Cryptorchidism? The Lost Ball

ballsA client of mine has a dog with an undescended testicle. She has been looking into the possible association with some of Jasper’s behaviour.


What is cryptorchidism?

To quote, ‘cryptorchidism is the failure of one or both testicles to drop into the scrotal sac in male dogs. The testicle can be retained in the abdomen or anywhere along the path to the scrotum pouch’. 

It’s hereditary and most common in pure-bred dogs. Research suggests dogs with cryptorchidism may have other congenital problems as well. If the ‘lost ball’ isn’t found and removed, torsion can develop. This is an extremely painful condition.

Physical problems

The testicle twists upon itself, inhibiting blood flow if the undescended testicle isn’t removed. The dog is thirteen times more likely to develop testicular cancer.

My client’s dog suffers from unexplained pain with possibly associated behaviours. This started her down this route of exploration.

What about behaviour?

I am particularly interested in the possible behavioural impact. Bearing in mind that behaviour and pain are closely related.


‘In cases when a dog’s neutering history is unknown – even when the dog appears outwardly neutered – and the dog exhibits the libido or other hormonally driven behaviors typical of intact male dogs, the possibility of a remaining, retained testicle should be considered’.


Vet HQ gives a little bit more on the behaviour angle and how it affects hormone production, hence behaviour. To quote:

  1. The internal testicle may make too much female hormone and result in a “male feminization syndrome.” These dogs will develop prominent nipples and be attractive to male dogs. Other dogs may produce excessive amounts of male hormone. This can lead to prostate disease and anal gland disease. Excessive hormones can also affect the bone marrow.
  2. Behavioural issues associated with excess hormone production. This can vary between excessive aggression, being attractive to male dogs or being constantly picked on by other male dogs because they are seen as a threat.

I can’t find online a specific link between cryptorchidism and behaviour backed up by any depth of scientific research. I would like to find more than the odd anecdote here and there.

Colman wrote that her dog’s hormonally driven excessive sniffing had greatly reduced. This is anecdotal and could also be the case with a regular castration.

Maybe you can point me to something I’ve not found?

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Esperanto for Dogs?

Esperanto is a ‘constructed’ language, created by Ludwig L. Zamenhof, a Polish doctor in the late 1800s.

To quote: It is the most appropriate language to eliminate language barriers and to allow international communication for everybody on a basis of mutual respect and understanding. The aim of Esperanto is not to replace the other languages but to be a “bridge” between different language communities.

Zamenhof’s aim was to create a language of communication that was neutral with the idea of creating a tolerant world, free from the horrors of war.

What has this to do with dogs?

Imagine two people who only know a few words in each other’s language. They have to make do with signing (at least they did, before technology provide instant translating via mobile phones). It’s very likely that one understands the other’s language better than the other or is expected to do most of the compromising.

Someone contacted me today with this message, and it got me thinking: ‘I have a Romanian rescue of about one year old. We have a huge issue with him in that when my partner goes to kitchen or comes into the bedroom he growls badly and shows his teeth and on two occasions he has actually bitten him. Then at all other times he loves my partner to bits’.

In the crucial months of this dog’s life he was on the streets.

Pet dogs are taught that some of the strange or rude (to a dog) things humans do, present no threat. A puppy that has missed out on this can only judge human behaviour by what would be acceptable from another dog.

Any contact this dog did have from humans will no doubt have been harsh.

So both these dogs and their humans need to learn ‘Dog-Esperanto’.

An example of unacceptable human behaviour: a human walks into a room and directly towards the dog, staring at him. He’s being friendly. BUT, If another dog approached like this it would be confrontational. Our dog would be scared and respond accordingly.

Another human example: A human puts a hand out to the dog. Worse still, tries to touch the top of the dog’s head. This would be would be very bad manners and possibly threatening to the dog.

An example of dog behaviour the human may not understand or even notice: The dog looks away and maybe licks his lips or yawns. The human ignores this so the dog may next show his teeth or growl. The human takes this as unprovoked aggression and continues doing whatever it was that prompted the response.

The dog may now bite.

The human may now become aggressive towards the dog.

How would ‘Dog Esperanto’ work?

The human would learn that a mutually understood way of approaching a dog would be not so direct and avoid hard eye contact.

The dog would learn that if he looked away the human would understand. He would then be able to relax.

If the dog growled, the human would understand he was only communicating his acute unease. The human would back off.

The dog would be given the opportunity to learn that hands only brought good things – food and fun.

