Frequently Asked Questions – Dog Training and Behaviour
One-to-One – Training / Behaviour Consultations
What areas do you cover?
I mainly see clients in the Greater London area, but can see clients in surrounding areas of the South East, Kent, Surrey and Essex.
I live outside the area you cover, but will you still see me?
I’m happy to see out of area clients, as long as they are happy to pay additional travel time and expenses. Every effort is made to keep costs at an affordable level and I certainly regularly see a number of clients outside of London.
Finding a good Trainer / Behaviourist
How can I tell if someone is a good dog trainer/behaviourist?
In every profession, there are always people who are exceptionally capable and effective at what they do, while others are not so good. As a basic rule of thumb, it is preferable that anyone offering training and behaviour dog services have an academic qualification (ideally degree level) as well as verifiable practical experience of training dogs and solving behaviour problems. But having purely theoretical academic knowledge is not enough, there is a world of difference between theory and practice in anything we do, so before securing their services, make sure that your potential trainer or behaviourist also has lots of practical hands on experience.
Recommendations, particularly those from vets and other established respected behaviourists can also be a good source of reference, as can word of mouth testimonials from others who have used the services.
Keep in mind that just because someone has a big advertising budget and charges more, it does not automatically mean they are providing a better service. If you have to book up through a call centre or if you don’t like the person’s manner over the phone, then don’t use them. Remember, you will be paying good money for what is effectively, a personalised service and this person will be coming into your home, so it is important that you feel happy and comfortable with them.
But how can I check if the trainer/behaviourist has lots of practical hands on experience?
Although there are no guarantees about an individual’s effectiveness, looking for a behaviourist or trainer with full membership to a recognised reputable professional organisation, is a good place to start. Such as, The Canine Behaviour & Training Society, whose behaviourist members in addition to their specialised knowledge of canine behaviour, must also show that they had and continue to have practical “hands-on” experience with a large variety of dogs.
The Canine Behaviour & Training Society, maintain a strict code of conduct and codes of ethics to which their members must adhere and are committed to the continuing on-going professional development of their members.
Pre-Puppy / Pre-Rescue Dog Consultations
Why have a pre-puppy / pre-rescue dog consultation?
Only a person qualified with the most up to date knowledge of canine behaviour, i.e., a trained behaviourist, will know what to look for in terms of the potential for the development of future behaviour problems. This is true whether the dog is acquired through a breeder, rescue or private sale.
There are lots’ of things to consider before you commit to taking on any dog, whether it be a puppy or rescue dog. While it is essential to choose the right breed of dog for you and your family, one that comfortably fits in with your activity levels and life style. This is not the only thing you have to consider, what is at least as important is the individual dog that you choose.
Choosing a dog based on how it looks or how sorry you feel for it, is a recipe for disaster. Selecting a dog based on its personality and behaviour, and early life experiences in terms of socialisation and habituation, can mean the difference between years spent dealing with behavioural problems and years spent enjoying and sharing your life with a happy balanced dog.
Dogs can end up in rescue for many reasons, owner’s children may develop an allergy towards the dog, owners may get divorced or even pass away and of course, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a dog taken on from rescue will have behavioural problems. But it is always advisable to have an expert accompany you when looking for any dog, whether it be a puppy or a rescue dog, after all the dog will be a part of your family for a very long time.
As a qualified behaviourist, I know what signs to look for and I recognise behaviours that highlight the potential for a dog to become aggressive within weeks of being taken home, such as subtle displays of fear or aggression. I can advise you on which puppy has the most potential to be a balanced family pet, and I not only know the right questions to ask breeders with regard to the pups habituation and socialisation, but I fully understand the underlying significance to their answers.
Should I buy my puppy from a pet shop?
In my opinion, it is never advisable to buy a puppy from a pet shop. Any responsible breeder would want to assess the suitability of potential owners and would be concerned with the welfare of their puppies, wanting to know where they end up. It is therefore highly unlikely that you will find a puppy from good breeding stock, in a pet shop.
Many puppies are sold to pet shops via agents, who get them from puppy farms. These puppies are often in poor physical health, having travelled great distances, after being reared on poor diets and housed in insanitary conditions; in which litters are often mixed and where there is a high risk of acquiring infectious diseases. Mortality rates during transit are high. If we all stopped buying puppies from pet shops, puppy farming would greatly diminish.