steps are not as expected, when you are a team together you will go with the flow and dance through it and no one will know there was an error. When you are learning to dance and your partner doesn't know...
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The Walk

The Walk
Top 5 Tips for Getting The Walk Right 1. A well fitting collar and lead is the first thing, or a slip lead, but not a harness which is designed to help dogs pull. 2. Make sure the dog is calm and attentive before you leave the house. 3. Changes of pace and changes of direction will help keep your dog focused on you instead of the exciting smells. 4. Keep your leash short, only enough length for your dog to be right next to you 5. Walk at a smart pace. The walk is for exercise!
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Timing is Key

Timing is Key
Whether you're trying to build a new behaviour or stop an old one, timing is key! When we use a clicker to mark a behaviour - like a shutter of a camera capturing a moment - we must take care as the dog is watching our every move. It's critical that we firstly mark the behaviour we want as it happens (click!) and THEN move to reach for the reward. The same applies when marking unwanted behaviour. The mark ("No!") must come before the consequence you are trying to pair it with. If your timing is off, or you don't reward or apply consequences CONSISTENTLY (and we've covered consist...
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Stress

Stress
Should we protect dogs from stress? Is your dog stressed? Would you know? It's my opinion that we should protect dogs from living in a state of stress, but not protect them from stressful experiences. Let me explain why. When a puppy is born it immediately starts experiencing stress. Every new experience is stressful to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the dog. This continues when they go home (more stress, new people, other dogs, different smells), when they go out (different environment, sounds, smells, stimuli). All these stressful experiences develop the dog's coping mecha...
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Should my dog be allowed on the bed/furniture?

Should my dog be allowed on the bed/furniture?
To be frank…that’s none of my business! It’s only my business when you bring your dog to me for antisocial and out of control behaviour. If your dog is a little darling of a cupcake and sleeps in your bed and cuddles with you on the sofa in their own blankie every night and you’re both perfectly happy with that – more power to you! As the old saying goes - If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! However, when you have a pushy, entitled, demanding, rude and bratty dog who won’t listen to a word you say, growls at you when you tell him to get off the sofa or out of the bed, snarls at your partner...

Exercise // Building an Athlete

Exercise // Building an Athlete
Let's talk about exercise, what's appropriate and what isn't. Is a tired dog a happy dog? Really? Everyone who bought a puppy from a good breeder should have had instructions on what the right amount of exercise is for that breed as the dog grows. I'm pretty sure they will all have warned against taking your 4 month old puppy on a 2 hour hike! Puppies need time for their bones to grow and develop. Their bones are soft when they're young and they also have have soft bits inside the ends of the bones called growth plates. Until these growth plates close (and the bigger the dog, the longer...

Problem Behaviour Doesn’t Appear Overnight

Problem Behaviour Doesn’t Appear Overnight
So, let’s talk problem behaviour. We’ve seen a whole range of dog behaviour. Separation anxiety, jumping up, mouthing, barking, nipping and biting, chewing, running away, digging holes in the garden, whining and carrying on in the car, being dirty indoors the list goes on and on. The thing is, dogs with behaviour issues didn’t start out that way. These undesirable qualities have developed over time because they weren’t interrupted at the very outset. From small acorns, oak trees grow, right? Dogs who run to the door and bite people didn’t “just start” doing that. They have been permitted to ...

What is Socialisation?

What is Socialisation?
A lot of people have gone overboard with the concept of socialisation. And even more people have completely misunderstood what it really means! As dog trainers when we talk about socialisation we don't mean take your dog out and let him/her meet every dog you come across. Far from it, because that is a recipe for disaster. Socialisation quite simply means teaching them about the world and their place within it. This is true for a puppy, a young dog, or even an older or rescue dog without the requisite life skills. Socialisation means letting your dog see and become accustomed to t...

Crate Training Puppies

Crate Training Puppies
Crate training your puppy is a GREAT thing to do ! It means they have a place of their own where they feel safe and secure (like a den). Let's look at some of the benefits of crate training: - You can keep your pup safe from getting into mischief or being exposed to something harmful in your absence - They will feel comfortable with their surroundings if they have to spend any time at the vets - They can travel calmly, safely and securely in the car - It REALLY speeds up toilet training - You can separate your pup and other dogs if you have a multi dog household So how do we go ab...

What’s Leadership and why do we need it?

What’s Leadership and why do we need it?
Leadership is recognising and honouring the fact that your dog is an animal with their own needs...not a human, not a baby, not a toy and not an outlet for your boundless love and attention. If you go down that road it's a fast track for uncomfortable, anxious, unhappy dogs and stressed owners who are scratching their heads wondering why their dog exhibits behaviour problems. You know the saying, "Man cannot live on love alone" ? Well neither can dogs! Just like we need to set boundaries and rules to raise polite, well-mannered and respectful children, we also need to share boundaries and ...

Which Dog Food?

Which Dog Food?
Which dog food.  You wouldn't think it but what to feed your dog is often one of the most emotive and contentious issues around, with people all over the place trying to tell you what to do. Rest easy, I'm not about to become one of them! It's hugely important to me that our clients don't feel judged, preached to or made to feel stupid for the choices they have made before arriving at our door, whether that's about food, training, lifestyle or anything else. It's also hugely important to me that we support people with any problems and provide information as freely as possible. ...