A puppy living with kind humans from an early age would have learnt to accept the quirks in human behaviour that would be alien to a street, wild or feral dog.

A human living with and loving a puppy would make an effort to understand puppy language (hopefully).

If those crucial first few weeks have passed by before the dog comes to live with humans, the mutual language has to be learnt.

Not just by the dog. By the humans as well.

The dog, of course, is another species living in the human’s environment. It’s only right we should put in most of the effort to ‘read his language’.

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Anticipatory Barking

Does your dog’s barking drive you mad?

Barking is one of the most annoying things our dog does, isn’t it. It can be so hard to stop.

And this is the point. When our dog barks we try to stop the barking rather than change the cause of it.

There is a huge market in devices to stop barking by making it uncomfortable for the dog. This by either an electric shock or an uncomfortable sound, vibration or smell.

In America and maybe other countries, horrendous surgical de-barking is still legal.

Like when a baby cries, barking has an urgency about it.

Barking annoys the neighbours.

Most dogs will alarm bark on hearing a sudden sound. It’s natural and to be expected.

An aggressive bark will mostly be as the dog tries to increase distance between him or herself and something they feel is a threat.

Most dog owners will at some time experience demand barking. This when the dog wants something. Or attention barking.

Is not most barking actually in anticipation of something?

Some alarm barking will be in anticipation (or fear) of something that the dog fears might follow. Aggressive barking may be in anticipation of a threat getting too close.

Demand barking is in anticipation of the dog successfully getting what what he or she wants. It’s the same with barking for attention.

Nearly all my noisy Working Cocker Pickle’s barking is anticipatory in some way.

When we get up in the morning he barks with excitement in anticipation of running outside. (Now I wait for a short while and do something else first before going to the door).

He then will bark in anticipation of his breakfast (I now feed him randomly).

He then sits at the door barking for someone to come downstairs and into the room. This person has made a routine of giving the dogs a biscuit first thing. He now waits a few minutes first.

I used to draw in breath before getting up to take the dogs out. Pickle knew that was the signal for getting ready to go out. He barked. (I now sometimes draw breath without going out, or take the dogs out without first drawing breath!).

In the early evening my 12-year-old Pickle recently started staring at me and barking. I really don’t know why, but it will be in anticipation of my usual reaction (to talk to him). I now either call him onto my lap (not what he’s barking for whatever that might be), or I get up and walk out of the room.

Importantly, I now give him some wanted attention before he begins to bark.

….and so it goes on.

Looking at most barking as anticipatory doesn’t have to be very scientific.

We can cut down the barking by breaking the connection between the trigger and what the dog anticipates. Just common sense really.

More instances: If the dog is alarmed at a certain sound, then make that sound trigger food. Thios changes what he anticipates (counter-conditioning).

Does seeing another dog trigger barking in anticipation of it getting too close? Let seeing another dog trigger walking your dog away from it while you cheerfully feed him. (Counter-conditioning).

Routines and rituals.

The best way to deal with a lot of barking which has an anticipatory aspect? Regularly change our routines and rituals.

Dogs are very clever at reading the smallest signals. They only have to take place two or three times to create that pattern that causes barking!

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Is your dog a chase junkie?

SabreBe his supplier no more.

The young couple has a beautiful Border Collie pup called Sabre, five-and-a-half months old.

He greeted me outside the house, pulling hard to get to me. Most of the time I was with them he was flying all over the place or barking at the young man in particular. He barked for him to throw a toy. The man always complies because the barking ‘goes right through his head’.

He barked at me too but not so much. I ignored it. After a couple of hours of ignoring the barking and giving Sabre things to do, I introduced Click for Calm.

At last Sabre understood what we wanted of him.

The wrong kind of stimulation

They have a very clever puppy (he’s a Border Collie!) that needs a lot of mental stimulation. Too much stimulation of the wrong kind can cause problems.

They are pumping him up too much, the young man in particular. The fallout comes in the form of over-excitement. He barks and obsesses with people throwing things for him. .

There are issues that need addressing. These are chasing their two cats, chasing cars, jumping all over everyone and barking. The barking is relentless and constant barking. Like many Border Collies in particular, Sabre repeatedly drops a toy onto a lap. Then he barks. And he barks — until someone gives in.

Mealtimes are impossible. To stop Sabre barking, the young man plays while he’s trying to eat.

Honing Sabre’s chasing skills

Then don’t want him chasing the cats or traffic.

