Don’t be bamboozled by a dog trainer!

Learning to be your dog’s advocate is something Brilliant Family Dog is very hot on! Your dog needs you to protect him from those who like to hurt dogs to get their way. You can follow your gut feeling and choose kind training for your dog which is effective and permanent! | VIDEO COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog, #aggressivedog, #positivedogtraining |

I aim to build confidence in dogs.

But first I have to build confidence in their owners!

So I have a cautionary tale for you this week, which I hope will massively boost your ability to be your dog’s advocate and say NO! when people tell you to do something which doesn’t sit well with you.

Dottie told me an awful story. Her young dog Toby was being a bit of a handful - reactive to other dogs - so she went to a local dog trainer for help. This trainer got Dottie to join a gang of strange dogs in a “pack walk”. She equipped her with a slip lead (that tightens without limits) showed her how to yank the lead if Toby pulled, told her other ways to physically “correct” him, and despite her protests and many misgivings, they set out on the walk.

Well, after three hours (3 hours!!) walking, the results were plain to see. Dottie showed me photos which appalled me. Toby’s neck was swollen so much that it looked as though he had a goitre. His feet were sore and bleeding, and he limped pitifully, hopping from one painful paw to another.

Not only was he physically injured, but unsurprisingly, his reactivity had got far, far worse.

What I couldn’t see in the photos, but could clearly hear, was Dottie’s anguish and guilt at what had happened.

When she confronted the “trainer” with these injuries, she was told “Don’t worry, this is normal and will go down after a few days.”

Can you imagine collecting your child from playschool, finding swellings, cuts, and bleeding, and being told “Don’t worry, this is normal and will go down after a few days.”? The mind boggles.

And can you imagine how Dottie felt? Can you imagine how you would feel? She even considered having her little dog put down as she was clearly such a failure that he was now not just reactive but aggressive with it.

We can all learn from this horrible event.

How can I know what trainer is good?

Learning to be your dog’s advocate is something Brilliant Family Dog is very hot on! Your dog needs you to protect him from those who like to hurt dogs to get their way. You can follow your gut feeling and choose kind training for your dog which is effective and permanent! | VIDEO COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog, #aggressivedog, #positivedogtraining |

I can understand just how it happened. This trainer advertises her services locally, Dottie applied to her, and she came across as knowing what she was talking about. She clearly fast-talked Dottie into agreeing with the plan she put forward.

She sounded so authoritative! So plausible!

So Dottie quelled her inner voice which was saying, “Is this really right?” and went along with the plans. She went against her better judgment because she was bamboozled by the apparent knowledge and experience of this person - as well as the trainer’s assurances that she loves dogs.

So what could Dottie have done to avoid this catastrophe?

1. Ask questions! Your questions may include “What are your qualifications?” “What do you do if a dog tries to bite you?” “Can I come and watch a session first without my dog?” “What do you think of electric shock collars?”

2. Check up on them! In the UK, force-free trainers should have at least one of the following sets of alphabet after their name: APDT, ABTC, APBC, IMDT, CBATI. In other countries, look out for CBATI, KPA-CTP, Victoria Stilwell, PPG for referrals.

3. Listen to that inner voice! If you’re being told to do something you don’t like the sound of, ask yourself “Would I do this to a baby? Would I do this to my toddler?” If you wouldn’t do it to a child, then there’s no way you should do it to a dog.

4. Be your dog’s advocate! You are the only one he’s got - he puts his trust in you to keep him safe. Be sure to honour that trust.

Here at Brilliant Family Dog you will never be asked to go against your inner voice, your integrity. So you’re quite safe here!

I’m not for one moment blaming Dottie. She has blamed herself quite enough already, and blame and shame are a fruitless endeavour. We can only resolve the past by moving resolutely forward. She has moved on (she found me!) and has got such amazing results with young Toby now that she has said she won’t be looking for another trainer or training method. She is utterly convinced that force-free - and specifically Choice Training - is the way to go.

How can we help other novice dog-owners?

So, even if you don’t need a dog-trainer right now, how about looking at the dog trainers that are in your area? Have a look at their websites and read between the lines! Red-flag phrases would include “balanced training,” “alpha rolls,” “leadership,” “pack,” “pack leader,” “pinch collar,” “e-collar,” (they call electric shock collars “e-collars” to make them sound innocuous, like an e-book) “positive punishment,” “rattle bottles,” “spray collar.” All these words translate to “KEEP AWAY!”

