I work as a canine behaviour trainer - a sort of dog supernanny! I am a VSPDT (Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer) and a member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers amongst many other things. I was originally involved in 'old-school' dog training and am a cross-over (I'm no spring chicken sadly). The advantages of having personally experienced both force and force-free methods is that I have proved over and over how much more effective and permanent positive methods are.

Practice? Liszt or Chopsticks

Years ago in another life I was a music teacher. In addition to class music lessons for many years, I also taught the piano and the flute. What’s this got do do with dogs, you might ask. My pupils’ results showed I was quite a good music teacher. Being a piano teacher in the exam system was actually more about motivating my pupils to […]

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Quick Fix or Never Fix

When someone first calls me for help, they usually hope their pet behavior problem will be resolved in a couple of weeks. They have tried everything they can think of for themselves, watched TV trainers and scoured the internet. Now they have decided there is nothing for it but to pay for professional help. That should fix the problem! Each day, at consultations, by […]

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Does Size Matter?

A dog’s size influences his or her behavior. We sort of know this don’t we. What about people? Our stereotype of a hyper and talkative person who is constantly on the move would be a small person, and a slow-talking, slow moving thinker someone much larger. This has always been my own stereotype for dogs too, but is it purely […]

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Treats or Bingos?

Traditionally, tidbits given to dogs outside their regular meals are labeled ‘treats’. Pet shops sell ‘treats’ and we traditionally refer to any food the dog gets by hand for doing nothing as a ‘treat’. I feel this ‘treat’ word can sometimes get in the way of converting people who have ‘had dogs all their lives’ to positive, reward-based training methods. They […]

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A Laser Light and OCD

It’s really strange how it all started. My clients have had the little Bichon Frise for just a few weeks – he came over from Ireland with an unknown past – and the young lady quite unwittingly bought him a laser light thinking that he would enjoy chasing it. Just a few seconds triggered something in the adorable and affectionate Buddy […]

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Why Self-Control is Better than “Discipline”

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘discipline’ as: ‘The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.’ The word ‘discipline’ not only carries with it the baggage of “force” and “dominance,” but also a hint of worthiness. And yet, ‘that dog needs discipline’ is a phrase we may still hear on a regular basis. ‘That dog needs […]

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