With all the throwing they are practising and honing Sabre’s chasing skills. Border collies herd because they were selectively bred to and it’s in his genetics. The sequence is staring, stalking then chasing.

They are making super-skilful his already predatory instincts. All the throwing fires him up to the point of obsession. He would go on until he dropped. His brain gets a buzz every time he chases. To his brain, like cocaine, constant chasing is addictive.

He now needs to go cold turkey.

They will cut right down on throwing and never respond when he’s pestering. They don’t need a thrower on a walk (see ‘I Hid the Ball Thrower‘). While he’s chasing his obsession he is missing out on the enrichment of the environment. This is where all the sights and smells are.

Unwittingly taught him to bark

By always giving in they are reinforcing the behaviour they don’t want. Because barking drives them mad, they give in! They can see that they have actually taught him to bark.

Now they will show him that the barking and flying all over them doesn’t get the attention he wants. They will do this by looking away, ignoring it and even walking out.

This is not enough. Equally important is to show him what he can do instead and to fill his life with more suitable stimulation. We started Click for Calm and that’s the way to go with Sabre. If they have no clicker on them, ‘Yes’ will do, followed by food (but no chat as chat would simply pump him again).

He caught on super-fast and was soon experimenting to find what would earn him clicks!

Click for Calm is the antidote.

Yes, he can have a ball, but only for ‘changing the target’ work and nothing else. They can throw other toys, but only a few repetitions and never when he’s asking for it. After three or so throws, they should remove the object.

They will provide alternative behaviours to the things they don’t want. They will find alternatives that are incompatible with cat-chasing for instance. When he’s eyeing up a cat, on a cue word he can chase a ball in the other direction instead. Change the target.

With Sabre on lead and in a room with the cats, they will use Click for Calm. Each time he relaxes, looks away or settles he will earn a click.

Suitable enriching activities

They will provide as many ‘calming’, brain and chewing activities as they can. Already they feed him in various imaginary ways and teach him training tricks. They will add ways of allowing him to let off steam like a rummage box or snuffle pool.

Now they will instigate plenty of play and training sessions, but only when Sabre is quiet.

He will learn to keep away from them when they are eating. They can give him something to do that is incompatible with barking at them while they eat. For now they will throw a handful of kibble all over the grass and shut him outside. He must never again think that barking at them while they are eating will get him back in. They will need to hold their nerve — let him in once and will never stop.

They live in a friendly environment with people calling. They will need to pass the word around. The will ask other people to give Sabre a chance to calm down before they say hello to him — a notice on the gate too.

As the barking affects the young man the most. I gave him my clicker. With this small object and a supply of tiny bits of food in his pocket, he has the power to stop the demanding barking.

With Click for Calm Sabre can settle down.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete report. Details and names may be changed. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog, you can do more harm than good. Click here for help

For many more stories of dogs I have worked with, please go to my website

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Patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace…..

…and Grace is a little girl who wouldn’t wash her face. If you were my age you may be familiar with this saying from your school days!

Each time I hear the word ‘patience’ it triggers this saying in my head. Then it makes me think of my childhood.

pianoFrom an early age I’ve used patience and stickability.

I was self-driven to excel at playing the piano. I had an end goal in sight. Two end goals actually. I went to a school that specialised in music and the competition was strong. I also wanted to be able to play wonderful piano music.

I had a great teacher who inspired me.

In my dog behaviour work I need to be a great teacher too.

I must instil patience and stickability.

Elizabeth B Moje of the University of Utah said “I teach students, not subjects’. So true.

Instilling patience in a worried dog caregiver is a huge challenge when there can be no honest guarantee at the end of it. The most scientifically knowledgeable behaviour expert in the world would be ineffective as a behaviourist without being able to inspire patience.

Your being patient hangs on one thing and that is belief.  Belief in me. You have to believe that, if you stick to my plan for long enough, the outcome will be successful.

In our line of work we can never make promises, so this can be tricky. ‘Follow my advice for long enough and I can promise you will be able to leave Bertie for up to six hours a day’. That would be unethical.

Guarantee of future success with your dog is impossible.

We humans can believe in things of which there can be no proof of – like the existence of a heaven. But achieving everlasting redemption may depend upon avoiding doing things.

Using threat would be as unethical as promises. ‘If you don’t follow my advice your dog will likely end up being rehomed or put to sleep’.

Instilling belief in me and my advice is my biggest challenge. If, as a child, I didn’t believe I could eventually conquer Bach’s Italian Concerto I wouldn’t have put in the time and practice.