You may be surprised to find that it’s hard to find a trainer who doesn’t espouse these outdated and scientifically discredited attitudes. But being forearmed you may be able to steer a hapless dog-owner away from them.

And believe it or not, you don’t actually need to go to classes to effect enormous change with your dog. Dottie started the change by reading some of my books, then attending one of my free workshops. Used well, the internet is a wonderful place!

So have you checked out one of my amazing courses yet? Video, the spoken and the written word, combine to give you everything you need to know. And you get support and extra coaching too. That’s why students get such great results, and say things like this, from Lisa:

“We had tried lots of different training in the past with very little result, so for my dog to have come along so far in just a few months is really wonderful. This training definitely works! I am now a convert for life and will no longer search for other training. Beverley and her team are definitely the best!”

Click on Courses at the top of this page and have a look. And if you want to be the first to know when the Growly Dog course is next in open enrolment, leave your name here and we’ll be in touch.


Results from the Growly Workshop

Do we have to punish dogs to get what we want? Absolutely not! The reverse is true. Reward what you like and your dog will learn much faster | 5 DAY WORKSHOP | #growlydog, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog, #ecollar, #shockcollar, #prongcollar |

Well . . . even I am amazed by the results the Workshoppers got from my free 5 Day Live Workshop for your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog

People with anxious dogs, shy dogs, reactive dogs. People who could not understand why their dog - who is so lovely at home - looks like a sabre-toothed tiger when out.

  • We had puppies stopping biting.

  • We had dogs walking nicely on the lead.

  • We had dogs passing other dogs without a meltdown.

  • We had dogs coming when called!

All within five action-packed days!

Carol bubbled with pleasure: “I am so happy, and so are my 4-leggeds! Thank you for this Beverley Courtney!”

Sally was amazed at how her very shy and timid Misty got on.

“We can not believe what this has done for our anxious girl. A safe place. A focus. A place where she knows she's doing the right thing. First time at the pub tonight. We had people gasping in amazement as she dived on the mat after a little explore then stayed there. Best thing ever.”

Andrea was bowled over with such quick results which her whole family could enjoy:

“I’m already seeing results with him learning to transfer the skills he has learned from this course into his walks. Thanks for a fantastic learning opportunity for our family!”

And this is what Cath said:

“Brilliant video lesson and fantastic course. Ben and Duke really enjoying it so far and I am loving seeing them having such fun. Thank you!”

Not just dogs!

I’m used to hearing about positive change for the dogs in the Workshop, and for their harassed and baffled owners. But I think this evidence from Caitlin is a first!

“I’m amazed by the change already, thank you so much for this Workshop and the advice this week. I had my blood pressure taken today and it had also greatly improved so win win for all of us xx”

Tracie wrote, “Thank you Beverley for this free workshop. Lilly and I went for a walk this afternoon and she was A LOT calmer and so was I. I am looking forward to continuing lessons.”  And she’s now one of many who chose to carry on working with me in my advanced program.

Isn’t this what we all want? A calm life for us and our troubled dogs?

Hannah-Jade told us that Hank is now choosing to hang out with her more often rather than being aloof! “This is really helping our relationship.”

Real, deep, change

Natasha said one of the most moving things. She said,

“In just two days I’ve had a complete change of thinking in how I treat Oscar.”

For me, that makes everything worthwhile!

And Charlotte told us,

“This course has helped me fall back in love with my dog and given me hope for the future. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I can take the lead in his training rather than feeling I have to hand over my dog to someone else. Just this week I feel our bond has gone from strength to strength and I am really excited about the future.

Alfie is asleep while I write this and watch your sessions, instead of pacing about and obsessing over background noises thanks to the training sessions you have put in place for us.”

Wow! That’s some change!

Shannon simply wrote:

“Loving this course thank you so much: lifesaver!

Might it be a lifesaver for you too?

How to get these results for yourself and your dog

“Three tries and then she did it and walked outside calmly - I can’t believe it!!”  Kirsty

Want to know WHAT Kirsty tried? Here’s the Workshop! Even if you missed the live event you can still benefit from it now, and find out just what gave these folk such amazing transformations.

