growly dogs

Window barking and fence running

How to stop your dog barking all day at the window - all force-free and dog-friendly! | FREE WORKSHOP | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #dogbarking | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I can’t tell you how many owners of reactive dogs tell me their dog is a nightmare because he barks all day at the window.

“He barks at the window at everything he sees”

“He looks out of the window all day, if anyone comes past he barks and barks.”

“He spends his days attacking my front window as people pass by”

Or races up and down the garden barking at anything the other side of the fence.

He also fence fights with our neighbour’s dogs when they are out so that is a daily challenge”

“The biggest issue is that whenever our neighbours walk past our garden fence she goes on the defensive, jumping up the fence to try and get to them”

He will run the fence if allowed”

There are two problems here

1. The dog is driving the owner mad, so there’s disharmony in the house, frustration from both owner and dog, maybe wrecked furniture or lawn, worry about what the neighbours think.

and

2. The dog is continually wound up like a coiled spring. He’s getting no rest, and his cortisol levels (that’s the fight or flight thing) are continually elevated.

 

We all know how an overtired toddler is impossible to manage. Dogs are the exact same. This dog who spends his days on guard duty at the window, straining for any movement he can see, then leaping about scrabbling and barking at the window, is getting no rest. He’s getting tenser and tenser.

By the time you set out on your walk with him he’s already on his toes, on full alert! There’s little chance of escaping your outing without some kind of incident - barking and lunging at anything that moves, and going nuts on sight of a dog, or a bicycle, or whatever upsets your dog.

The dog who heads out to the garden for a quiet sniff about is not going to get that if he’s hurtling up and down the fence screaming at anything the other side.

I’d go so far as to say that you are going to have little impact on changing your walks to calm, quiet, and enjoyable, if you don’t first fix these problems at home.

So how on earth can I stop it?

Like most problems, it’s always best to prevent it even starting. But that’s with 20/20 hindsight! If you’ve already got this as an established problem, it’s no help to you to say don’t let it start!

But you can mostly certainly change it. For good.

Let’s start with the windows

You need to prevent your dog’s access to the windows that are causing the problem. Probably the front windows. So first stop is not to let him in that room unless you are with him to manage the situation. If you’ve got a tiny home, or an open-plan one, you may find baby gates help (baby gates are most definitely the dog-owner’s friend!).

Or move to Plan B. Which is to use window film! This wonderful invention will still allow light into your home, but present a fuzzy image to your dog. He can only see something really close up to the window, not out on the street. You can get all sorts of designs, and it’s really easy to apply - and just to whip off when you want (you won’t want: you’ll be so pleased with the calm it brings you’ll never want to take it off!).

And you don’t need to cover the whole window. Just the part your dog can see out of.

You may need to move your furniture about a bit, so he doesn’t have a handy perch!

So window-barking is now eliminated! Hooray. You’ll wonder how you ever stood it before. And you will see a distinct difference in your dog who is now getting something approaching the 17 hours (yes, seventeen hours) of sleep he should have every day for optimum health and lowered stress.

“But I don’t want to cover my windows!” Then unless you can keep your dog away from them another way, you will continue this mad barking and over-stimulation, which will prevent you making the important changes in your reactive dog’s behaviour out of doors! Your choice …

So what about fence-running?

Putting film on your fence is not going to work!

If you can, talk to your neighbours and arrange things so that you are all not driven mad. See what this resourceful student does to prevent these senseless and energy-sapping battles at the fence:

“My neighbour and I text each other for the all clear before letting them out!”

Those of you without such amenable and sensible neighbours will have to manage it all by yourself. Careful observation of your neighbour’s timetable will help.

 But in any case, you will always be out in the garden with your dog!

Join our FREE 5 Day Live Workshop and change walks with your reactive dog - all force-free and dog-friendly! | CLICK TO SIGN UP | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #dogbehavior, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

If necessary, you could have her on lead. It’s essential to teach your dog a new way of being in the garden. You’ll find simple counterconditioning very helpful. You just post treats into your dog’s mouth whenever there’s something over the fence that worries her. This way you’ll change her emotional response to the frightening thing.

You may have to start this from inside the house! Wherever your dog is calm enough to take treats will get you started.  

No more barking and screaming!

These problems are very simply solved. Note I didn’t say “easily”. It takes application and observation. But the solutions are simple and straightforward.

All it needs is a little effort on your part, and the deafening noises, frantic behaviour, and over-arousal, will all be a thing of the past.

Come and see what else the thousands of folk are learning at this week’s free online Workshop!

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and you’ll get all the info and be able to join in the fun!

Can you help my Reactive dog?