Belief instilled in dog owners hinges upon understanding. Understanding based on the principals and methods behind the advice. Understanding of the amount of systematic work and repetition necessary.

Belief is best backed up by ‘what others say’. Testimonials and Google reviews infer some kind of guaranteed success. Other people can say on my behalf what I myself can’t.


I often tell my piano-practice story to a client whose dog, for instance, has separation problems or reacts negatively to dogs he meets on walks.

If I wanted to play the piano well it meant practice. Hours of practice. Scales, One hand at a time, slowly then faster and then hands together. Then the same with a new piano piece.

One step at a time.

It took hours, days and weeks. I kept the end goal in mind all the time.

With so much repetition I was setting up brain memory until I could play the piece by heart. When on a stage in a concert or taking an exam, my hands just played it. I never thought about the individual notes anymore.

So it has to be with many dog behaviour and training protocols. This includes unlearning old habits whilst building new ones.

Repetition creates the strongest learning—and most learning—both implicit (like tying your shoes) and explicit (multiplication tables) relies on repetition. It is also why it is so hard to make behavior change, because the new behavior must be repeated for so long—and the old behavior must be held in check.” (Gretchen L. Schmelzer, PhD – not referring specifically to dogs).

Schmelzer ends “So with rare exception, repetition is the only real option for learning, unlearning, and re-learning—and yet as adults we so often believe that we can and must learn everything fast. Everything is supposed to be 3 easy steps, or maybe 5, but not 100. We are designed to learn through practice”. We can apply this to both ourselves and our dogs.

Repetitions build proficiency.

Repetitions require patience.

Patience requires motivation.

Motivation requires belief.

I had total belief that, if I worked for long enough at the last movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique piano sonata, I would conquer it. So I did.

In these days of instant everything, we are working against the flow.

Chip away at it, a bit at a time, and suddenly you realise things are falling together. (That’s not a guarantee but a high probability).

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“My Dog Won’t Listen”

How many times do we hear that?

We all remember from our school days the Mr. Smith who couldn’t keep control; we all ignored his shouting and ‘discipline’. There were riots in his class.

Mr. Smith dished out detentions and punishments freely.

On the other hand, many of us will have left school with our favourite subjects. These will have been taught by teachers who fuelled our enthusiasm and interest. They didn’t need to shout.

They simply had ‘it’.

Charisma? Enthusiasm? True interest in each child’s learning?

I was a school teacher once – many years ago. I like to think I had control without shouting. How?

I rose to the challenge of ‘being interesting’. I taught class music which could be a challenge with teenagers. It would need imagination to capture the enthusiasm of 13-year-old Steven to listen to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony when he’d rather be outside kicking a ball.

It was MY job to make Beethoven something that fascinated Steven.

It wasn’t HIS job to be interested.

It was down to me, not the boy.

What if I took my eyes off the ball and I sensed the rumble of a rebellion?

I reacted immediately. No shouting. Shouting merely adds fuel to the already ignited fire.

I stood very still. Silent. Silence with stillness eventually gets attention. Then, when I spoke, I spoke VERY QUIETLY.

They listened. They sank back into their seats.

Now I tightened up my own game. It was my failure, not theirs.

Some kids, admittedly, are more inclined to disrupt the class than others. Some are more of a challenge. They have wandering minds and a short attention span. With them we have to raise our game.

See the parallel with dogs?

Commonly the dog that ‘won’t listen’ has learnt to become deaf to the more and more loudly repeated commands. The shouting is simply less relevant to him than what he wants to do.

The more the ‘dog doesn’t listen’, the louder the shouting. He may even be punished for ‘not listening’.

But whose to blame?

You want Alfie to ‘listen’? Then tighten up your game. You simply need to become more interesting, more rewarding. You are quieter. You consider Alfie’s needs. You use management to avoid Alfie getting into the position of challenging you.

An example

A common example is the dog ‘not listening’ when she’s called. Bella can hear you but the lingering smell of a recently passing fox is a lot more relevant to her.

How can you be more relevant than fox? Be realistic. You probably can’t!

While we humans have been occupying ourselves all day with our own chosen things like jobs, internet and watching TV, our dog spends much of the day waiting for his or her opportunity to do ‘dog things’. Things like sniffing where foxes have passed recently.

It’s no wonder we can be low down on out dog’s list of priorities when out in a field.

I would suggest you go with it instead of fighting it.