Growly Workshop! Enrol now!

Want to transform your growly dog in just 5 days? All without force?  | FREE LIVE WORKSHOP  | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

Exciting times! Our ever-popular Free Live 5 Day Workshop for your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog starts next week. People are already piling in and waiting excitedly for the private group to open in a few days’ time.

I, of course, think it’s the best thing since sliced bread:

  • It gives hope to people with no hope.

  • It shows people who have been told to do nasty things to their dog that they are right, and there is a better way.

  • It gets results!

  • It massively builds people’s confidence that they can do this!

  But why not let the Workshoppers speak for themselves?   

“Four days later and you simply wouldn't recognise Tia. She has changed positively beyond my dreams. Another day another success - can't believe the almost total positive change in both Tia and me. Never seen her so relaxed and responsive when we're walking.”

 “She is already much happier, more responsive AND is improving on her recall.”

“Such small changes with such amazing results!”

“We had a lovely walk, and I think I've overcome a huge hurdle. Now there's a big difference. It's made me more confident. This morning I did none of my usual distractions or avoidance of other dogs but just let things happen. I am so thrilled. Of course, I'm now wishing I'd known this years ago. My dog is just 7 and we've had such a stressful time. We are on our way to a much happier life together because when she's relaxed, I'm relaxed too, and we can have much more fun.” 

“Thank you so much for the training over the last few days, my little terrier George has had a calm week. The main thing is how you have made me and George think about things differently and make some fundamental changes.”  


You are not alone any more:


“I did not realise just how anxious my dog actually is. It’s also lovely to interact with others who experience similar problems.”


For some people, it was less barking:


“Hi Beverley, now on Day 4 of your free online course, thank you. Molly is super chilled and not barked at the neighbour, which she would normally do. Thank you for your expertise. I'm convinced.“

“Other dog lunging barking snarling. Lola and I turned and walked away. I was so proud of her - she never looked back pulled growled or barked, I am brimming with pride. A few months ago she would have been the other dog but not any more. Beverley thank you for all your wonderful advice and coaching.”


For some folk, it was at last stopping the pulling on the lead!


“Well we continued with the focus training and loose lead walking training after the fab workshop, and we have just had the BEST walk we have ever had in 4 and a half years!”

 “Four days into this Workshop, we are making great progress overall with her attention. Loving this hands-free approach. It has also set us up for some great loose leash walking! Thank you Beverley!” 

“ 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. This has helped my shoulders and back!”


Even professional trainers learn from the Workshop!


“Just love the first two days of your 5 Day Workshop. I am an Instructor and I have passed your details to one of my students.“


And, in general, people just LOVE the approach, which is a breath of fresh air for many of them:


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

“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.”

“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!!”

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


So get on over to Free Live 5 Day Workshop for your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog and mark your calendar for September 16th when we’ll be starting . . .

  •  Starting a new way to be with your anxious dog.

  • Starting a new way for you to think about your troubled companion.

  • Starting a new life for the both of you!

See you there!


What is your biggest problem with your dog?

What’s your biggest frustration with your dog? And do you think you’ll never be able to fix it? Come to our force-free, dog-friendly Live Workshop and find a new way to make the changes you want | FREE ONLINE WORKSHOP! | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

And what's your biggest frustration right now with training your dog?

You may be saying,

He barks at everything!


I can’t have visitors to the house any more

OR, maybe

I’d love to go for walks or holidays with friends, but my dog is so unpredictable … it wouldn’t be fair on them or their dogs.

I understand that so well!

I was like that for a long time, thinking nothing would ever work to change my dog. I thought I’d tried everything. But in fact I’d only seen the tip of the iceberg, the things people shout loudest about . . .

But now I’ve dug way deeper and learnt how to do it - all dog-friendly, no nastiness, no shouting, no nasty gadgets - and I’ve been able to help hundreds and hundreds of people like you - frustrated owners who love their dogs - to make big changes with their dogs and make their lives happier and so much more comfortable.

If I had something that could help you solve this problem, would you be interested in taking a look at it?

What would it be worth to you to have these problems solved?

What do you think it's costing you not to solve these problems?

  • Losing friends?

  • Spending money on expensive trainers?

  • or nasty gadgets?

  • No holidays? No kennels to take your dog?

