Having grown up with dogs all my life it seemed a natural progression for us to get dogs of our own. Having already had a Parson Terrier (similar to a Jack Russell only with longer legs!) we decided we would get two brothers from this breed. Our puppies were 8 weeks old when we collected them.
We wanted to enrol them in a puppy socialisation class only to be told that they were full, which resulted in me talking to 7-8 trainers. To my dismay they all said the same to me…..
“You have taken on big trouble there, it’s the worst case scenario. You have two boys from the same litter which means they will look at each other for direction, rather than at you. AND as they are both boys they will fight for the ‘top dog’ position which means you’ll probably have to re-home one of them”
My heart sank, I was shocked and devastated. I looked at the two bundles of fluff in front of me, I couldn’t even contemplate giving one away. With great determination I said to them ‘You two are NOT going anywhere.’
There had to be a way and I was on a mission to find out what it was…
It wasn’t that I disbelieved the dog trainers, I just knew I needed to find something that was non-conventional. If conventional dog trainers were telling me that I was going to have big problems, then I needed to find something different and fast! At that time I had a complementary therapy practice, which I had had for about ten years, so it was crucial that whatever method I found had to be natural, kind and gentle.
I embarked on my journey…
There were numerous things that I learned along the way, one of the key things that I discovered was that dogs speak a different language. They communicate differently than humans and have different needs and expectations. It is easy for us to humanize dogs because that is what we know and the funny thing is that dogs are actually treating us like dogs and expecting that we understand what they are saying too! I found that was a key reason why there are so many unwanted behaviours today; it is due to the mis-communication between dogs and their owners.
I started to look at different ways. I studied dog psychology; I examined and learned the language that dogs use in order to communicate and I recognized how they talk non-verbally all the time. I watched how my two dogs interacted together and I started to get a good understanding about how a dog’s mind works and how I could meet their needs and expectations. Importantly, I learned how I could place myself in the ‘top dog’ position. But that was only one part of it.
The second part I discovered that was really, really crucial was that you need to demonstrate the qualities that a pack leader has, which is someone who is confident, decisive and who can take control if there is a crisis. Someone that is kind and gentle, but also firm and able to put down boundaries.
It is similar to working for a company, if we have a boss who is very calm and confident and they are really nice but not a walk-over, we feel safe and secure that should a crisis happen we will be well taken care of. The same is true for dogs, if they have a leader who does not know what to do and is indecisive or panics when things go wrong they are seen as weak in their dog’s eyes. This is when dogs automatically assume the leadership and ‘top dog’ position and this is when the problems start.
I am now on another mission…
I’m determined to let as many people know as possible about this kind, gentle and extremely effective method, this is my journey so far…
I have been interviewed on the Chris Evan’s Show on BBC Radio 2, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sunday People, The Sunday Post, The Metro, GMTV, BBC South Today, BBC Southeast, BBC Look North and I was the dog expert in the BBC Documentary ‘Britain’s Most Embarrassing Pets.’ I have been featured in over 30 different newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations and I had a regular slot on BBC Sussex and Surrey for over 2 years giving advice to numerous listeners’ dog dilemmas.
I’m delighted to say that I’ve been able to help an endless number of people, including celebrities, and have conducted training for Battersea Dog’s and Cat’s home.
It’s true to say that my 8 week old puppies changed my life and career and because of that other people’s lives have changed too 🙂
My mission continues…
I want to share with you my findings, discoveries and ‘light bulb’ moments that I’ve had along the way. I’d like to share with you my insights and revelations that have changed my two mischievous eight week old puppies to eight year old dogs that are happy, healthy, well-balanced and well-behaved.
I look forward to supporting you on your journey, so that you too can experience the joyful relationship with man’s best friend.
I have added some photos in case you would like to see them and I have also added a video if you would like to see me and the boys in action!
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Wishing you all the very best,