dog behavior

Can Choice Training help my Reactive - Growly - Dog?

Training your dog with choice is much easier and more effective than you may have thought | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

One of the interesting things I’ve observed recently is how much simple Choice Training changes life for those of us blessed with a Growly Dog - a reactive, anxious, aggressive, dog.

Of course, I always knew that! But it’s great to hear it come back from students and folk on my recent Workshop. That was all about Choice Training - training your dog by offering him a choice instead of telling him what to do.

And the results have been remarkable for many people!

They were surprised - and delighted! - to find that their growly dog was much better able to cope after only a couple of days of trying this new approach. Well, it was new for many of them …

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

How can a few simple games change my reactive dog?

What happens is that - through offering your dog a choice and not continually “commanding” him what to do - you build a completely new relationship with your pet!

No longer are you yelling and dancing, coaxing and cajoling, to try and get what you want. Instead you have a happy companionship where your dog is keen to do what you want because it’s what he wants too!

What I love about this way of training is that the dog doesn’t have to “be trained” at all. So how does the change happen? By you, the OWNER, changing!

Simple as that! Once you change your ways, your dog will just change with you.

And while you’re building up this amazing new bond between you, your anxious dog is getting less anxious, your reactive dog is able to cope much better with his fears, and your aggressive dog finds that - with you on his side - he doesn’t need to be aggressive any more.

I love my dog but …

Training your dog with Choice Training is much easier and more effective than you may have thought | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Many people come to me saying “I love my dog to bits, but …” What’s happening is that they undoubtedly do love their dog, but they don’t actually understand why he’s doing what he does. They know there’s a disconnect there, but are unaware how to fix it.

Once they start using Choice Training, things change fast. They become a team with their dog. They can now love him with understanding and empathy.

When I’m working with Growly Dogs specifically, I use a lot of strategies and techniques to achieve the desired change in the dog’s behaviour. But these are all based in giving him a choice and letting him decide on a good course of action.

When you have very young children, you have to show them and teach them all the time. Once your child is older, you’re no longer saying “do this, do that,” but you are backing them up in the informed choices that they are now able to make. This is what I aspire to for my Growly Dog students. That they can work together with their challenging dog to get the results they want.

One of the best things about Choice Training is that you can start it with your new puppy when he comes through the door at 7-8 weeks old. People used to say (some unenlightened people still say …) that you can’t train a puppy till it’s 6 months old. Why? It’s simply that the type of training they’re thinking of - harsh, punishment-based training involving physical pain - would be too tough on a puppy.

Why use it on any dog??? It’s quite unnecessary, as you’ll see from any of the 130-odd articles on this site, not to mention the many books, the audiobooks, and my free - as well as paid - programs.

And if a training technique won't work for a toddler, then it likely won't work for a dog —Stanley Coren

Take a look at this post which goes into the whole subject in great detail. There are some academic resources listed there for those of you who want to dig deep!

The fact remains, if you can treat your dog with the same courtesy, kindness and respect that you give to any toddler, then you’ll get the results you want!

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

 

 

 

Well that was a great week of dog training!

Brilliant Family Dog’s Choice Training is the quickest way to build a rewarding relationship with your dog | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #dogbehavior, #dogimpulsecontrol | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

The 5 Day Workshop was roundly acclaimed a great success! People got results that astonished them. Things they’d been struggling with for months or years were resolved in just five intensive days. 

I love celebrating my students’ successes, so while my team and I are still working on the aftermath of the Workshop and welcoming new students into the two courses recommended,

From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog

and

From Challenging Dog to Brilliant Family Dog

… I thought I’d let the Workshoppers speak for themselves:

 

Thank you for caring, it is so genuine. I am looking forward to this course!

My 14 week old puppy loved this! He couldn’t take his eyes off me, plus he sat after every treat without being told.

Did two sessions already and his recalls outside improved. This is going to be a fabulous week!! Thank you so much!

Thanks for your kind approach; it’s so much nicer than harsh words or worse!

Thank you for making the course and emails so easy to follow!