In the case of ignored recall, use a long line. Wait until Bella eventually loses interest in fox scent and then call, not before. Even if you’ve had to wait, make coming to you really worthwhile.

What is worthwhile? You know Bella best – it could be food or it could be fun. You may need to engage more generally – to be more on her wavelength. Vary the reward. Don’t let her know too well what you are going to do. Keep ahead. Keep her interest.

Trying to be forceful and shouting repeated commands will probably have the opposite effect to what you want and could damage your relationship with your dog.

If your dog ‘won’t listen’, then it’s due to you, not the dog

Some people do build up the kind of relationship that gets priority over the scent of passing fox. It’s possible. Have you got the time for the hard work, commitment and consistency necessary?

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Stepping Stones to Calm and Confident Walks. A Chaining Game for Reconstructing Walks

This is a new game that I’ve developed to help people whose walk is an emotional crisis for their dog.

It’s for dogs that are manic, over-excited and over-reactive, making walks a nightmare. It’s for dogs that are scared or jumpy – or simply don’t want to go out at all.

Reconstructing the ‘walk’.

I have taken ideas from Janet Finlay and Leslie McDevitt Pattern Games, and from Bankhouse Barker’s circuit walks.

It’s all about transforming your dog walk into something quite different – not what the dog has been programmed to expect.

The Stepping Stones Game involves a sequence of actions for the dog, using his or her memory and also anticipation. Anticipation is a really good way of getting the dog’s attention and keeping it. It increases focus which in itself results in calmer behaviour.

Do you remember the game (you may not if you’re if you’re young) ‘I packed my bag and in it I put…..’? I used to play it with my children. One would say, ‘I packed my bag and in it I put (for instance) a toothbrush’. The next one, ‘I packed my bag and in it I put a toothbrush and a Mars bar’. The next one, ‘I packed my bag and in it I put a toothbrush, a Mars bar and a tortoise’ (as the game became silly).

You will build a chain of stepping stones with your dog, based on the same sort of thing.

The wildly excited dog

A dog that is wildly excited may jump up and grab the lead or grab you. He may be over-reactive to other dogs and people, She will very likely pull on lead. A wildly excited dog is experiencing an emotional storm and can’t cope. Any loose lead walking technique goes out the window.

The aim is for excited and over aroused dogs to begin their walk calmly.

The frightened dog

A dog that is terrified out on walks and perhaps very reluctant to go out, may due to fear also be over-reactive. This dog is also experiencing a kind of emotional nightmare. He/she simply feels very unsafe.

The aim is for the sacred dog to start out willingly and more confidently.

The convalescing dog

The third use of the Stepping Stone game is only indirectly to do with walks. It’s for dogs that can’t go for walks who are perhaps having to convalesce; it’s a really good enrichment memory game just for its own sake.

Okay, so this is this is roughly what you to do.

Like the saying ‘charity begins at home’, enjoyable walks begin at home also.

First of all list all the cues your dog knows. You might call them commands, I call them cues. Things like sit, lie down, paw, stay…… Now list the activities and games that your dog enjoys.

To start with have about 10 activities. All right, we may want to make it longer eventually but you don’t use them all at once you add them one at a time.

Here’s an example of links in a stepping stone chain. Your first one could be ‘count aloud taking five slow paces’. Then ‘take five slow paces and then sit’, then ‘take five slow paces, sit, stay for a couple of seconds, drop food’. Then ‘take five slow paces, sit, stay for a couple of seconds, drop food’ and a short game of tug’.

Build your stepping stones until it takes about 10 minutes and do it four or three times a day to get the sequence really learnt and established.

It goes without saying that over-excited dogs stepping stones won’t involve things that are too exciting, or fearful dogs anything that makes her/him uneasy.

The order of stepping stones remains the same, the route covered is variable

Your stepping stones stay in the same order always. It’s best to always add a new thing to the end only.

The ground you cover varies.

You begin only where the dog is most comfortable and calm. Your stepping stones go around the house and the garden, in as many rooms as you can. Vary the exact route each time.

Don’t push ahead too fast. When each step is learned and anticipated you add another stepping stone onto the end.

When your dog is ready, sometimes add walking just outside the front door to your random circuit. Come back in again to continue your chaining in the house and garden.

Harness, lead and other ‘walk triggers’

Two important things to add into your chain are putting on the harness and then a few activities later adding the lead. When you do come to open the front door you’re not having to stop put on the harness and lead.

