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SERVICES

Sometimes we just need a little help with training our dogs and classes are not always practical for you or suitable for your dog.

One-to-One Training

Training sessions are tailored to your specific needs, ensuring you receive individual attention in a familiar environment  (normally your own home and/or the parks you walk in).  Common questions include:  pulling on the lead, jumping up, recall problems, over exuberance with other dogs, inappropriate chasing, and handling problems e.g. during grooming or veterinary examinations.  A training visit may also be suitable if you have recently taken on a rescue dog or have concerns over the introduction of a new pet into the household.  Even if there is no evidence of problems, advice about the best approach to the situation or whether it is appropriate, may help to ensure that the right decisions are made.

I understand how daunting getting a dog can be, and you may just want a confidence booster session to check that you’re setting off, or keeping on, on the right track or if you want to nip any potential issues in the bud.

Phone and email back up are part of the overall session.  Winkie Spiers has also very kindly extended an invitation to all my clients to entitle them to join her social walks.

Puppy Sessions

Getting a puppy is very exciting but also a little scary, especially when there is so much information and conflicting advice on offer.  I can provide advice on how to help your puppy develop into a confident and sociable adult.  We can discuss the family’s current circumstances and future plans, look at the necessary lifestyle changes to ensure that all the important processes are in place and work with all the family on understanding dogs better.  Visits can be arranged soon after you collect your puppy to deal with any concerns and ensure you get off to the right start with the basics such as giving your house training, recall, road safety, stay, wait, leave, walking nicely in a harness, and how to deal with mouthing and jumping up.  We also discuss the importance of suitable socialisation with dogs and humans, building confidence, puppy classes, play & mental stimulation, learning to settle by themselves, exercise, and equipment and general care.  We will not be walking long distances or over-practicing any exercises as puppies’ joints are delicate at this stage in their growth.

The puppy advice also covers common circumstances, such as puppies who are introduced into households where there is an older dog.  This often works very well and gives the older dog a new ‘lease of life’, however the puppy may be too much for the older dog and management advice may be required.  Puppies also tend to become reliant on the presence of the older dog and problems can arise when the older dog passes away.  Ensuring the puppy is independent and habituated to being left alone is therefore essential.

Phone and email back up are part of the overall session.  Winkie Spiers has also very kindly extended an invitation to all my clients to entitle them to join her social walks.

Rescue Dog 101

Are you thinking about adopting a dog from a rescue?  There are so many rescues doing amazing work, far too many dogs in need, and the choice can be overwhelming – from puppies to older dogs, to puppy farm rejects, to dogs from abroad, dogs who have never lived in a house before, dogs who are unused to city life to hugely loved dogs who have sadly been re-homed due to a change in circumstances for the owner.  It can be really helpful to chat through your questions with someone who has been in the same boat before you make a decision.  It also helps to plan ahead for your new arrival, so we can discuss questions to ask the rescue when choosing your dog, how to settle your dog in when he arrives, keeping your new dog and house safe, equipment you may benefit from, introducing your new dog to an existing dog and what to expect for the first few weeks.

Similarly, once your rescue has arrived, as time goes by and they settle in, they may show different aspects of their personality which you weren’t expecting, and it’s very helpful to have an behavioural trainer on hand to check in with to prevent unwanted behaviours taking over.  It is not unusual for rescue dogs to be alarmed by situations which we take for granted and to show reactive behaviour – even if they didn’t when they first arrived.  Sometimes, just a couple of sessions are perfect for getting you and your rescue back on even ground. 

I would be delighted to offer a home check service for any rescue centres in my SW London area free of charge. 

Phone and email back up are part of the overall session.  Winkie Spiers has also very kindly extended an invitation to all my clients to entitle them to join her social walks.  It can be a huge benefit to a rescue to walk safely with other well-behaved dogs when they are feeling at home in their new environment and to progress to increased confidence.

Behavourial One to One sessions

Most of the time, you and your dog are getting on like bangers and mash, but sometimes, an issue arises which may have you at your wits’ end.  Behavioural problems are recognised as one of the main causes for the breakdown of the owner-pet bond.  It is not uncommon for owners to have looked for help from a number of different sources and with the mountains of controversial advice, it can be very confusing to know where to turn.  A behavioural session will help to establish the underlying reasons for the unwanted behaviour and together, a treatment plan will be put together to reach a successful outcome.  Issues we will look at could include reactivity to other dogs, how to improve your recall, tips for dealing with anxiety/stress,  separation problems, barking,  problems in the car, food or object guarding, handling problems with grooming, vet exams or even day to day tasks such as drying paws. There doesn’t need to be a ‘problem’ – we can also work on just improving your bond with your dog and ways to provide mental stimulation for your dog.

Phone and email back up are part of the overall session.  Winkie Spiers has also very kindly extended an invitation to all my clients to entitle them to join her social walks.

Walks with Diana and Betty

Sometimes, for example after a period of stress for your dog, it’s a nice thing to go for a calm walk with a peaceful dog who can inspire confidence in a worried individual.  Betty has been a mentor dog on Winkie’s social walks for a number of years and is happy to share her walks with other dogs and provide canine encouragement.   Monkey see, monkey do applies to dogs too and nervous dogs can gain confidence from mooching along with a confident, calm, adult dog.   We can do scent work for example, which is great fun for your dog – using their innate ability of their nose to find treats and other items.  Social walking allows your dog to improve and maintain their social skills and social circle in a fun, relaxed and calm environment.

It may also be, that if we have met for other one to one sessions previously, you would like your dog to have a walk with me, then I would be happy to help.  While I do firmly believe that we work jointly on creating good handling skills for the owner to communicate better with the dog resulting in more pleasing behaviours, I do understand that if you have an injury for example, have to travel and so on, then me taking your dog out for a calm walk to reiterate some practices we have in place is a nice plan.

FAQs

CAN I FIX YOUR DOG'S UNWANTED BEHAVIOUR?
I can provide qualified advice based on my expertise, experience and training.  I cannot ‘fix’ the problem as if it were a broken car.  You as the owner need to be prepared to implement the programme.
What is the difference between a behaviourist and a trainer?
Trainers usually have a wide-ranging set of skills in obedience and competition training, whereas a behavioural trainer has knowledge and theory of the ethology of dogs and is able to take into consideration individual differences, circumstances and the dynamics of a human-dog relationship to guide both owner and dog towards more desirable behaviours.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
For success, all members of the family and anyone involved with the dog on a day to day basis will need to commit to the suggested regime.  You need to be prepared to put the effort in and yes, there are no quick fixes – this does take time.  Bear in mind that it takes at least 6 weeks to create a new neural pathway …. to create a new habit.   I will be on hand to offer support and encouragement throughout the process as it can be emotionally challenging to stay the course.   As the old adage says, a dog is for life not just for Christmas.

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