If your dog is showing signs of aggression or reactivity then I would always recommend consulting a certified force-free behaviour consultant. If your dog is simply exhibiting annoying behaviours then you need to consult a certified force-free dog trainer who will work with both you and your dog. It’s worth noting that not all dog trainers are specialists in dog behaviour, so ask to make sure the person you choose has experience in dealing with the problem you need to solve. However, before you do this take your dog to the vet to determine if an underlying medical problem is influencing the dog’s behaviour.

Dog training and dog behaviour consulting are unregulated so it is up to you to decide whether the professional that you choose is qualified. If your dog is aggressive with other dogs be sure to mention this so that you can have private lessons prior to enrolling your dog in a group class. Talk to more than one person if you can before you choose. Be sure that you understand their methods. Be sure that they will use a positive reinforcement-based approach.

If a trainer suggests that they take the dog into their facility to do the training, be sure to visit and see the facility and the dogs currently in residence. Ask to see the trainer working with a dog to see that the dog is happy and likes the trainer and that positive methods are being used. A trainer that uses violence or aggression with your dog will make matters worse and the dog will become even more likely to bite.

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Don’t just rely on clever marketing or lots of Facebook / Social Media recommendations when choosing your trainer or behaviourist. This is not something you can risk getting wrong as you could potentially be making the problem you’ve got 10 x worse! Here are a couple of questions to get you started when interviewing someone for the role in shaping your pet. Can you think of any more? If so please participate by posting a comment.

  • What is your educational background in the area of dog training (and behavior if applicable)?
  • What are your credentials and do you have any certifications?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations, and if not, why not?
  • Do you attend continuing education courses and if so what were they?
  • What method of training do you use?
  • What equipment do you use?
  • What kind of follow-up do you provide after the session?
  • Can you provide a list of clients we can contact for references?
  • What sort of services do you provide for pet owners? Do you provide specialized services? (i.e. therapy dog training, competitive dog sports training, service dog training)

You can force-free professionals to help you using the ABTC or APDT websites. If you live in Milton Keynes then the below list will help you identify those who are accredited:

Certified Trainers:

Zoe Stanley from Tittletails

Ellie Haines from Haines Hounds

Jeni Perie from My Pet Gets

Certified Behaviourists:

Zoe Stanley from Tittletails

Jeni Perie from My Pet Gets

Ellena Hinson from Pet Behaviour Therapy 

Theo Stuart from The Dog Lady

Katherine Clarkson from Wags Pet Behaviour 

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Jog My Dog is a small, friendly and professional company offering home boarding, puppy visits, doggy day care, cat visits and dog walking services in Milton Keynes and the surrounding villages of Bow Brickhill, Brickhill Sands, Little Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Aspley Guise, Woburn Sands and Brogborough.

Registered, Insured, Knowledgeable and Experienced, we take the job of pet care seriously. So whether you’re looking for a cat sitter for your weekend away or regular runs for your dog while you’re at work, we can help! Get in touch to book your pet sitter and dog walker in Milton Keynes today.