Unfortunately, in the context of canine behaviour there is no such thing as a “quick question”, implying a quick answer. Sometimes a behaviour problem can seem quite straightforward, but more information on your dog and the problem behaviour is required, to be able to give you and your dog the most accurate advice. Not having all the facts can lead to ineffective and unsafe recommendations, which can be detrimental to you, your dog and others.

Clients who have already had a consultation can be helped telephonically as I already know the dog’s history. Current clients are always encouraged to phone with any questions between training and private sessions.

Obedience training is teaching the dog to associate commands (cues or signals) with certain actions i.e. sit, down, leave, drop, recall, stay, spin, fetch etc. Training also includes husbandry, like teaching your dog to enjoy nail trimming, grooming and having eye or ear drops administered. However some husbandry behaviours might also require some behaviour modification due to previous bad experiences.

Behaviour modification is changing the dog’s emotions (fear, panic, anxiety, distress, frustration etc) about how they feel in certain contexts or towards certain triggers. It is about teaching them coping skills or alternative behaviours that is more acceptable, that also improves their quality of life i.e. how to feel more comfortable and confident being left on their own or how not to be fearful of strange people or other dogs. In order to put together a tailor-made behaviour change program for your dog, we need to do an Assessment that explores every part of your dog’s health, nutrition, routine, home environment and behaviour.

Obedience training will increase the dog’s compliance to your commands/cues and you will have more influence over your dog’s behaviour but it will not necessarily change their emotions in situations that you find their behaviour problematic. During behaviour modification we often include obedience training as the two are not mutually exclusive. To read more about how Behaviour Consults work, please click here.

We know that according to science, that correctly using above mentioned punishment works … but the home environment is not a constantly supervised and controlled environment such as a laboratory, and this is usually the reason for the many fall outs of such punishment. I choose to use and promote positive reinforcement based techniques, because since 1911 it has been proven to not only be more effective and kinder to your dog, but behaviours are more reliable and predictable.

Animals gravitate to reinforcement, and thus your relationship becomes stronger and deeper. Click below to learn about the danger to you and your family when using coercion and aversive methods.

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The question is usually asked when aggressive behaviour is displayed. Sometimes castration can help, it could also have no effect on the dog’s behaviour and sometimes it could even increase aggressive behaviour. A complete history and functional assessment of the dog and the aggressive incidences are essential for a behaviourist to give accurate advice regarding castration.

For a medical perspective regarding pros and cons you would need to consult your veterinarian.

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“When you’ve got that clicker in your hand, you are automatically looking for something good to click. That alone is going to change your relationship” ~ Karen Pryor