So what does a Behaviourist actually do? Contrary to popular speculation I do not arrive with a sack of magic fairy dust and instantly fix all problems!
My Home Visits usually consist of the following:
When I arrive to conduct an assessment it is important that all is as normal. Ideally I need to see the entire home environment, not just your dog. Its surroundings and interactions within you household and its daily schedule are key clues to where a behaviour may be starting. I also need to hear from you - the owners - the story of your particular dog so as to better understand its history and situation. On the walk it is possible to observe how your dog reacts to the surrounding world and how your dog copes with, and reacts to the environment outside of the home. This also provides an opportunity to observe any possible physical or medical issues that may exist as well as to test for things that your dog may respond well to and therefore can be used in our training.
Analysis and Diagnosis
During this part of the process I consider all of the factors that have been identified during the Assessment and decide which factors, in my opinion, are a cause of the behaviour(s) that we wish to resolve. Once we have this diagnosis then we can move on to formulating a realistic strategy to redress the situation.
A Training Plan will depend on many things, the behaviours and identified reasons that they exist and also your dog and your lifestyle. One thing is sure no two situations are the same! Whilst certain common training is always a must the real work for your individual situation is far more likely to be unique combination of training and technique rather than off the peg. This can only be achieved from an accurate assessment, made in the real day to day environment of your dog and your lifestyle and yourself. If the training proposed does not suit you - or your lifestyle -it simply will not work.
After we have gone through the initial Assessment, Strategy Development and Training process for yourselves and your dog, ongoing support is crucial. By keeping in contact and discussing progress, I can suggest potential modifications to our Training Plan, or even alternative solutions if a long term change is proving difficult to maintain, further visits may potentially being required if only for clarification and demonstration purposes.