Dog Behaviour & Private Training
Our mission is to enhance the lives of owners & their dogs.
We also offer private training & behaviour problem training. Many are unsure of what the differences are, so let me briefly explain;
Behaviour appointments are in-depth to solve aggression, phobias, fears, separation related behaviours – done through Zoom with Free 15 minute catch up for support.
We do not need to see your dog in person to be able to help you through your struggles. You will also get free EBooks and any other literate via email to help you, full support right through your struggle and a free 15 minute catch up after a few weeks. Please call to discuss 07718588422
These are to transform behaviour struggles and are also virtual on a 121 basis. Once booked you get sent a detailed questionnaire via email to fill out and return at least a week before your appointment. The appointment is for two hours and is very detailed, so ideally have someone with you to take notes if necessary. You will be given an explanation on whats happening, why its happening and how to solve it positively during the training session & in the form of a Transformation Plan and typed up notes to guide you. You also get a copy of your Zoom appointment.
This is for owners that maybe cannot commit to a training course every Friday or they have specific things that want help with training. The list is endless, but may include loose lead walking, coming when called, calm behaviours, encouraging your dog to learn good manners in all aspects of their lives, greeting people and other dogs nicely, don’t jump up and much, much more! This can be done face to face in Shoreham and normally is booked as a one hour appointment.
Many owners have often, by the time I reach them, looked for answers on the internet, books, friends & family, forums etc. Many of these have made problems worse, there are no “quick fixes” no matter what people promise you, but all behaviour can be changed when your put on the right path.
You may have already seen a trainer or behaviourist but not been able to overcome the problem. This is often due to them trying to “train in the problem”.
There are really only two ways of approaching dog training & behaviour problems:
1. Train in the problem. i.e. Dog lunges/barks/cowers at dogs/people/traffic so we take dog to the problem and try to train him/her not to react. Train in the problem
2. Train ready for the problem: Re-shape your dog’s brain so that when it encounters that situation it’s struggling with in day to day life – if gives you the response you want & they are cool, calm & collected about it. Train ready for problem
1: Is painful for the dog & the owner! The problem at best will stay the same as “practise makes perfect” or it will steadily get worse. That’s why we also “Train ready for the problem”
If you would like to speak to us, ask questions or book an appointment please email us/phone us on Gill@takingthelead.co.uk or 07718588422. Please be aware if we are working with clients the phone goes to answer machine. All emails are replied to within 48 hours.
If you would like to learn a little more about some behaviour problems, then please keep reading;
Dogs suffer it just as we do, but we can help them minimise and overcome stress. Most dogs that have behaviour problems are experiencing stress and this will eventually have an impact of their health and life expectancy. So its important to address this as we do at every appointment. Even as pup’s, before birth, they can experience stress if Mum is stressed in anyway, prenatal stress before birth is not uncommon.
Dog to dog aggression
This is often fear based. All dogs, all breeds have an “interaction sequence” and dog reactivity is any deviation from that normal chain of interaction sequence. Punishment always makes it worse.
It can start for many reasons, for example many owners are told to “socialise with other dogs” lots and this then often leads to a bad experience or over excitement/exuberance making your dog unable to listen or focus on you the owner. They cannot disengage or come away from other dogs and then as they grow bigger, the owner restricts the freedom due to lack of control, this in turn leads to frustration in the dog, then fear all due to bad advice as a puppy.
Dogs, like us humans know and are born with “how to interact with their own species” – but they, like us, sometimes find themselves in an awkward situation & cant politely end the conversation.
This is when a dog may howl/bark when owner leaves or owner may return to destruction or toileting. many dogs have separation related behaviours but as they do none of these things, the owner is blissfully unaware! The way to tell is to film 10 minutes on a smart phone or ipad, set it up, press record and leave for 10 minutes. When you watch it back look out for sleep with eyes closed, the dog drinking or eating treats or food you left. Failure to see any of that may well mean the dog is experiencing some form of anxiety when left.
Abandoned in rescue – is not a cause of this.
Being spoiled – is not a cause either.
Do not leave a puppy crying, ignoring it causes stress, instead try to manage it i.e. let pup out to toilet before it wakes crying.
Your routine becomes “predictors” that you are leaving them alone & this can cause separation distress. Breeders can help there puppies to not go on and get this behaviour problem, if your a breeder please email me if interested in knowing how.
This can play a role in behaviour problems, so if you suspect this its well advised to speak to your vet first. Dog may itch lots, lick paws, pace, whine. Gastrointestinal upset – diarrhoea, vomiting can be playing a role. Pain, inflammation or soreness can also be a contributor – the dog may not want to run away from what it fears (flight) so instead has to stay and face it, therefore becoming reactive (fight). Many breeds have certain health conditions such as hip dysplasia which can start from 9 months old, GSD & Labradors can be prone to this. Allergies, itchy skin, skin disease – often seen in West Highland Terriers. Breathing difficulties often seen in flat nosed breeds, Pugs, Boxers etc. These have to massively suck in lungs to get air, this can cause the stomach contents to come out due to pressure of suction. Acid then comes up, you may see them gulp, lick lips & swallow, that’s heartburn & is painful. So if in any doubt it is always advisable to have your vet check your dog out if it suddenly experiences a behaviour issue.
This might be over food, toys, water or even an owner or object the dog prizes. Neutered male dogs are more likely to resource guard against dogs & people (Jacobs 2018) – this is due to lack of confidence/worry. Removal of the food bowl whilst dog is eating will often cause resource guarding to food, yet it so often advised! If someone kept removing your food whilst eating, you may well have a problem. Some owners think a dog that is resource guarding them is “jealous” – but sorry to tell you that is simply us humans putting our own understanding on it.
Multi Dog Households
Owners often ask us how to get the older dog use to and accepting the newer dog, but often its the newer/younger dog that needs help to accept the older dog. Fights can break out over owner attention, food, excitement, found items & other triggers. Having a same sex pair can also be a risk factor. Punishment of either dog will increase the aggression & fights and is not the way to handle this problem.
This can start in puppyhood, maybe pup is a bit worried by the hoover, but the owner ignores this as its not a struggle in the owners eyes. It then can build to a fear response to other noises such as fireworks, thunder, gun shots, vehicles etc. Do not ignore them, comfort them, it wont model of you, your not rewarding fear. Can get worse with age, so earlier its overcome the better. The first six months of life is especially important in stopping noise struggles. These dog often worry about novel situations as well.
The dog is born with a predatory sequence, they do not have to learn it. Its a six sequence motor pattern in brain, but most dogs do not have the whole six sequence.
1. Eye 2. Stalk 3. Chase 4. Grab 5. Bite 6. Dissect
This was needed when they hunt for food. Some may do part of a sequence, for example a Border Collie may do 1, 2 & 3 – yet a Greyhound would rarely ever do 2 (stalk). Most dogs have a particular part of the sequence they value the most – know it & incorporate it into your play sessions i.e. shake a tug toy or chase a ball.
I hope this has given you a small insight into behaviour, the list is endless so I have not covered all problems, just a few here. Please feel free to contact us if you need help.