Where are you based?
I am based in Dawlish, South Devon. I cover between Exeter and Paignton (and surrounding areas) for in-person appointments and also offer virtual services, which are sometimes a good option for those further afield.
How much do you charge, and what services do you offer?
You’ll find all of my costings on the Services page of my website: http://www.knowyourdogdevon.com/services. Any appointments further than 10 miles from where I am based are also subject to an area specific call-out fee.
What behavioural issues do you help with?
Dog to dog aggression, dog to people aggression, resource guarding (guarding of food, toys, space, the home, the sofa, etc), separation anxiety, stress related behaviour, fear and anxiety, predatory behaviour, compulsive behaviour, sound sensitivity, socialisation, frustration, over-excitement and difficulty settling. I also offer services to help you understand your dog even if you are not experiencing particular behavioural concerns, such as dog body language sessions, or advice sessions on topics like understanding how to help your rescue dog settle in to their new home and build a relationship with you.
How can you help me and my dog?
Please visit the About page of my website (www.knowyourdogdevon.com), and also the ‘What is a holistic approach’ page, which explains the reason we have to look at all of the factors in our dog’s lives (looking at ‘the whole dog’) to truly understand their behaviour; not just look at behaviour itself. I use only ethical methods led by science, and use an empathetic approach, with the welfare of your dog at the centre of what I do. It’s really important to me that I not only support my clients and their dogs with ‘troublesome’ behaviours, but that I give you the knowledge so that you understand why the behaviour is occurring in the first place. This is what really helps you to understand your dog, and can open your eyes to a lot of things.
What organisations are you a member of, and certified by?
I am Certified by The Association of INTODogs (Certified Canine Behaviourist), ICAN (Certified Animal Behaviourist). I am a Certified Family Dog Mediator. I am covered by the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter.
What qualifications do you have?
I am qualified in Canine Behaviour (Level 5), Canine Communication (Level 3), Canine Nutrition, Canine Health, Fear, Anxiety, and Dog Training (Level 3), L.E.G.S® Applied Ethology. I am canine first aid trained.
You talk about the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter…why is that important?
Currently, the behaviour and training industry is not regulated. This means that anyone can call themselves a behaviourist or trainer, with no specific level of qualifications, accreditation, experience, or any ongoing commitment to CPD. I’d be nervous if anyone could come in to my house to fix my central heating with no experience or qualifications…let alone working to help a beloved member of my family! If a professional is covered by the Charter, you know that they have been assessed having the right knowledge, experience, qualifications, that they are using ethical, science led methods, and that they are committed to the welfare of your dog. There are plenty of people out there using outdated methods that are detrimental to the wellbeing of your dog…keep an eye out for the Charter symbol to make sure you’re in good hands. The professional may also be a member of the ABTC (Animal Behaviour and Training Council). Chartered professionals will follow a specific code of practice around welfare and conduct.
What is L.E.G.S® and Family Dog Mediation®?
Applied Ethology is the scientific study the behaviour of animals that are managed by humans, with particular attention to the evolution of behaviour. Anyone that knows me or works with me knows that I do not follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach to behaviour and use a holistic approach, because your dog is an individual and therefore deserves an individual approach, every time. The L.E.G.S® model breaks this down really easily for you humans, whilst giving your dog a voice in the whole thing, too. Their needs – your needs – and a plan to move forward together.
Do you work with specific breeds?
I work with all breeds of dog, and also have a keen interest in the specific and individual needs of foreign rescues.
Are you insured?
Yes, I am insured with Protectivity.
Can you make guarantees?
No, I cannot. Dogs are sentient animals with their own feelings, needs, and choices to make. To make guarantees around behaviour would be discrediting our dog’s own free will. What I can promise you is that I will help you understand your dog’s behaviour and support you to help your dog get to a better place, mentally and physically. Additionally, sometimes our expectations don’t align with true best outcomes for the dog, or aren’t realistic for the individual dog in front of us. For example, if somebody enquires with me and says that their dog is aggressive to other dogs at 250 yards, and they’d like their dog to be able to be off lead around other dogs to play with them. I can’t realistically say that we will be able to do that, because the dog might actually not enjoy off lead time playing other dogs or be comfortable with that. A more realistic expectation is a calm walk seeing dogs in the environment and your dog knowing that they are safe, without having to engage with them. This might be a nicer outcome for that particular dog (if we could ask them what they’d like to get from behavioural support…what would they say? Human ideologies don’t always align to what our dog might actually prefer).
Other reasons I can’t make promises or guarantees is that every family is different, dynamics are different, and the way that they are able to work with their dog differs with that uniqueness. Realistically speaking, one person may be able to commit much more time to coaching than another because of differing schedules, so outcomes may be different.
Anyone making guarantees is more than likely using unkind methods that will be detrimental to the wellbeing of the dog and may result in a bigger problem later on, then the one you had to start with. These methods often look like a quick fix but really only suppress the behaviour (rather than addressing the root cause of the behaviour). At some point this will resurface, or the needs behind the behaviour(s) will show themselves in other ways.
Can I get help with the cost of behavioural support?
Some pet insurers will cover the cost of my services. The best thing you can do if you’d like to look in to this is ask your insurer what they will cover, and how much cover they’ll provide. They may also only cover certain assessment conclusions (my evidence based assessment of how your dog presents/behaves) so you should understand what these are, as this may effect your claim. Important details to communicate to your insurer is that I am a Certified Canine Behaviourist (INTODogs), Certified Animal Behaviourist (ICAN), and covered by the UK Dog Behaviour & Training Charter. Insurers are less likely to cover costs of uncertified behaviourists as the industry is unregulated, so certification is important.
I require payment in advance so any costs would need to be claimed retrospectively and whilst I will provide basic information to support your claim for your insurer (with your permission), your claim is between yourself and them and I hold no responsibility for the outcome of your claim.
How do I book an appointment or find out more?