Olwen Turns is Cloverleaf's Certified Behaviourist and Trainer with INTODogs and ICAN.
While growing up we always had a family dog and they had always been a rescue of sorts, finding their way into our family. Shandy, our terrier x-breed died on Christmas Day 1994.
The following August I visited National Canine Defence League (now Dog’s Trust) looking for the first dog I would own as an adult. It was there I started on what has become a long journey leading to my current career.
Cam came with problems, at around 6 months old he’d been found wandering the streets and had a leg problem. He’d had no training, didn’t know sit, how to walk on the lead or any of the things a dog needs to know to live in a family. He was scared of everything.
Most of all he had a big problem with men; aggressive behaviour was his way of keeping those he didn’t know at bay. But underneath he was terrified. I’d gown up in the Woodhouse era, choke chains and rolled up paper were the only ways I knew. But when you have a dog that screams in fear then runs and hides when you pick either of these up you need to look at alternatives. Force Free training was in its infancy and the local dog warden was offering training using reward based training; she was studying and working with Robin Walker, John Fisher and Peter Neville. This is how I discovered science based training.
I was able to book on straight away and joined in the new wave of training using ground breaking teaching for both dogs and their owners. By the end of the 7 week course the training bug had bitten.
I have been running my own dog training club for around 10 years now and every course I still get at least one person who says their dog doesn’t know who’s the boss.
As a business and personally I want to reach out and let people know that there are better ways to train dogs than the traditional “master/dominance” training which will make it easier for people to live with dogs and for dogs to live with people in our ever changing world where our expectations of dogs has risen to an impossible level. For instance, when I was young if you were bitten by a dog you were told off for upsetting the dog to the point it bit you; now the dog is expected to put up with all kinds of mistreatment without so much as a lip curl.
As a trainer I think that my strongest attribute lies in being able to look at things from the dog’s point of view and enabling the owners to understand why their dog may be behaving in a certain way that is not compatible with what they require from the dog and how to change the dog’s, and their own, behaviour to make life harmonious for the family.
I am expanding my “empowering” services with dogs that find the grooming environment to be challenging and to building the behaviour and training side of the business.
Has your dog been banned from every groomer in the area? Do you have to have your dog sedated and groomed at a vets?
Is your dog just terrified at the thought of going in the bath?
Ask about a specialist, personalised grooming plan
Do you need help with a specific behaviour problem? Does your dog think that the sofa is a chew toy? Is he messing in the house? Are you scared to go out in case you come home to a catastrophic mess or the neighbours complaining about the barking?
These behaviour issues and more can be changed with positive reinforcement
Is your dog biting and fighting? Do people cross the road when they see you coming? Do you have to walk in the middle of the night to avoid other dogs?
Is your dog growling and biting people? Are you scared of your own pet?
Together we can help your troubled dog.
Can't make training classes? Need a hand with loose lead walking? Is your dog not coming back when called?
Do you have a new dog that needs a bit of help?
You need the help and support of a personal trainer for some practical one to one training.