Just Pet Dogs
Dog Training & Behaviour
About Just Pet Dogs
Just Pet Dogs believes that training your dog is about mutual respect, understanding and good communication. Dog training has changed enormously in the past 15-20 years. It is no longer necessary, or acceptable, to use harsh methods in training, and the use of gentle, motivational methods are as successful as they are enjoyable to use. The focus of modern dog training is on helping the dog get it right, and rewarding him when he does, rather than reprimanding the dog when he gets it wrong: this results in a dog that is happy to do what you ask rather than being bullied into doing what you ask.
Just Pet Dogs does not subscribe to ideas of having to be 'pack leader' or 'alpha' or 'dominant' over your dog or the idea that your dog will try to be 'dominant' over you. These ideas have proliferated in the popular dog press (books and magazines) as well through the multitude of television and radio programmes currently dedicated to dog training and behaviour, and have been used as the basis for ‘solving’ almost any problem that your dog might exhibit from simple training issues (such as pulling on the lead or not coming back when called) to serious behaviour problems (such as clinical separation anxiety and severe aggression). However, there is no scientific evidence to support these theories: in fact, much of the scientific study disproves these ideas.
There are many reasons why dogs do not do what their owners want them to including lack of training, previous experiences of punishment, fear and anxiety or even medical issues. They have nothing to do with the dog trying to be being 'dominant'.
You will come across this idea in many guises including:
- Being the leader
- Being the top dog
- Being the Alpha
- Rank Reduction Programmes
- Pack rules/theory
- Position in the pack
- Pack hierarchy
- Amichien Bonding
- Nothing in Life is Free (NILIF)*
- Learn to Earn*
* These two are variations on the theme and may be appropriate for some dogs in some situations.
For modern, scientifically-accurate information on this topic, look at the links on the Dominant Dog? page.
Why I became a dog trainer...
I began training Bracken, a farm-bred Border Collie bitch, in 1995. When Bracken was about six months of age, I began attending my local dog club and was soon invited to become an instructor at the club. Unfortunately, Bracken developed aggression issues towards dogs and, eventually, towards me. As a result, I began to educate myself further about canine behaviour and training and found that the training techniques I had been taught to use were what had created and maintained the problems.
With guidance from a member of the APBC and practical help from a member of the APDT, I began to solve Bracken's aggression problems. During this time, I travelled twice per week from Hull to Lincoln to attend a training class that used modern, positive reinforcement based training methods rather than old-fashioned, punishment based methods because there were no similar classes any nearer.
With the continued support and encouragement of my two mentors, I established Just Pet Dogs in August 1997, running my own classes in Hessle and providing training and behaviour advice. In October 1997, I was assessed and accepted for membership of the APDT, an organisation that I am proud to belong to for it's modern approach to dog training and it's stance against punitive methods.
Qualifications & Experience
I am affiliated with several nationally recognised dog training and behaviour organisations including:
As well as a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), I also hold several accredited qualifications in dog training and behaviour including:
Like all good dog trainers, I am fully insured and I regularly attend courses, workshops and seminars dealing with many different aspects of dog behaviour and training in order to keep up-to-date with the most recent advances in animal training and behaviour modification.
I hold several certificates in instructing and, as well as more than 15 years of instructing in dog training, I have 25 years experience in teaching adults in colleges and universities. I am currently a tutor on several of the canine and animal training and behaviour Foundation, First and Masters Degrees run by Bishop Burton College and validated by the University of Hull.
You've already met Bracken briefly in the section on 'Why I became a dog trainer…' Over the years, Bracken and I dabbled in obedience, agility, flyball and heelwork to music. As she has got on in years and developed arthritis, the physically demanding sports have fallen by the wayside and we focus more these days on gentle tricks and assistance tasks (fetching and carrying around the house, e.g. newspapers, TV remotes, peg buckets for the washing, etc.) although she did pass her Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award, at twelve and a half years of age!
After nearly three years of fighting cancer, Bracken finally gave up the fight on 24th January 2011, at the age of fifteen and a half years. She was vital until the end but let us know it was time for her to go. She was an exceptional dog who had a massive impact on my life and is sorely missed.
Hovis & Cherry
I obtained Hovis & Cherry in 2001 from Hull Animal Welfare Trust. They are Labrador crosses possibly with some hound in the mix: Cherry looks like a small Labrador but Hovis, her litter-brother, is rather hound-like in looks and behaviour. Unlike Bracken, they have only ever been trained using positive reinforcement based methods including a lot of clicker training. They both do a little agility and have a good repertoire of tricks and heelwork to music moves. Both have passed their Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Awards and I really must get round to having them assessed for their Silver Awards!