Add in other ‘walk triggers’ like changing your shoes or picking up your keys.

If the dog is excited or scared when you go out of the door, spend more time in the house and garden before trying again – just opening the door but not going out this time.

Once you establish going out and coming straight back in again you can then gradually take your chaining a little bit further away from your house. Your neighbours may think you’re crazy but they might enjoy watching you as well!

Over time you will be eliminating a lot of the triggers which the dog associates with going out for a walk, causing excitement or fear. They will begin to mean something else, something not loaded with emotions of fear or excitement. You are reconstructing the walk.

It could mean you don’t do anything but this game with no walks at all for a while. It depends upon how severe your case is.

The choice of stepping stones themselves will depend upon a lot of things.

This is very general course. For each dog and his or humans, it’s going to be very individual. What the stepping stones consist of and where they lead is going to depend upon what sort of house they live in and what it’s like outside the house. It will depend on the dog’s emotions, temperament and personality.

It’s going to depend on a lot of things. Work out the best sequence of ‘stepping stones’ for your own dog and then take it slowly, adding one at a time.

Theo Stewart

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Silence is Golden

imagesThere is a lot nowadays in books and the media about humans reading the language of dogs, a pioneer of this being Turid Rugaas in her book On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals. 

There is less said about how dogs read us humans. We humans do like to use words, anything from commands to continual background chatter. We only tend tend to consciously use body signals to comunicate with our dogs when employing exaggerated signs to replace words in training or distance work.

Roger Abrantes suggests on the Ecology Institute Cambridge website, ‘Our dogs, I’m sure, think that we talk too much and say too little. My advice to dog owners: when you cannot improve on silence, be quiet’.

His short video beautifully demonstrates the instant connection between him and dogs who don’t even know him – all action and very few words.

Human beings love talking. Dogs may vocalise, but it’s not verbal. Words are the least salient means of communication to our dogs.

Try this: ask your dog to sit in your usual manner – and preferably video it. You will probably find you nod your head slightly or make some sort of movement with a hand. Now try again, keeping dead still and saying the word ‘Sit’ just once. Very likely the dog will do nothing. Now try the nod or slight hand movement without the word ‘Sit, and wait. There is every chance your dog will sit.

Abrantes finishes, ‘Dogs are connoisseurs of silence. Instead of so much talking, I’m convinced your dog would value immensely more a friendly glance or a tiny pacifying gesture. In other words: if you don’t have anything important to communicate to your dog, keep quiet.

Here is the story of a dog I went to that had been bombarded with words, which left him no opportunity to work things out for himself.

Here is my main website with stories of many dogs I have visited:

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Ten Proven Ways to Achieve Aggression in Your Dog


In no particular order.

ONE: Be confrontational

TWO: Steal things off her

THREE: Interfere with his food while he’s eating

FOUR: Overdo contact sports

FIVE: Use physical force

SIX: Assume she wants to be touched especially when she’s resting

SEVEN: Push him into situations he can’t cope with

EIGHT: Allow too much excitement around her

NINE: Chase, corner or trap him

TEN: Watch Cesar Millan

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A Behaviourist? What should that word really mean?

A ‘Behaviourist’ is about much more than letters gained through college. Some things can’t be learnt at university alone.

Wikipedia vaguely says: ‘A dog behaviourist is a person who works in modifying or changing behaviour in dogs. They can be experienced dog handlers, who have developed their experience over many years of hands-on experience, or have formal training up to degree level’.

Why do I call myself a Behaviourist?

I call myself a Behaviourist simply because it’s the word the general public and potential clients search for. They have their own concept of what a Behaviourist is and what they need.

This is what a dog ‘Behaviourist’ really is in my opinion:

  • A dog lover
  • A person lover
  • A shrink
  • A trainer
  • A friend
  • A listener
  • A motivator
  • A problem-solver
  • A supporter
  • A non-judger
  • A sponge for knowledge
  • An enthusiast for learning
  • A holder of meaningful practical qualifications
  • Someone experienced who has lived life themselves
  • A professional who is answerable and accountable

Can anyone call themselves a Behaviourist, then?

Yes, anyone can call themselves a Behaviourist. There are no qualifications legally required. The unwitting public can be blinded by a ‘Behaviourist’s’ claims to belong to associations with letters after their names that are totally meaningless.

In their desperation to get help with their dog, how many people do their research?

This is what makes public awareness of the Charter so important and membership of the leading force-free associations that continually check and vet their members for ongoing learning, ethics and standards.

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