I’ve had the pleasure of having sheepdogs as companions for most of my life, but it was only when my Welsh sheepdog became ‘aggressive’ to strange dogs that I started to explore the reasons for her behaviour did I come to realise how complex dogs’ minds are.
Initially I went to trainers who used outdated and in some cases punitive methods of training. They all told me that I had an aggressive dog, but none of the trainers told me that the aggression was caused by fear, and that using punishment to stop the behaviour made the fear worse, and certainly didn’t stop the resulting behaviour. I spent over a year looking for solutions, before I came across the term ‘reactive dog’, a term applied to dogs that overreact to something such as a perceived threat. This opened up a new avenue of research for me and lead me to start to understand how a dog’s emotion effects behaviour, how a dog’s hormones effect behaviour, how a dog’s diets effects behaviour, even how the mother’s pregnancy can effect the behaviour of the pups she has. This then lead me to understanding how dogs learn and it gave me a path to modern, scientific dog training. Modern dog training is a much kinder way to trainer your dog than the more traditional methods of training, which often rely on punishment and fear, which at best adversely effects the relationship you have with your dog, and at worst has a detrimental impact on your dog’s mental and/or physical health.
I keep up to date with modern dog training by doing courses with dog trainers that use positive methods, for example the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers, the School of Canine Science, Absolute Dogs and Canine Principles. Some course are classroom type courses and some are online. I listen to lots of podcasts and lots of books that cover positive training methods and the science of dogs.
I’m not so much a dog trainer, as I am a dog owner trainer. I help the owners train dogs of all ages, but I specialise in puppies and herding breeds.
My group puppy courses have so much content that they run for 8 weeks rather than the usual 6 weeks and the number of pups in each training course is limited to allow me to give each person and pup attention. I run private puppy training courses in Clyne Gardens in Swansea which allow me to give the human and pup team my undivided attention. For dogs that have specific training needs such as a boost to their impulse control, or maybe their recall could be improved, I offer private consultations.
I work closely with other canine professionals, both locally and across South and West Wales to ensure that all canine needs can be met by professionals that use modern, scientific and kind methods.