Emma Phillips

Talk About Your Dog’s Problems!

For a number of reasons, the dog world can be a scary place to talk about your dog’s behavioural problems. It makes us vulnerable as owners, and for a lot of dog trainers or competitive sports owners our dog’s behaviour is attached to our self-worth. This means talking about our dog’s behavioural problems can make …

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Offering Choice

There’s a growing trend in the world of dog training to offer dogs choice. This can come in so many forms, from a sniffari where your dog gets to follow their nose and they generally get to pick the route of the walk as a result of that to offering consent during grooming and veterinary …

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Adjusting Training Plans

I don’t know about others in the dog world, but I personally can find it a struggle when an entire training or behaviour modification plan (for ease of writing I’ll be referring to both under the heading of ‘training plans’) need changing. However, it’s important to realise that it’s not a failure if you have …

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Today I Made A Mistake

Today I took Pumba to the vets. At the time of writing, we were in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic which meant that the vets had put measures in place to ensure that social distancing was adhered to throughout the appointment. The appointment wasn’t for anything major, Pumba’s cytopoint injection, which occurs roughly every …

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The Danger of Assumptions

It’s really easy to make assumptions when it comes to dogs. These are usually pretty innocent and undamaging, but sometimes it’s worth looking at the assumptions we make and trying to stop the assumptions. Assumptions can be damaging in relationships, if I assume a certain level of knowledge of a client and they have no …

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Do you have the same expectations for your dog’s behaviour as your own behaviour?

Often, the expectations that clients come to trainers with don’t match anywhere near the level of their expectations for their own behaviour. Is it fair to hold our dogs to standards where we couldn’t even meet those standards ourselves?  Let’s take self-control as an example. Consider your own self-control, that last diet you did, how did …

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Behaviour Has A Function

All behaviour in every animal (humans included!) serves a function. When we’re trying to change behaviour, it’s important to acknowledge the function of the original behaviour and try to replicate it as much as possible. For example, if your dog jumps up on people when they come to visit, it’s likely that the function of …

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Use of Punishment

This is going to be controversial, I’m okay with that. Punishment in the world of training is defined as anything that reduces the intensity or frequency of a behaviour. Putting this in context, if your dog is barking at a dog walking past the window, and you happened to sneeze at the same time. The …

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Practice Makes Perfect

Dog training is a physical skill, like learning to drive and it takes time to get used to this. We all go through the stages of learning skills; unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetent, conscious competence, unconscious competence. For dog trainers who have been teaching behaviours for years, we tend to lie in the unconsciously competent stage …

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