  • Worst case: vet or doctor or legal bills?

Maybe you’re like Liz, who never really had the chance to talk to other dog-owners about her problems. She found it quite isolating having a growly dog!

Or maybe you can relate to Emma, who found that every time she visited the lessons she’d get a renewed sense of calm and her resolve would be strengthened.  

I felt like an outcast. All I could see around me was well-behaved dogs, and mine was like a Tasmanian devil on the lead! But this support is helping me to really focus on helping my little rescue dog, and things are starting to look better. He’s experiencing a calmer way of being outside. Thank you Beverley, you are amazing.”

And what about Stella? After the Workshop she dived straight into my full program, and said:

“Only one day in and already good things are happening! All sorts of realisations dawning on me! Thank you Beverley, really enjoying this journey.”

SO …

Mark your calendar for Monday September 16th, when you’ll find out just HOW I’ve helped so many people to change their lives with their dogs.

I’ll be hosting one of my celebrated Live 5 Day Workshops and it’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the methodologies used in my paid program - and you’ll get it all free!

Karla absolutely loved the Workshop, and she said,

“thank you for all you do to help as many dogs as possible.”

Do come and join us! There’ll be people from all round the world - and I would love to have the opportunity to show you a new way to cope with your difficult, reactive, aggressive - Growly - dog! so YOU can get the results that these folk have had!

See you on the 16th!


We’re not quite ready for you yet, but get onto our waiting list! and you’ll be the first to get all the details

… More news soon …



The Daily Dog Walk… Really? Do I Have To?

The Daily Dog Walk is a myth dreamt up by people who don’t understand how dogs tick | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #dogbehavior, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

This article was first published on and is reprinted here with permission


You’re feeling guilty about your dog. You look at him and he gazes back with those patient brown eyes that can see right into your heart. You feel guilty because you’ve been so rushed today that you didn’t fit in a morning walk, and now it’s pouring with rain and you can’t face it. But have another look at those gorgeous brown eyes: what’s your dog trying to tell you?

He’s saying that what he wants is some time with you – some action, yes, to use up his huge store of energy – but mainly it’s time enjoying life with you that he wants.

So don’t fret over missing a walk. Here’s something for you to hang on to:

Dogs do not need to be walked every day.


“You mean I don’t have to walk him every day, whatever the weather?”

That’s right.

And for some dogs – fearful, reactive, or old and creaky – that comes as a great relief!

For help with your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog, get our free email course here.

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What’s the walk for?

Imagine you are afraid of spiders. And every day your friend insists on taking you along a spider-strewn walk, your face brushing past bushes draped with webs and wriggly beasties, seeing them scamper across the path in front of you.

Are you going to enjoy those walks?

I think not.

And if you have a dog who reacts to every dog he sees by barking ferociously and lunging towards it – shouting at it to go away – then he’s not going to enjoy that overmuch.

And your shoulders and wrists probably won’t either!

So choose times and places to walk your fearful dog when he has a chance of enjoying the outing, not having a procession of other dogs marching towards him along the road, in other words.

Your old and creaky dog can tell you when he’d like to join you for a slow amble. Pick up the lead and see what he says. If he starts a juddery dance with his stiff old legs, and comes to get the lead put on, then off you go. But if he turns his head away, or stays resolutely on his bed – leave him be. Of course he needs some exercise to stay as well as he can be, and to keep his digestive system moving. But a gentle game in the garden may fit the bill.

Your fearful dog would benefit from some sessions with a force-free trainer who can build his confidence so he doesn’t need to shout with fear at new dogs or people.

Your old dog may appreciate a joint supplement to loosen up those old bones a bit.

My dog is young and active!

Fearful and old dogs are the special cases.

But if your dog is young and active and has energy to burn, then you can exercise his body and his mind in far better ways than tramping along a hard road on a lead.

The Daily Dog Walk is a myth dreamt up by people who don’t understand how dogs tick | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #dogbehavior, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

If you have a garden, however small, you can enjoy a fast and furious game with a ball or frisbee. Both of you will enjoy this, and both of you should be puffing by the end of it!

Your aim is for your dog to be panting with his sides heaving, his eyes sparkling. Your dog doesn’t play ball? Just start a running chase game with him – take turns at chasing and being chased.


Better yet - use his brain as well as his body.

