I started my canine training and behaviour career back in 2008. I had taken in four rescue Jack Russell’s within a couple of years and as much as I loved them, I was really struggling with various behaviours that each of them were displaying. I called in a couple of qualified trainers and wasn’t impressed with the techniques they were telling me to use, I found them cruel and there was no way that I could follow them which meant that I didn’t see any results. I started to think about the way that we had trained our family dogs when I was younger and remembered we had watched a lady on the TV and that my Dad had bought her books and put her methods into practice.
I bought her books and read them cover to cover more than once, but although they told me the general things that I needed to do, I found that they weren’t specific enough to teach me how to apply them to the problems I was having.
What was I supposed to do when my dog was chasing my sheep and not coming back?
How did I stop my very yappy terriers from barking constantly and driving my other half mad while I was at work?
And when he’d had enough of the barking and put them in the stables, how did I stop them from chewing their way out and eating my front porch door to get back into my house?
I decided that I needed a bit of extra help with implementing the method I was reading about and so I searched the ladies website and found that she had professionals across the UK who had trained with her. I contacted the one closest to me and with her help I started to gain some control over my little pack.
I enjoyed the process of learning the techniques and implementing them so much that I went on to qualify as a behaviourist myself and specialised in pack structure training for 6 years. In this time I helped countless clients to regain control of their dogs and resolve the behaviour problems that they were struggling with.
One day I received a call to go and help Chelsea, a year old little dog with severe aggression issues that had been taken into the vets to be put to sleep. I bought him home convinced that I could resolve this issue and allow him to enjoy his life but I was wrong.
Four years later I had made absolutely no progress with Chelsea, he was still biting me every time I tried to do anything with him, whether it was moving him away from the door, removing him from my lap so that I could get up or putting a lead on him so that we could go for a walk. He bit me so badly that he broke bones in my hands, fingers and feet and I was using padded gloves to touch him every time I knew that what I was about to do would trigger the aggression.
I was at my wits end but didn’t want to give up on him because he could also be such a loving little dog and I knew that if I could just get to the bottom of what was causing the aggressive outbursts, I could help him to enjoy his life. I started to look for other techniques to help him and came across animal communication, I wasn’t sure how much I believed it but at this point I couldn’t see that I had anything to lose.
Chelsea shared that he bit because in that moment he was either angry with me for not allowing him to do something, like sit on my lap or greet visitors at the door, or he was absolutely terrified of being hurt. He shared that he was sacred of the lead and the way to keep it away was to attack it. He also shared things from his past that were causing him to feel this way at these times.
It dawned on me that these were deep set emotional issues caused by past traumas and if I had issues like this then I wouldn’t call someone to train it out of me I would get professional help from a therapist. I started to look for therapeutic techniques that could be used on dogs and to my surprise I found that there were a lot of different ones already being used. I decided to start training in the ones that I thought would help Chelsea the most at that time and after seeing amazing results with him I continued to learn the different techniques that I use today.