HOW A BEHAVIOUR PRACTITIONER CAN HELP YOUR DOG, AND WHY SOMETIMES A TRAINER ISN’T ENOUGH.

A behaviour practitioner is different from a trainer, in that we analyse your dog through scientific observations, and devise a plan based on the function of the behaviour. We can devise a complex behavioural plan that goes beyond basic training solutions, that is tailored to your dog’s needs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking trainers. I am a trainer and love my work. I’m talking about more complex problems like aggression, separation anxiety and fearfulness. 

You may have had a trainer (maybe two), come to your house before, tried their methods and found some improvement. But with some, more complex problems, the unwanted behaviour comes back. This is because the underlying causes aren’t being dealt with. It’s kind of like when you take medication for a headache, but you know you should get your eyes tested for glasses, so you don’t get headaches in the first place. The pill temporarily stops the symptom, but won’t stop you from reading without glasses again! We look at the environment, (trying to read the book), the behaviour (reading without glasses) and the consequences of your actions. Then we can determine what to do from there.

We can also speed up the process of changing the way your dog feels about the things they are worried about. We do this by arranging for a stooge dog or stooge person, so we can work with your dog, and gently build a positive association towards their particular triggers. This is instead of taking your dog out every day and waiting for triggers to appear. When we arrange these set ups, we can control other variables that may be making it harder for your dog to concentrate on the job at hand, therefore helping them sooner. 

It may surprise you to learn that we always start with a calm dog, it’s the only way anyone can change the biological processes of the brain. If someone tells you to start treatment when your dog is stressed or reactive, there’s a good chance they will try to make your dog quieten down rather than teach the dog how to calm themselves. 

When behaviour practitioners talk about science based learning we are actually referring to how a dog learns. You may have heard of Pavlov (the dog, the bell, and the food) and Skinner (rewards and consequences). The work of these scientists are the basis for how we teach dogs how to THINK differently, and how we can help them FEEL differently too. This is the secret to force free behaviour modification. And this is how I can help your dog.

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