Thinking – as we all know too well! – can be more tiring than doing. So see what rainy day fun you can have indoors.

Scent Games and Brain Games are great for this

  • Find the Lady

    using upturned beakers with a treat beneath one of them, for instance.

  • Hide and Seek

You can hide a favourite toy, one of the children, or yourself! Hiding may just involve rolling someone up in a duvet and letting your dog dig them out (protect faces from scraping claws). Or the family could scatter and hide under beds or in cupboards. This was always a favourite game with my children!

  • Practicing your superfast recall

Inject excitement into this game to get your dog’s speed up, calling him from one end of the house to the other – for a game or a treat.

  • Teach your dog to tidy up!

Show him how to put his toys back in his basket, or pick up his empty food bowl and pass it to you (for another treat to be dropped into it, of course!). He could even put it on the shelf in the cupboard, if it’s at the right height for him.

  • Have him fetch the mail,

or bring his lead when you’re going out, act as an alarm clock for the teenagers by leaping onto their beds and snuffling their sleeping faces!


These games are all so much more fun than clomping around a cold dark street!

Yes, your dog does need to go out and see and experience the world, and run free over field or beach.

He just doesn’t have to do it every day.

The Daily Dog Walk is a myth dreamt up by people who don’t understand how dogs tick | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #dogbehavior, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

And watch out for September 16th when something exciting is happening here at Brilliant Family Dog - you won’t want to miss it!



Lots more ideas here to help with your charming but growly dog with our free email course here.

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If only I could find people who understood

There’s no need to soldier on alone with your reactive dog! You can find friends from all over the world who understand and can help you in your journey | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #dogbehavior, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

The loneliness of the Growly Dog owner

It can be a lonely road, owning a Growly Dog.

That is, a dog who is anxious, reactive, or aggressive. A dog you’re never quite sure of. One minute he seems fine, and the next minute he’s on his hind legs shrieking blue murder at another dog … or a child on a scooter … or a plastic sack that shouldn’t be there.

For help with your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog, get our free email course here.

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It can be exhausting, coping with these outbursts, and perhaps wondering why, when you know what a lovely dog he is at home.

If only the people who are staring at you now, causing you to feel embarrassed and useless while your dog makes a holy show of you, could see what a charmer your dog really is, what a lovely companion at home, how well he plays with the children.

But you can find people who understand!

You’ve found one right here, in me! For I have travelled this road too, and I’ve run through all the same emotions as you do - on a daily basis.

There’s no need to soldier on alone with your reactive dog! You can find friends from all over the world who understand and can help you in your journey | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #dogbehavior, #anxiousdog, #overfriendlydog |

Life with my Growly Dog Lacy has been an adventure, a huge learning curve, and a joy. I’ve seen my reactive dog who would leap out threatening to grab passers-by, who would terrorise other dogs in the park, who would bark as if the world were ending at a knock at the door, turn into a reliable companion, a co-conspirator who travels through life with me, with such a deep understanding of how best to respond to the things that used to send her into a tailspin.

And now I’ve arrived at this happy state with my tricky dog, I want to help you with your tricky dog!

You may have seen already the large number of articles for Growly Dogs here on this site. There are also the Growly Dog Books, a free email course, aaaaaaand …. a major help for you, the Growly Dog owner, in From Growly Dog to Confident Dog, an extensive, far-reaching, program to take you from your present state of hiding behind bushes and dreading walks, to the confidence you will have when you understand just how your Growly Dog ticks, why he does what he does, and - most importantly! - how you can help him adjust to our strange world and enjoy life with you.

What you may not realise is that once you join From Growly Dog to Confident Dog you are automatically part of an active forum of your fellow-students, who report their successes, their not-so-successes, and their queries. And you also get continual coaching from me there.

This alone is a terrific help to people in their daily challenges “at the walkface”. To know that you have backup, cheerleaders, and the understanding that only another owner of a Growly Dog can really have.

For it is so, that no-one who has not had a reactive, anxious, worrypot of a dog, can truly understand and relate to those of us who are blessed with such a creature.

It’s what makes possible the changes that you’ll learn in the program. To learn how others are managing, and to know that you are amongst friends - that’s what sets this apart.

Maybe you’ve just found your home?

For help with your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog, get our free email course here.

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