Yes, there is a way to change your reactive dog and enjoy walks again - all force-free and dog-friendly | FREE 5 DAY ONLINE WORKSHOP |  #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

This is a question I get all the time!

You get a dog for your life and for your family because of all the pleasure it’s going to bring you.

You’ll be able to care for another creature, teach her and nurture her. You’ll be able to go for long tramps across hill and dale, enjoy a coffee at your local cafe, with friends. You’ll be proud to show off your dog to visitors to your home, and go for group walks with others and their pets in the park.

NOT.

It just didn’t work out that way for you.

Your dog is difficult. She barks at all comers. She shows her teeth to other dogs. You daren’t let her off the lead for fear of what may happen. And as for sitting quietly in a coffee shop or enjoying family visiting your home … that seems a pipe-dream.

And naturally you are grieving for the loss of your dog. The dog you thought you were getting.

I get that. I really do.

But all is not lost!

You really can enjoy many of those things. But you have to change a few things first.

 You think I mean you have to change your dog, don’t you!

Train him to within an inch of his life. Stop him pulling on the lead. Force him to change his attitude to other dogs, bikes, joggers, visitors …

But no, I don’t mean that.

What you have to do is change what you’re thinking! Yes, really! It’s not about teaching your dog a different way to be. It’s about looking at a different way YOU can be. A better way to reach your dog’s mind and make the changes you so devoutly desire.

Many people come to me in a state of near-despair. They think it’s all their dog’s fault. Or they think it’s all their fault.

Can you imagine the relief when they find that it’s neither their dog’s fault NOR their fault?

And the flood of relief they get when they find how easy it can be to change things - once they make the changes to their own thoughts first!

Results

I absolutely love it when I get emails like this one:

“Zoe is so much better in every way – much calmer, gaining confidence, more trusting of life. Thank you Beverley, for being there, and for all you do.”

Or how about this one?

“These training sessions with you really have been invaluable and Romy’s really benefitted so thank you very, very much from the three of us.”

 Or even this:

“The best thing that has come out of this program is that our relationship has just grown and grown – we both trust each other and look out for each other.”

I am touched that I have been able to help these good people and their equally good dogs!

And their results came mainly from how those owners changed their own thoughts and feelings about the whole “reactive dog” thing.

What to do next?

So, in an effort to reach more of you, and to help transform the lives of even more dogs and their people, I’m running a 5 Day Live Workshop specially for Growly Dogs (that’s shy, anxious, reactive, or aggressive, dogs) - entirely free.

I’d love you to come along and start on your own new journey with your much-loved dog.

Click here to find out just what you’ll get and how to sign up!

Yes, there is a way to change your reactive dog and enjoy walks again - all force-free and dog-friendly | FREE 5 DAY ONLINE WORKSHOP |  #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

“I was feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, stressed and isolated. I felt like a failure because I did not know how to help my reactive dog ..... and then, one fine day, I found Beverley Courtney.”

 

This could be your story too!

 

Reactive dog? Anxious dog? Aggressive dog? Calling all Growly Dog owners!

Great excitement here at Brilliant Family Dog HQ! We’re getting ready to host the first Growly Workshop of 2019. Click here for details and to sign up, free.

Brilliant Family Dog is becoming known for the free 5 Day Workshops we run. They are hugely rewarding - both for the students who work along for the week and for me watching their fast and genuine progress.

People who had almost given up hope of finding a way forward with their difficult dog find a home with us. A nurturing, friendly, supportive home. They are amazed - not only to find they are no longer alone - but to feel the warmth of hundreds of others who are in the same boat with their dog!

Transformation stories abound:

“Love your workshop! Looking forward to tonight’s live training.You should be so proud of yourself taking the time to help and guide us -  thank you from me and Barney xx” SS

“Beverley you are a marvelous teacher and trainer and writer!!! Way to go! You make it easy to understand so I can follow your directions.  Thank you so much.” SH

“Just want to thank you for giving your time freely for the five day course, I found it very interesting and informative. I did not realise just how anxious my dog actually is. It is also lovely to interact with others who experience similar problems.” JC

“Hello! I just wanted to say thank you so much for the course that I did. I thought you might like an update! My working lab is now eleven months old and from pulling like a steam engine he is now walking beautifully” SO

“Thank you Beverley for your generosity and time over the workshop. I look forward to continuing along this path with you!” AG

“Lulu is taking things slowly but already I have seen a difference. Went for a walk on Sunday with friends and their dogs and she behaved better than any of the others!” PM

 

How about you and your dog?