So Meg (the world's most anxious Border Collie who we've only had for a few weeks), has been playing - yes real playing with tail wagging, playbows, and coming back for more! She's now exhausted and flat out after all the playing - looking very relaxed. I'm a convert.

You are so amazing. I’m so enjoying this training video - hugs from me and Rory

He's improved so much and isn't as reactive when out.

You put the tools in front of us and give us the confidence to experiment! I so appreciate your clarity!

Though I teach others and we do this practice every day with my own dogs, we are loving and benefiting from the group experience. Thank you so much for this, this is my first course like this. The course so far is great, even for a training professional!

She is much better on the lead since playing the focus game yeah

This is really revolutionary! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and by that helping a huge number of people be their best version of pet companion.

This course really works and not just for a week. I haven't used any verbal cues or hand signals while playing the game. Looking forward to tomorrow morning when we do the next unit.

It usually takes at least two calls to get him in reluctantly from the garden. Today after the focus game, adding the sit cue, I called him, he came racing in on first call and sat in front of me! It’s only day 4 …

You’re a godsend.

Molly has always been very responsive to training (she's a collie/springer cross) but OMG! What an eye-opener and what fun to actually see her thinking and working out what I want her to do! It's so different but she's so engaged with me - I think she’s really enjoying it. It's amazing!! I feel tickled pink!

So proud of how my little dog is progressing, thanks to what we are learning from Beverley, would never have thought it possible, but we’re steadily getting there!

Fantastic information delivered in a very easy to understand manner. I always pick up a great tip from you - Thanks!

It all makes so much sense. And we are seeing such changes in both dogs.

Just wanted to say thank you for the 5 day workshop, we have seen a really big difference in Maisie, she is a lot more calm and much more focused on her walks which means no pulling on the lead and she also seems much more content.

Thank you so much for the workshop. It's has been incredibly helpful and great fun and has finally tired her out!!!

Thank you so much. Your 5 day Workshop has been most enlightening, I have always taught my dogs using a soft voice and a gentle touch, but I must say your method this week has been an eye-opener, letting the dog work out what is required! Fantastic idea.

This week has been thoroughly enjoyable for both myself and Maisey,

Isn't it fabulous how focused they are on you?

It’s amazing how quickly they work it out x

We have learned so much from Beverley Courtney's Essential Skills for a Brilliant Family Dog and the Growly but Brilliant Family Dog books.

Love this training. Bonnie and I have learned so much in such a short time. Thank you Beverley.

Saw so much progress with the 5 day Workshop. Dogs and us calmer and enjoying each other so much more. Stress levels right down.

I love love LOVE that as a beginner it’s about just doing the exercises and letting the magic happen, whether with my creativity or my dog’s responses! THIS I can do!!

 A big thank you Beverley and team for a fantastic 5 day Workshop.

 

Lucy Walker closer.png

Basking in praise?

No, I’m not! I’m too busy helping the new students find everything they need and supplying them with their course notebooks …

 

But I can allow myself a pat on the back for helping more dogs round the world have a happier life with their devoted owners, and be better understood.

I’ll drink to that!

 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

  THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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How to make your puppy brilliant!

Got a new puppy! Wonderful! Now find out how to make your pup the best ever using only the kindest methods | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #puppycare, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

When Helen started in my free 5 Day Workshop in January, Mocha was a typical 13-week-old puppy - full of the joys of spring, easily excited, and much-loved.

She’s a “Cockerpoo” - a combination of excitable Mini Poodle (take my and Coco Poodle’s word for the excitability quotient!) and busybusybusy Cocker Spaniel. This crossbreed can throw up a lot of challenges which are hard for the unsuspecting novice dog-owner to handle.

They did so well in the short Workshop that Helen went on to join my full program From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog, where she and Mocha went from strength to strength.

Instead of the ups and downs of puppyhood, the total misunderstandings and regrets that I read in my inbox regularly, Helen went on an almost linear path upwards and onwards!

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

  • She discovered that instead of saying NOOOO

  • she just had to ask Mocha to do something she truly understood and which had a strong reward history.

  • She discovered that rewards can be all sorts of things, not only food.

  • She discovered that asking was much more effective and enjoyable than telling.

  • She didn’t expect miracles of her pup, who’d only been on the planet a matter of weeks,

  • And she regaled us with stories of their successes together - far beyond what the average young puppy can achieve!

Just two weeks into the Wild Puppy Course …

Here’s a report from Helen in Week 2 of the Wild Puppy course. What thrilled me about this is how Helen had completely grasped the concepts I want puppy-owners to understand, thereby enabling her to use the same processes in other situations.

“A few days ago I got very despondent as I had to drag my pup out for a walk. She completely ignored the treats (sausage!) and then she dragged me home. After reading some unrelated stories and comments on this group, I decided I was being unreasonable (she's only a puppy of 15 weeks) and maybe was stressed/frightened by the experience (hence ignoring sausage).

Since then... 

1. I've mentally re-named walks as "sniffs", which allows me to relax and let her control the pace, direction and focus.

2. We're playing lots more in the garden instead - doesn't she know it's  freezing? The loose leash step and treat game is a favourite.

3. Someone's become a bit of a mat star ... Today's mat test was giving my Mum the mat and puppy. It worked without me - Woohoo!

4. We seem to have cracked the new Rules of Tugging, after a month of "wrong" rules!

5. Mocha "got" the Magic hand game straightaway to leave stuff that isn’t for her. I'm now making my friends try it too.

6. I let her off lead yesterday to play with another (older) puppy and got her attention by using her name 3 times - she abandoned her playmate each time and raced to see what I wanted. 

So proud of us!

Sorry to prattle on, but I wanted you all to know how much your support has helped my relationship with my beautifully amazing puppy.”

And here’s what she had to say when Mocha was 20 weeks old. Notice how she spent time building the foundations before expecting miracles.

You can have a puppy who is well-behaved beyond his years, but still fun! Find out how to make your pup the best ever using only the kindest methods | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #puppycare, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

“Today I am so very, very, very proud of my pup and all our hard work ... why? Because today I managed to loose leash walk somewhere that wasn't the back garden. This is HUGE!

Prior to this she's been so excited when out, she refused to eat treats and pulled like a train on the way back home. We've worked so hard in the garden and near the car over the last 6 weeks, that I thought we should try to go a little further. So, I grabbed the cheese and aimed to walk up the road for a few metres. She totally got it and we were walking nicely for 20 minutes and have walked about 0.5km! I nearly ran out of cheese!!!

I'm a very proud mum right now - she's been given a chew to celebrate…”

 

A stunning recall from this puppy!

But I think the outstanding moment for me was when Helen showed us this video, also in Week 2 of the course - with her 15-week-old puppy! This young puppy recalled instantly, on one call, and hurtled away from a bunch of people and friendly dogs back to her owner.

Can your 15-week-old puppy do that? Can your 15-month-old dog do that? Can you imagine having that level of recall?

Well … you can! Watch out for when we’ll be starting a new free 5 Day Workshop for your Brilliant Family Dog

When I asked Helen if I could use her video and quotes she replied:

 “Absolutely! Share away! I hope someone else can be helped as much as we were.”

This generosity is typical of the kind of person who’s attracted to the Wild Puppy Course. I’m very proud of all my students

Mocha the puppy demonstrates her stunning recall

 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

How Lois perfected her lead-walking, fast

There's no need to be hauled about by your enthusiastic dog! Follow this proven step-by-step system and enjoy relaxed walks, your dog by your side | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #looseleashwalking | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Lois the Miniature Schnauzer was just one year old when she arrived in my free online Workshop in January with her owner Carol. She had some “growly issues” and Carol was hoping to improve life with her beloved puppy with some new skills.

They so enjoyed the Workshop that Carol went on to join an online course of mine to continue her progress. And progress she did!

Here’s what she posted just five weeks after starting the course:

Gold Star Day!

This afternoon Lois and I have been to the pub!! .... yes the PUB, on our OWN!! 

We only stayed 15 minutes, but it’s a start and I shall now do it once or twice each week with her.

She was impeccably behaved, straight down on her mat, where she stayed, chomping away on her rice bone - didn’t bother anyone.

I have never been in a pub by myself, always felt too uncomfortable. It’s great fun - she’s taking me places I would never have dreamt of going to alone, and I’ll continue with the short visits for as long as it takes. Short bus trip soon I think as well.

Lois Russell on mat on pub visit.pngThere's no need to be hauled about by your enthusiastic dog! Follow this proven step-by-step system and enjoy relaxed walks, your dog by your side | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #looseleashwalking | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Here’s a picture of Lois minding her own business on her mat on her very first pub visit! Matwork is an important part of the training I give, and this is one of the reasons it’s so popular.

I was delighted to see that Lois was now opening up a new world for Carol, one where she gave her owner the confidence to try new things, visit new places, enjoy companionship, safe in the knowledge that her dog could handle herself perfectly and not cause her embarrassment or anxiety.

Then Carol was back a couple of weeks later with this outstanding video of Loose Lead Walking in her town. She said, “Can’t believe the change in my dog - so proud of her!”

Notice the soft, loopy lead, and Lois’s frequent check-ins with Carol, complete with a sit when she pauses. Nicely done Lois!

One of the by-products of this improved relationship between owner and dog is that Lois’s reactivity is much diminished:

Our growly girl Lois is MUCH less growly now!! My theory is her impulse control is tons better, and also her focusing (on me) when we are out, plus we are BOTH much more relaxed.

Aaah!

And the icing on the cake for me was this post from Carol after she completed the course and thanked all her new friends in the group:

We’ve completely finished the course, and Lois is our neighbourhood star as her loose lead walking is absolutely spot on now.

Thank you Beverley and everyone for your continued support.

 

Want to know how Carol achieved all this, so quickly? Look out for our next free Live Workshop when we start on something exciting!

If you’re already a subscriber at Brilliant Family Dog, you’ll be hearing about it all direct. And if you’re not yet receiving my informative and quirky emails - well, you know what I think about that … you should come hang out with us!

 
 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

THIS E-COURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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Shouldn’t my dog come when I call him?

Teach your dog to come back on one call - every time - by changing the way you call her! | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Many people believe that dogs arrive with us with a perfect recall - fully operational.

How wrong can we be?!

People think that as their dog SHOULD listen to them and come when called, then he WILL.

So they sit astride their high horse of SHOULDs and OUGHT-TOs and watch their dog disappearing into the distance without even a flick of his ear.

We expect to spend years - many years - teaching our children what we want them to learn.

So why on earth do people think that they don’t need to TEACH their dog to come when called?

What actually happens is that your tiny new puppy arrives with what you THINK is a recall. But in fact it’s just his infant clinginess and need to stay “close to Mum”. He has an instinctive need to stay close to the mother-ship and be protected.

As time goes by, your pup gets BOLDER and more venturesome. As he moves into adolescence, he gets further and further away from you (and further and further into possible trouble) and you find that your previously-dependable recall is no longer there.

lab pup racing away.pngTeach your dog to come back on one call - every time - by changing the way you call her! | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Suddenly you have a “bad dog”, a “stubborn dog”, a dog who “never listens”, a dog who winds you up “on purpose”.

And this is the most common age when dogs are surrendered to a shelter for someone else to deal with. How tragic is that?

And if you’ve started with one of those dogs handed in to a shelter - who you’ve fallen in love with and have given a home to - then YOU have the task of undoing an awful lot of early learning from his puppyhood!

But it’s quite possible!

Even famously “deaf” breeds - who get on a scent and become totally immersed in it, or who spot a tiny movement in the undergrowth in the distance and barrel after it at high speed (that would be my Cricket the Whippet!) can learn to pay attention to you and demonstrate a stunning, instant, fast, spin-on-a-sixpence, recall.

Imagine how life with your dog will change when you’re able to say his name quietly and he’s right there beside you?

Imagine how it will be when you see your dog disappearing after a rabbit and you can call, just the once, and have him hurtle back to you?

Teach your dog to come fast when you call - every time - by teaching her what you want! | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

You’ll be glad to know you never have to treat your dog any differently than you’d treat your small child! There’s never any need for nasty gadgets, tellings-off, yanking the collar, and so on

And I can show you lots of kind methods that really work.

Mark your calendar for June 10th!

I know it seems miles away, but it will come round in no time. I’ll have something for you that will transform your recalls FOR EVER!

AND it will transform your relationship with your dog, and your enjoyment of him. After all, that’s why you got your dog in the first place, isn’t it?

I look forward to seeing YOU on June 10th, ready to learn the mysteries of making your dog a brilliant family dog.

Meanwhile, check out my book with loads of games and ways to get on the road to getting that recall re-installed and fully functional.

 

Yet more answers for you in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

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Shouldn’t my dog come when I call him?

 

Your dog wasn’t born knowing this! You have to teach her

There's no need to be hauled about by your enthusiastic dog! Follow this proven step-by-step system and enjoy relaxed walks, your dog by your side | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #leaveit, #dogbehavior, #looseleashwalking | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I hear this so often:

  • “My dog pulls me all over the place on the lead”

  • “My dog criss-crosses in front of me so I trip”

  • “My dog has pulled me over in the road!”

  • “My dog is always ahead of/dragging behind me”

as if it’s the dog’s fault!

How can your dog comply with wishes that are never expressed?

How can he understand if you don’t explain to him?

How can he know what you want him to do if you never teach him!

It really is no use complaining to others what your dog does on a walk, if that’s what you allow him to do.

And if you don’t take active steps to change this, that’s what you’re doing. By “active steps” I don’t mean moaning and crying and yelling “get back” or “stop!” or “*$**&** dog!”

What I mean is a proper program of Loose Lead Walking. There are plenty of them about. Mine is here - Let’s Go! Enjoy companionable walks with your Brilliant Family Dog:

Students of From Wild Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog and From Challenging Dog to Brilliant Family Dog also get the benefit of this full program, along with step-by-step videos so they can get it right fast!

There are others, of course. And as long as you’re not using nasty gadgets, horrid collars, slip leads, retractable leads, tightening harnesses, tightening head collars - or any other aversive nasty, you should be ok.

And the system you choose needs to be proactive - that is to say you teach the dog what it is you want, rather than continually correct him for what you don’t want.

Continually punishing someone for doing something they had no idea was wrong is … WRONG! It’s also counter-productive. Your dog will think, “I’d rather have the sustained pain of choking into my collar than be told off the whole time and I don’t know why.”

Yes, that’s quite a lot of thought to impute to the humble dog. But I think you get the gist.

If you can teach your dog what you want and give him a choice in the matter, you’ll find things go much more smoothly! AND get the result you want. 

Not just walking nicely on the lead

And it’s not just Loose Lead Walking where you need to give your dog an inkling of what you want, not expect him somehow to divine your desires magically.

It applies to anything you’d like him to do - sleep in his bed and not yours, sit at the kerb before crossing the road, travel calmly and quietly in the car, greet visitors politely, leave your food alone on the kitchen worktop …

I’m not saying you have to do all those things - they’re just examples of what you may like to actually teach your dog, rather than expect him somehow to know.

And none of these things include yelling “Gerroff! Stop! LEAVE IT!”

Once you follow a proven program and teach your dog what you want, you have peace and harmony in the home. You can trust your dog to do what you would like him to do, and he can trust you not to tell him off for breaking secret rules.

You can ask him to do things, not command him. How often do you command your house-mate or spouse? “Make me a coffee. I said make me a coffee! Make it now!

Of course you don’t do that! You ask, politely, courteously, and ready to hear and respect the response you get. “I can’t right now, I’m in the bath,” doesn’t lead you to a meltdown, any more than “I can’t sit right now, there’s a dog staring at me over there,” should.

When it comes to it, we all want a peaceful and loving life with our dog - isn’t that why we got a dog in the first place?

Owning a dog is definitely a two-way street. You have to make sure your side of the street is open and has readily-understandable messages flowing down it. Then you’ll be able to hear your dog’s messages and come to an understanding with him.

“When the long line is on your harness you can wander about. When the short lead is connected, you walk beside me. Deal?”

Be sure you’re in conversation with your dog, not being a drill sergeant!

 

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

  THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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