Can’t I just fix my dog using advice from the internet?

You certainly could be lucky and find useful information for dealing with your dog’s issues online. However, it is just as likely that you will find information that will make your dog’s problems worse, or simply create other issues. Because dog training is not regulated, anyone can set themselves up as a dog trainer and give advice. Any advice you find online will be general, and not take into account your dog’s background, their lifestyle or personality.

The other issue is that dog owners will sometimes misidentify the issue. For instance, I have had people contact me with what they believed were toilet training problems, as the dog was having accidents in the house, but when I took a history, it was apparent that the issue was separation anxiety. All the toilet training in the world will not deal with separation anxiety. Equally, many people will think they have a ‘dominant’ aggressive dog, when what they really have is a fearful and stressed dog. Following advice online to deal with a ‘dominant’ dog is likely to increase fear and stress and could lead to the dog biting and the escalation of the problem.

So who has accredited you?

I am a full member of the PDTE (Pet Dog Trainers of Europe). You can read more about PDTE and its ethics here. The PDTE monitor its members closely, and have a requirement for CPD which ensures members continue to develop and to keep on top of developments in the world of dog training and behaviour.

What methods do you use?

Although I have trained with various different organisations and individuals down through the years, I use Turid Rugaas’s methodology. Turid Rugaas’s methods are based on compassion and understanding of the dog, his natural behaviours and his communication. I never use force or fear as a means of training.

How many training sessions will I need?

This really varies on the dog, the owners and the issue. On average, I see non-puppy clients between 1 and 4 times. My focus is always on giving the humans the skills to work with their own dog to address any issues. There are no magic wands in dog training, and behaviour change takes time, patience and consistency.

For most puppies, I recommend the package of three sessions.

Do I need anything for our sessions?

I strongly recommend that all dogs wear well-fitting harnesses rather than head or neck collars. You can read more about the reasons for this here.

Puppy packages include a harness and lead.

If you are booking an individual session and would like to include a harness, do let me know in advance and if I don’t have the appropriate size in stock, I can order one in for you. Prices for harnesses range from E25-35 (depending on size).

How do you work?

For the first visit, I generally visit the dog in their own home. This allows me to observe the dog and to take a detailed history, including any issues you wish to address, any medical issues the dog may have, any previous training they may have had, their daily routine etc.

We will then put a plan in place for you to work on with your dog. We will practice the practicalities of the plan (which may include taking a walk with the dog), and you will have access to free email/telephone support whilst you are implementing this.

Subsequent sessions may take place outside of the dog’s home in locations which are more conducive to working on certain issues.

What will be required of me?

You know how they say insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results? The good news is that when people approach a dog trainer for help, it’s usually because they’ve realised that whatever they’re doing now isn’t working and they want to try something different. Changing can be difficult, however, even when we know the old ways aren’t working.

Often, dog owners will need to make some big adjustments to how they do things, at least in the short-term. If you keep doing what you’re doing now, you’ll keep getting the same results! I realise that changing can be tricky, and takes a lot of effort. However, ‘sticking with it’ will be really important, even in the face of apparent set backs.

Don’t worry though, I’ll be at the other end of the phone if you’re struggling.

How quickly can I expect results?

Again, this varies. With some things, results will be immediate, with others, results will be slower. I often recommend people keep a diary to monitor their progress. Often it’s a case of two steps forward, one step back. Keeping a diary can help you keep any bad days in perspective and appreciate the progress you are making overall.

Do you use treats? I don’t want to be dependent on treats.

I do use treats for teaching certain behaviours. However, the trick with treats is to quickly reduce how often you use them, and when you are using them, to use them as rewards rather than bribes. If you use your food rewards correctly, the behaviour will not be dependent on you having food.

More often than treats, I show people how to use their body language to communicate what they want from their dogs.

Where will the training take place?

Generally speaking, the first session will take place in the dog’s home and their direct locality. Subsequent sessions may take place in locations that offer more opportunity to work on whatever issues there may be.

What areas do you cover?

I’m based on the north side of Dublin (Dublin 5) but can visit you in your home in surrounding areas including:

  • Dublin 1
  • Dublin 2
  • Dublin 3
  • Dublin 4
  • Dublin 5
  • Dublin 7
  • Dublin 9
  • Dublin 11

If you live outside of these areas, do feel free to get in touch and if I can accommodate you, I will!

Social walks are currently only in the Dublin 3/5 area.