Consultations and Training to address the following behavioural problems:
A Home consultation can last up to 2hrs and a full history will be taken, a follow up Report and Behavioural Programme will be issued with ongoing support via phone or subsequent visits. There will be a charge for any further visits required. All consultations are booked in advance requiring a non-returnable deposit and travel expenses depending on distance.
Before seeking help with any behavioural problem consult with your vet to rule out any medical issues especially if there is sudden change in your dog's behaviour.
I have been established as a Behaviour Practitioner for the past 8 years, after being brought up around animals including dogs and horses. Riding still remaining as one of my passions. On leaving school i went to work in boarding and breeding kennels which gave me a good grounding in animal husbandry and handling dogs which were not always friendly in a strange environment away from home. This taught me to handle them in a sympathetic way and learn to read their body language in order to carry out my day to day duties.
From there I completed a National Certificate in Animal Care which covered Animal husbandry, first aid, business studies , breeding and showing, genetics, nutrition, grooming, training and Kennel and cattery Management. This also entailed work placements at Veterinary practice, kennels and rescue organisations which sparked my interest in dogs with behavioural issues.
After taking a break by bringing up my family i decided to pursue my love of working and training dogs and teamed up with Sophia from On The Scent along the way by helping teach clients of all backgrounds to train their dogs from puppies to adults both in classes and on a 121 basis. Whilst doing this I enrolled in an Advanced Award in Canine Behaviour course covering, Canine Developement and Animal learning theory which touched on dog psychology and developement.
Wanting to further my experiences and knowledge and help clients with more challenging dogs i then completed a Dog Aggression Course with the CIDBT ( cambridge institute of dog behaviour & training). I am now an associate of the CFBA (canine, feline, behavioural association) and can be found on their site under members. By working alongside On the Scent we strive to promote Responsible Dog Ownership and provide a wider network of experienced people who are qualified to advise clients on their various experiences and problems that they may come across in dog ownership. All training is done in a positive, reward-based manner without harsh handling.
I have during the course of my work written articles for local magazines on dog behaviour, take part in local disscusions with Radio Suffolk to do with Dog-related affairs and have done some TV work which involved training a farm pig in 2009 alongside Jamie Oliver to prove their intelligence.
I now offer Home consults which are all tailored to individual dogs and peoples circumstances, 121 training for more challenging dogs that may not be able to take part in regular classes and during summer months small group training for dogs that require a bit more help. I currently own three dogs which some-times help out during training and during the shooting season and work to flush and pick up on local shoots which instills good discipline around distractions and gives them an opportunity to make use of their natural instincts.
My name is Sophia and I run the ‘On the Scent’ dog training school in Great Ashfield between Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket in Suffolk. I am a Member of the Kennel Club Accredited Instructors Scheme for Dog trainers and Behaviourists working towards accreditation and I am also with the Guild of Dog Trainers, Master Trainer which is the highest grade with this Organisation for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to Dog Training.
Teresa and I are business associates as well as good friends and our aim is to ‘promote responsible dog ownership’.
All my training has a ‘behavioural influence’ and I hold classes in puppy socialisation/training, beginners and fun dog agility, private lessons and gundog training along with other fun training exercises. Home visits are also carried out when required.
We feel very privilaged to have clients who travel to us from other Counties, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Essex and teh City of London and in 2012 a lady and her dog who travelled from Germany over night to attend my Friday class.
For further details and to learn more about ‘On the Scent’ please go to www.onthescent.com.
Puppies naturally use their mouths to explore things around them but need to learn rules within the household or problems can develop.
The best way to avoid these sort of problems is to teach young puppies that any contact on skin with teeth is wrong. It may seem like fun when puppies are small but can cause problems as the dog grows and gets stronger and playful nips become mouthing and biting.
Encourage them to play with toys and don't allow them to get over-excited stop the game before it gets too rough. If teeth come into contact with skin say No or Ah Ah and stop the game., either walk away or remove the puppy allowing it to calm down. Be consistent which goes for ALL Family Members.