Join our FREE 5 Day Live Workshop and make huge changes with your reactive or anxious dog - all force-free and dog-friendly! | CLICK TO SIGN UP | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #dogbehavior, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

 Will you be with us?

As you can see, in just five days you can get a huge boost forward in your journey with your dog. I’d love to reach as many dogs as possible, to change their lives and the lives of their bewildered but devoted owners. That means I need you to spread the word!

Go and sign up straight away and see what you get (there’s a new surprise gift for everyone who joins! Don’t you love surprises?).

But don’t just bring yourself - bring a friend too. Another dogwalker who struggles with their dog. Or someone who tells you they can no longer walk their dog at all because they’re too ashamed and embarrassed.

So if you want to enjoy walks with your dog - to beaches, forests, fields, parks, cafes; to have visitors in your home again for the first time in years; and to simply accept your dog for who she is and KNOW how best to help her enjoy life too, come and join us now.

 

I’ll close with a moving note from a previous workshopper:  

“There are no words for how grateful I am for the start Beverley has given me.” VB

 

Here you go - this is where you can join us all, free: www.brilliantfamilydog.com/5-day-growly-workshop-march-2019

 

 

I have a difficult dog - How can I get a break?

Lacy barking in the field.png

If there’s one thing Growly Dog owners know - it’s that sometimes you just need a break!

However much you love your gorgeous darling reactive dog, it has the potential to become wearing. You don’t want your dog to become a burden! So taking a break, whether for work or pleasure, can let you see how the other half lives while reinforcing your good feelings for your dog - Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that.

A change can also be a good thing, so holidaying with your pet is way up there on the to-do list for many reactive dog-owners. And it may not be as difficult as you think!

How to get a holiday at all

As I have four dogs, holidays in hotels and b&b’s - though possible in theory - really were not fun. All this changed when I got a campervan and I’m now able to swan off with my dogs to all sorts of interesting places - beaches, forests, fields, moors - and enjoy the trip thoroughly.

No campervan? You can rent one!

There are also many places - certainly in the UK - where you can rent a holiday cottage in the depths of the countryside, and dogs are welcome. They often have a well-fenced garden and ready access to walking country, though you’d need to check that first. For me that’s definitely the second-best thing to the van (well, first-best thing in the depths of winter!), and I’ve been introduced to some great new places to explore that way.

So holidaying with your dog, even a very reactive one, is definitely possible. And I know that lots of people set off with some misgivings, only to find that the whole family has a wonderful stress-free time - including, sometimes much to their surprise, their dog!

What about when I can’t take my reactive dog?

But what happens if you can’t take your dog with you and you have to travel? This was me recently, with a business trip. I was fortunate in that I know an amazing place where dogs - especially reactive dogs - are not just welcome, but thoroughly catered for and pampered. It’s not near me - I have to travel two hours to get there - but is it worth it? Heck, yes!

The comfort I get from knowing my precious dogs are in safe hands, with someone who absolutely understands their needs, their individuality, their fears, is priceless. And, of course, this 5* treatment is not cheap. But how much value do you put on your dog’s safety and your own peace of mind?

Now I know a safe place for them, I need have no qualms about future trips away from them.

Previously I would only be away for a day. Then I’d get a carefully-chosen dog minder to visit them two or three times in the day. I didn’t want them walked, just given a break, let out, and played with. This works very well for me, but is limited to just the one day - and a minder who they’ve met and “approved”!

“My dog is such a tie”

So don’t let the fact that your dog does not strew rose petals and rainbows wherever she goes prevent you from taking a holiday - with or without her.

The time to do your research is now, not five minutes before you want to go. You’ll have time to seek advice, check out the places, and carefully get to know the person who will be caring for your dogs.

You’ll have some searching questions if you’re leaving your dog with someone else, and you need to get those questions answered thoroughly. In the case of the place my dogs stayed at, several visits beforehand are a part of the package, so your dog isn’t dumped in a strange place with strangers, and so that you can check out the carer and the premises.

You can see the bond they developed with Clair in this video of the welcome they gave me on my return. They kept running back to her (with the camera) to tell her the exciting news! This is one of many videos and photos sent to me, most while I was away.

 

Were You Always Good at Something? I Was Always Good With Dogs

Dog training, new puppy, puppy training, dog behavior | If you’re great with dogs, maybe you should consider studying and making dogs your career? | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

As a child I felt our family dog was my special friend. Only he understood me. Unquestioning, even when I did some beastly seven-year-old things to him, Simon gave me devotion and fun and companionship. I played at “showjumping” with him in the garden, over homemade jumps - many years before the great sport of Dog Agility was introduced. He went everywhere with me, on all my “explores”. He comforted me when I was down, and made everything more fun.

