Welcome to dogs in translation
My name is Lucy Parkes and here you will find the culmination of my experiences and knowledge as a Highly Recommended Dog Listener and Trainer based in the fine county of Norfolk, UK. After training with the World famous Dog Listener Jan Fennell, eleven years ago, I have worked with hundreds of dogs in Norwich, Norfolk and the surrounding counties and have helped to resolve problem behaviour, ranging from excessive pulling on the lead and general lack of cooperation through to aggression towards other dogs and aggression towards people, separation anxiety and other serious behavioural issues.
Often, one of the first things that people say to me when I speak to them, is – “I’ve had dogs all my life but I’ve never had one like this!” I work almost exclusively with ‘dogs like this’ and ten years of working with them has given me a real insight into how these dog’s perceive our world and their place within it. They really are a bit different from the average dog and require a deeper understanding and a more specialised approach to help them live fulfilling and happy lives. And of course, as all dog owners know, a happy dog makes a happy family!
Through my blog posts I hope to share with you some of my experiences as a Dog Listener and Trainer and to provide you with the information that will empower you – as a responsible and caring dog owner – to build a relationship with your dog, that is based on trust, respect and cooperation.
Are you having problems with your best friend?
Is he refusing to play ball?
There are no ‘problem’ dogs, there are dog’s with problems . . .
Some dog’s have some very big problems but there’s NO problem too big for me to help you with, as long as, together, we can create the right environment for your dog to thrive in!
Call now for a FREE initial consultation. I’ll ask you some questions and explain to you why your dog is behaving in an undesirable manner, and most importantly –
How I can help you, to help him/her!
For less serious behavioural issues I may be able to advise you over the phone.
Sometimes all it takes is a ‘tweak’ to what you are already doing and things can fall into place!
If however your dog is exhibiting any of the more significant behavioural issues listed below, it is likely that I will recommend a one-to-one consultation where I come and work with you, your dog/s and any other family members, in your home, and initiate a process that you then continue to implement. I effectively get things going in the right direction and it’s rare for us not to see a positive shift and change in the dog’s behaviour on the day.
Significant behavioural issues requiring a one-to-one consultation –
- Aggressive response towards other dogs, owners, other people, traffic or anything else.
- Separation distress (anxiety)
- Extreme lack of cooperation – poor recall, excessive pulling on the lead, hunting.
- Over-excitability (over-stimulation)
- Eating disorders – fussy eaters, refusing to eat or constantly obsessed with the search for food
- Self-harming – paw/tail/leg chewing, obsessive licking/cleaning
- Obsessive/compulsive behaviours – tail chasing, fixations, boundary running, resource guarding
- Excessive fear response to thunder, fireworks or any other stimulus.
I share with you how to become an inspirational leader (parent, provider, protector) to your dog. This is what underpins a successful relationship and forms the foundations for a calm, well-balanced and cooperative relationship.
. . . and it’s not about domination, punishment, coercion, bribery, distraction or excessive training – it’s all about building a relationship of mutual trust, respect and cooperation. If your dog trusts and respects you she will choose to cooperate with you to the best of her ability. If you lead by example and calmly and gently show your dog what you would like from her, in any given situation, you find that – over-time – she adopts this new way of being as her own.
Our dog’s do not want to be in conflict with us or each other! Given the choice – the right information – and managed in the correct way, the very vast majority of dog’s are happy to relinquish control and accept our guidance and support. As pack animals it’s in their nature to do so.
. . . and I don’t leave you alone to cope with the inevitable ups and downs in your journey to canine harmony. After the initial consultation I support you every step of the way, as often as you need it, via telephone and email and this is included in the initial payment.
Please feel free to call me now to discuss options on how to proceed and for a Home Visit quotation – 01603 881626 or 07951 328163
Understanding, communication and cooperation
The first step to resolving undesirable behaviour in your dog, is to understand what it is that your dog is trying to achieve. What is his motivation? Understanding the world from your dog’s perspective is essential for the effective long-term resolution of problem behaviour. It’s not just about dog training.
Dog training can form an important part of your dog’s education but by far the most important consideration is how you LIVE with your dog. Your daily interactions with your dog shape his personality – his responses, emotions and capabilities. Whether he’s a puppy or an older dog from another home, or a rescue centre, you shape his perceptions and reactions to the world around him – either consciously or unconsciously – through what you expose him to and what you do and how you do it!
When we are consciously shaping our dog’s behaviour, we can help him to feel safe and secure at all times. Whether we are at home or out in the wider-world, we can encourage our dogs to look to us and trust our decisions about – and responses to – the things that we encounter. Other dogs, people, traffic, loud noises and other challenging stimulus, can all be managed calmly and effectively leading to the respect and cooperation that we all desire!
When we are unconsciously shaping our dog’s behaviour, it’s all to easy to inadvertently, nurture insecurity and fear, and condition our dogs to respond in an undesirable way to the world around them! Many of the behavioural problems that dog owners experience with their dogs, can be swiftly resolved, when we become more conscious of just how we shape our dogs!
