Frequently Asked Questions

Being active is a fundamental part of training for all dogs; actively engaged and actively employed. 

Many unwanted behaviours (constant barking, destructiveness, lack of recall) can often actually be your dog telling you that they are bored. Just like people, each dog has a different boredom threshold and, therefore, a different need for things to keep their minds and bodies occupied.  Engaging with your dog, mentally and physically, is a key part of Activdogs philosophy.

It may, but the realist answer is actually probably no. No reputable trainer or behaviourist would claim to solve problems in a single session. Proper behaviour modification takes time and work; it needs a behaviourist who knows what they are doing and an owner who is prepared to put some work in. However, the rewards last a lifetime. More precious than just the results, the right approach to training will make the relationship between you and your dog stronger than ever.

The short answer is – just about anything. 

The longer answer is that I generally prefer not to list things I train as it implies an approach that attempts to solve a problem. Good training is about teaching skills and attributes that will gently mould and shape the way in which your dog thinks, feels and behaves.  This approach will help your dog to be confident and calm, make good choices and know how to respond in every situation.

My work encompasses all areas of behaviour shaping and management. I can help with toilet training for puppies, learning to sit and coming when called, to the most complex issues such as managing fear aggression, aggressiveness, phobias, separation anxiety and serious compulsive behaviours.

No. I am unconvinced by the actual value of group puppy classes beyond meeting other new puppy people. For this, I feel that there are others who are better placed to offer this service.  For some puppies these classes are actually quite damaging. There are a small number of IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers) qualified trainers locally and I would be happy to point you in their direction.

I do offer a complete Puppy course. This is an in-depth one to one course that will help you with every aspect of training with your puppy right into adulthood. More details of the personalised one-to-one puppy training is here.

Yes! The scientific research that supports the use of positive re-enforcement in the training of dogs (and all animals including humans) is overwhelming. The use of punishment (aversive methods and equipment such as lead corrections, shock collars, prong collars, rattle tins, sprays etc.) and causing pain or fear has absolutely no place in anything I do. But, more than being simply positive, my training is all about the conversation we can have with our dogs to help them understand and proactively choose the behaviours we want.

No, it is never too late to start training; I have worked with teenage dogs and got them off-lead and recalling for the first time in their lives. It is certainly never to early to start training a puppy. Dogs have a natural desire to learn throughout their lives. Learning is a highly engaging, rewarding and fun thing for dogs to do.

Every training session is tailored to you and your dog and so no two are exactly the same. However, I will ensure that every time we meet the session is supportive, positive and results in real change.

You can find all the details about one to one training page.

I have a degree in Biology from Cardiff University where I focused on fish and fish behaviour. I have a post-graduate Master’s Degree in Applied Ethology (animal behaviour), am currently studying towards additional post-graduate level diplomas in canine behaviour and undertake significant professional development each year. I have worked with more than 2,500 dogs and their families, in-person, and one-on-one. I have significant experience ranging from basic training to the most complex behavioural cases. I have recently expanded my work to include cats, horses, birds, fish and other small domestic animals. Please also see my About page.

There is a significant cross-over between dog training and behaviour consultations. As a very rough rule of thumb training is teaching your dog to do something, like come to you when called. Behaviour modification is about helping your dog to feel differently about a situation or an object where their current emotional response is a cause for concern. 

One to One training will often involve constructing a step-by-step training plan that aims to achieve a specific outcome e.g. such as teaching an owner to train their dog to recall, walk on a loose lead, go to their bed and settle etc.

Behaviour consultations look at the way animals feel in order to better understand why they do what they do. For example, why is the dog lunging and barking, and what is the best way to address this based on that reason. Behaviour consultations, after a medical issue has been ruled out, normally include a behaviour modification plan which aims to modify how your dog feels and, therefore, behaves. Behaviour consultations are used to address issues that include but are not limited to, aggression, separation-related issues, obsessive behaviours, and phobias.

A blog post – coming soon

I feel that one to one training is by far the better option. Good puppy classes can have some value to as a social event for you to meet other new puppy parents. However, actual training is always better when it is personalised for you, your dog and your individual circumstance.

I will, occasionally, take a small group of similar dogs for advanced, specialist training. For example, I do take small groups of dogs out to learn structured play.

Training a dog requires a consistent effort over a period of time. How much and how long completely depends on where you are starting and the outcomes you want to achieve. 

Training your dog is much like training your body; if you buy new trainers and join the gym, but then never go it is certain that you won’t improve your physique. If you go to the gym occasionally and do something, there may be some improvement. However, if you follow a structured plan, written for you by someone who knows what they are doing, who understands your goals, (and your starting point), and you are consistent, you will see progress, every time!

If you have any questions not covered above or would like more information, please do get in touch.