Aggression falls into lots of categories and any form of aggression problem should be addressed before it becomes more difficult to handle by seeking professional help. Also consult your vet to rule out any medical problems which may cause a change in your dogs behaviour.
Dominant Aggression - a dog that tries to take control of it's environment including other family members.
Fear Aggression - it is normal for dogs to bite if they are EXTREMELY Frightened, but some dogs become defensive and bite even when the threat is low.
Dog on Dog Aggression - can be due to lack of socialisation or early experience with other dogs OR has had a bad experience with another dog which has caused defensive behaviour.
Idiopathic Aggression - Means FOR NO REASON when a dog becomes completely unpredictable in it's behaviour and may even attack inaminate objects as well as family members.
Learned Aggression - if a fearful animal snaps at a person and they jump back they have just taught the dog that aggression works. A classic example is postman, postman comes, dog barks, postman goes away to the dog the behaviour works so he/she will use it again.
Maternal Aggression - hormonal changes may cause a bitch to protect her litter and display defensive behaviour.
Pain-related Aggression - a dog that is in pain may display aggressive behaviour to being touched, approached or handled.
Play Aggression - over stimulation through play or rough housing can cause dogs to lose their self control and bite.
Possessive Aggression - a dog that will refuse to give up it's possessions such as toys or food.
Predatory Aggression - hunting behaviour whch can be more prevailent in some breeds and consists of stalking and chasing it's prey.
Protective Aggression - constant scanning of the environment, barking and growling to threaten intruders to keep them away.
Re-directed Aggression - may happen when a dog is interupted by a third party when it is in an aroused state and bite.
Territorial Aggression - defending territory such as it's home and garden.
Dogs can be vocal but can become a nuisance to neighbours if they are allowed to bark continously so investigate the cause in order to prevent it.
Make sure that your dog is not left for long periods which may cause boredom or stress, keep down outside noise and stimulation.
Can be caused by excitement and attention seeking so try not to reward it by paying attention to the dog when it jumps up on you.
Young dogs and puppies will chew so provide safe chew toys so as to prevent any chewing of furniture or shoes. Can be a sign of stress or boredom in adult dogs, excercise your dog before leaving it for any length of time or provide hide chews or treat balls to keep them occupied.
Can be a displacement activity, boredom or just an enjoyable pass time for your dog.
Discourage this by not allowing your dog to become over-aroused or excited by stopping any inter-action until the dog has calmed down.
Provide puppies or young dogs with a crate which will help teach some self control or limit access around the home. Reward toileting in appropriate places with praise and be consistent by taking them outside first thing, when they wake up or after feeding or drinking. BE PATIENT.
Destructive Behaviour in The Home
Provide chews or toys and limit access around the home, check that your dog is not stressed or bored by providing a more stimulating environment and don't leave him/her unsupervised.
Don't allow your dog to follow you constantly as this can lead to separation problems when you have to leave your dog for any length of time.The dog may soil, chew. whine, bark or become destructive when left.
Fears and Phobias
Phobia is an abnormal or irrational fear of something can be noise or objects and can cause a dog to hide, shake, whimper, urinate, defecate, salivate, pant or run. Make sure that your dog is extensively socialised at an early age to anything that it may encounter throughout it's life.
Get young dogs used to travel in the car, provide a crate or car harness to keep the dog under control and short journeys at first. Seek advice for car travel problems.
Sophia From On The Scent and me at Radio Suffolk when we went to meet Lesley Dolphin on her On The Sofa Show:
Jamie Saves Our Bacon! In January 2009 I was asked to take part in a programme with Jamie Oliver for his Jamie Saves Our Bacon show which involved the training of a commercially bred pig. It was hard work but loads of fun and to see how I got on take a look at the following clip it certainly put my training skills to the test!
In June 2008 Sophia and I spent a day with the Police Dogs Handlers at Suffolk Police Headquarters to learn about their training and the work that they do:
Mary Ray and me at one of her demonstrations of heelwork to music: