dog training without fear

Hooray for change for your dog! Discard the old labels

Reactive dog, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | It’s not the dog that has to change! Change your own mindset and change your dog!  | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog |

I just had the amazing experience of working with over a thousand people in my 5 Day online Workshop for Growly Dogs

And as ever, I learnt as much as my students did! Only perhaps in different ways. 

These were people who had got a dog in the hope of having a companion they could take anywhere - on country walks, visits to friends and cafes, perhaps as an agility star - and what they got was something very different.

They found themselves dealing with a dog who was naturally shy and fearful, or who had had bad learning experiences which coloured his reactions to anything new or different. These dogs continually perplexed their devoted owners, who were doing their best in trying circumstances.
So I was happy to be able to give them some practical advice, along with some thoughts on changing their mindset to help them.

What I learnt was that these people were selfless in their dedication to helping the dog that they got. Not perhaps the dog they had anticipated. But they set themselves to the task of helping this new person in their life with admirable tenacity, continually searching for better answers. And these better answers were what I aimed to give them!


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How will changing my mindset change my reactive dog?

For many, just changing how they thought of their dog made a huge difference in their dog’s behaviour! 

Crazy, eh? But true. 

If you continually refer to your dog as a rescue dog, a problem dog, a difficult dog, trouble, a nuisance, stubborn, you are giving yourself an excuse to fail.

Once you accept that this dog’s history is just that - history, and that he is now your dog, you have to take responsibility for the situation and make some change happen!

The renowned Veterinary Behaviourist Karen Overall says: 

“What we call something matters
because it shapes how we think of it.”

That is SO true! And it’s what many of the Workshoppers found! Changing how they described their dog changed their own perception - and produced some surprising results. 

I’d add to this my own saw:

What you expect is what you get

If you call your dog difficult, annoying, troublesome, a rescue .. You are expecting her to behave in that way. And guess what? She will. Once these students changed their way of seeing their dog, the dog miraculously improved!

Of course this goes for children, spouses and work colleagues too. We are very quick to attribute thoughts and motives to other people. Slow down and question that! And get rid of those labels!

How many of us grew up thinking we were “no good at maths” - or art, or music - because of the careless remark of a teacher in infant school? Perhaps we’ve spent our whole life believing an opinion made in a moment when we were 5 years old! Once we get a label we find it hard to see past it, whether it's on ourselves or someone or thing that we’ve labelled. 

And this applies to your dog just as much as to you. If you think you’re no good at maths because someone once said this, then saying “We can’t walk past another dog without an outburst” is going to result in … yes! an outburst, every time!

It’s not about the dog

Reactive dog, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | It’s not the dog that has to change! Change your own mindset and change your dog!  | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog |

So many of the students in the Workshop had positive results, and were proudly posting of their successes, that I realised that this is a big hole in the approach that many people take to dog training. 

They think it’s about making the dog change.

Whereas, in fact, it’s you that has to change!

The added bonus here is that as you remove the labels from your dog, you begin to see her in a new light. You start with a clean slate - just you and your dog. Now you can build that bond so that you know just where you are together - no doubts, no misgivings, no apologies, no blame.

Try it. 

Spend today blitzing your mind for those labels and removing them. Speak and think of your dog as … your dog. Think of the good things that she does, the moments of joy she gives you, and describe her as those instead. 

Expect only the best from her, and you’ll start to get it.





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Join our free 5 Day Video Mini-course

for making change with your shy, fearful, anxious, reactive, aggressive - Growly - dog

Remove the friction and both dog and owner are happier

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Who’d have thought the owner of a little dog like this wouldn’t be entirely happy with him?


Harry is a happy-go-lucky Jack Russell Terrier. His behaviour is pretty normal for a lively young dog.

But his owner finds some of the things he does a source of worry.


• She doesn’t know how to cope with him running round the garden barking at birds.

• She is driven mad by his standing six feet away from her ready to bolt when she calls him.

• And she’s fed up with him jumping up to steal food off the table.

So she called me in - to deal with “Harry’s problem behaviour”.

First address the dog's "problem behaviour"

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It was fairly simple to teach Harry some new things to do in the garden instead of barking at birds. (First stop is always to accompany the dog in the garden.) Having him enjoy running fast to his owner when called was a breeze. And sorting out the food-stealing didn’t take long.

No, I’m not a genius or a miracle-worker! There are some proven (scientifically proven) methods of reaching a dog’s mind that are powerful and quick.


What takes time, though, is reaching the dog-owner’s mind.

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And this is where the hard work came in! Working against a culture of “them and us” and “You’ll do it because I say so” is not so easy.


Second, address the owner's "problem behaviour"

Harry’s owner had to learn that it takes two to tango. Personal relationships are complex, and it’s never one-sided. 

So in order to change Harry’s behaviour, it was essential for her to change her own.


• The first thing to change was her expectations. A dog is a living being, with its own personality. It’s not a stuffed toy who never steps out of line or has an opinion.

• Next was to change her approach from barking out orders like a sergeant-major, and instead working with her dog to get the outcome she desired without conflict.

• She learnt to play interactive games with Harry which always involved choice and impulse control on Harry’s part.

And the hardest thing of all? 

• To switch her from NO to YES.

It would be “Harry NO,” “Harry STOP,” “Get down!”, “Get off!”, ‘HARRY!!”, etc, until Harry sat quietly in front of her, at which point she said … 


So Harry got lots of attention when he was doing something she didn’t like, and absolutely no attention at all when he did something she did like!


Once we’d fixed this final piece of the puzzle, life changed dramatically for both of them. 

Harry was able to carry on being a happy-go-lucky young terrier, but at last knew how to please his owner. 

She in her turn, learnt to give him great feedback, to appreciate his individuality, and to enjoy the companionship she craved when she first got her pup.


LATER: Harry’s owner wrote to say, “I do feel a lot of progress has been made over the time you have been visiting us - and even more than that, I feel now that I have the tools to train Harry to be the kind of dog we know he can be.” 


Want to get these kind of results for yourself and your dog?

Click here for all the details you need to decide just how much this course will help you and your dog!

and if you're starting out with a new puppy, this is the course specially for you and your fluffbundle!