Living with dogs can be an absolute joy or a complete nightmare and how we LIVE with them makes all the difference! Some of you will have dogs who pull badly on the lead! Some of you will have dogs who are showing aggression towards other dogs and/or people! And some of you will have dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety! All of these problems, and more, are the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding and can be resolved once you understand the world from your dog’s perspective and begin the process of calmly and consistently communicating to your dog that all is well and that he can trust you with pack safety!
What does your dog believe he is doing and why is he doing it?
A dog’s behaviour is often symbolic, they use ritualised behaviour to convey information to each other – and us! If we don’t understand what a dog’s behaviour really signifies – and it is very easy for us to misinterpret as we tend to anthropomorphise (humanise) – we are likely to misunderstand and miscommunicate. The result can be problem behaviour –
- General lack of cooperation
- Pulling on the lead and poor recall
- Obsessive and compulsive behaviour *
- Separation anxiety
- Excessive barking
- Problems around food
- Anxiety, fear and stress
- Aggressive behaviour **
* This can include – tail-chasing, biting and chewing paws and excessive self-grooming. Obsessive licking of objects and/or people. Constant pacing in the house and/or garden. Fixating on objects or people. Coprophagia (eating faeces).
** Aggression towards other dogs, is the number one behavioural problem that we are asked to help people with.
To find out how you can considerably reduce the risk of a puppy developing this – and any of the other issues mentioned above please click here Without understanding why a behavioural problem is occurring we are forced to treat the symptoms; gadgets and gizmos, obedience training, excessive exercising and the use of force, are all attempts to make your dog behave in a certain way – and very often they cause your dog more stress in the process!
Stress has a major impact on a dog’s behaviour, affecting him both mentally and physically! Stress can manifest in many ways and most of the behavioural problems mentioned above are associated with high levels of stress! Stress related behaviour is often misinterpreted as ‘high-spirited’ or ‘over-excited’ behaviour. Some dogs go the other way and will ‘shut down’ when they feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. Physical illness and disease can also be the result of stress. Autoimmune disease, skin allergies, irritable bowel, arthritis, diabetes and cancer – to mention a few – have all been linked to the effect of prolonged exposure to stress.
Dog Listening approaches the problem from a different angle.
Instead of trying to manage the symptoms alone, Dog Listening goes to the root of the problem. By changing the way that you interact with your dog on a daily basis, you can calmly and consistently give him information about leadership that will reassure him and allow him to begin to relax. It then becomes possible to guide and influence your dog’s behaviour in a kind and positive way – without the use of force, gadgets or gizmos – and resolve problem behaviour by re-shaping his conditioned responses.
By calmly and consistently implementing signals that your dog can actually understand, you can communicate with him in his own language, gain his cooperation and reduce everyone’s stress levels! A stressed and confused dog often results in a stressed owner! A vicious circle of stress can develop, with dog and owner feeding each others anxiety!
There are four simple steps to breaking this circle of stress and presenting yourself as the calm, confident Pack Leader that all dogs innately seek –
Four steps to successful Dog Training:
- Understand the world from your dog’s perspective –
The human world can sometimes be a confusing and threatening place. Understanding how your dog really feels about things and why he reacts in the way that he does, is pivotal to the resolution of problem behaviour. Understanding your dog’s innate needs and requirements enables you to provide for him in a way that helps him to feel safe and sound.
- Learn his language –
Like all animals, dogs have a language of their own. It includes some vocalisation but is predominantly eye contact, body language and behaviour-based. The domestic dog has adapted and evolved to live alongside modern humans but still shares the same basic programming as his wild-living relative the wolf.
- Communicate clearly –
Once we understand what our dog is trying to communicate to us, through his behaviour and body language, we can communicate back again in a way that is easily understood, and inspires trust, respect and cooperation. It is all to easy to misunderstand what a dog is communicating and to miscommunicate back again.
- Calmly and consistently show him what you want –
Patience really is a virtue when working with dogs. Some dogs learn really quickly and will pick things up at the drop of a hat and others will have to be calmly shown many times, before they are able to adopt a new behaviour or way of doing things. Some dogs learn well in a group situation, others can find a group situation over-whelming and require one to one training in the safety of the home.
Develop the relationship with your dog that you both truly deserve.
Become a calm, confident and consistent Pack Leader and watch as your dog thrives in an environment that is fulfilling her unique requirements. Feel the joy that a calm, cooperative and well-balanced dog can bring to your life! In your home, show your dog – in a way that she can understand – that you are the provider, the one who makes the decisions and keeps the pack safe.
Teach your dog to calmly walk with you when you head out into the wider world – balanced, cooperative and responsive. Reassure her that as Pack Leader you will keep the pack safe from any perceived danger that you might meet out there, such as other dogs, people or traffic. As Pack Leader you lead by example and are able to resolve problem behaviour because your dog trusts and respects you. By letting your dog know that you and any other human pack members will take absolute responsibility for the pack, you allow her to relax and take a subordinate yet valued role in a happy and harmonious family group.