As I grew up, with the limited choices of a dependent teenager and young adult - i.e. school and bedsits, I missed contact with dogs. Until the happy moment when I graduated, left employment and started working for myself. 

My very first day of freedom was spent at London’s Battersea Dogs Home, sizing up possible soulmates.

And I found one! 

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Poppy was perfect. She was around three months old, thin, quiet but curious, and I instantly loved her. The day she became available for rehoming I was sitting on the cold London pavement at 6 a.m., waiting for the doors to open. I was three hours early, but I was at the front of the queue: no-one was going to get in before me and take my pup! 

As soon as we were let in, I raced to the area where “my” puppy was, and claimed her. She cost £9.50, including the collar and lead. After a few formalities I was out on that pavement again, this time carrying my precious new friend.

New Fun, a New Life!

That day marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Poppy came with me almost everywhere. She was sweet and friendly and popular. And it was her bright responsiveness that got her picked up by a talent scout for a local dog training club.

We joined a new world where dogs were regarded as important - a necessity - and accorded attention, respect, and understanding. 

Little Poppy clears the 9 foot long jump with ease at a competition.

Little Poppy clears the 9 foot long jump with ease at a competition.

Competing with Poppy in Agility, Obedience, and Working Trials was rewarding and - importantly - fun! We did well and won frequently. One judge wrote of Poppy, Flower of Battersea: “Such grace and elegance from humble beginnings as shown by her name.” She went on from those humble beginnings to qualify as a Champion, with yards of alphabet after that name. My little shelter pup became W.T.Ch. Flower of Battersea, C.D.Ex, U.D.Ex, W.D.Ex, T.D.Ex. She had more letters after her name than I did!

A proud win with my little waif and stray!

A proud win with my little waif and stray!

I was bitten by the dog-training bug - good-o! Poppy became the first of many dogs who I loved, lived with, and competed with. Down the years I’ve always had three or four dogs at a time - usually of varying breeds or types (I love exploring how different breeds think and function), so I have the daily stimulation of working with a multi-dog household of very different characters and breeds.

And it was the curiosity engendered by those differences that got me further and further into dog training until I qualified as a professional trainer myself. It was not something I had aspired to. But I found that people would ask me about all things dog-related, and that I actually knew more than they did! 

If I could help their dog, then I could help other dogs too. And it is changing the lot of dogs and how people interact with them that is my aim.

Our knowledge of how dogs learn has improved so dramatically over the years that I’m happy to say the more confrontational methods used in my early days are now totally discarded. Force-free training is the way to go - it is proven to work, with children and people, as well as with dogs!

More Dogs and Puppies!

I started with family-based puppy classes. Then people wanted help with their older dogs. They wanted to learn how to teach their dog tricks. So my school grew and started to spread online. 

One of my biggest jumps forward was when I acquired a dog who turned out to be fearful, suspicious, reactive - “growly”. To learn how to help her best fit into our world I had to do a lot more specialist study and take more exams. Finding how well this worked for her meant that I am now able to help other much-loved but growly dogs and their distraught owners. 

Working with puppies on the one hand, and difficult dogs on the other, gives me insights into how to give the puppies the best chance of not joining the problem dogs and becoming difficult themselves as they grow up. (No, I’m not shooting myself in the professional foot here! Sadly the flow of growly and fearful dogs is unabated.)

It’s immensely fulfilling work, and so rewarding when people write to me later - sometimes years later - to tell me how their lives have been enriched. 

This help for local dogs and puppies has now spread from www.goodfordogs.co.uk - my dog training school in Worcestershire - to here on www.brilliantfamilydog.com where I’m able to reach people from all over the world. One of the joys of doing Live Training Sessions, for instance, is to be able to greet people who are introducing themselves from all over the world.

My online course From Growly Dog to Confident Dog gives me the opportunity to work with people from different parts of the world. We’re all much the same really: we love our dogs and want to make their lives better. 

Publishing a series of books has also brought me to a new audience, and my inbox is regularly filled with appreciative emails, and questions from people who are convinced I have all the answers! I do my very best to give them a response which will help with their most pressing problem straight away.

If Simon is on a cloud looking down on me, I hope he’ll feel proud of what he started!

What Were You Always Good At?

My story is yet another case of someone turning their passion into their livelihood. We get to a stage in our lives where what’s really important stands out clearly. 

Not doing it becomes more difficult than doing it. 

And if you do it well - with passion and conviction - the people will come. 

 

 

Beverley Courtney

BA (Hons), CBATI, CAP2, MAPDT, PPG, ABTC Registered Animal Trainer 

Author of the Brilliant Family Dog series of books