When Molly joined puppy pre-school class she was overwhelmed, we were first to arrive and she barked at every other puppy as they came in. Alison knew exactly what to do as she explained that Molly’s aggression towards the other puppies was due to fear, and with the help of Zoe as well Molly eventually calmed down and even learnt a few things that evening.
When Molly “graduated” from puppy pre-school we continued our visits on a “one-to-one” basis. After a couple of sessions Alison noticed that Molly’s vision/co-ordination did not appear to be quite right. Our training classes were adjusted to accommodate this and Molly responded well. Molly has always been anxious and difficult to handle. We had trouble getting her used to her collar, and it involved even more coaxing to get a harness on, but gradually by positive handling her confidence has grown and this is now no problem.
We had decided not to subject Molly to any referrals to eye specialists which may have involved leaving her with people and situations that she was not comfortable with – we could always change our mind later on if necessary and she was doing well with Alison’s help.
Having had several dogs in the past with no issues it has been very daunting to experience Molly’s behaviour, it is not easy but we seem to get there in the end, it just takes longer and is certainly a challenge. We couldn’t have got this far without Alison’s help, she is very patient (especially when I get tangled up with the lead, clicker and treats! - I think I am more difficult to train than Molly!)
Alison’s dog Jacabee is very patient too and has put up with Molly’s anxiety (at a safe distance!). Alison showed me how to get her used to Jacabee’s presence so now Molly is used to him being there in the same room and doesn’t mind at all. Molly is also much better when we meet other dogs out walking and I never thought it would happen but it has got to the stage where sometimes other dogs bark at her and she just walks quietly on. You never know, one day we may get to do the “heel to music” classes
The one to one sessions are fun – my hobby really! There is never any pressure to continue, and they are affordable and very good value. I will certainly be carrying on with them and I highly recommend Alison, as well as being knowledgeable and experienced she is so enthusiastic and dedicated.
Jackie Brown and Molly
We owe so much to Alison for the transformation in Bradley, our 9 yr old Working Cocker Spaniel. I was always fairly confident with training and dog behaviour until recently when I was completely stumped when Bradley started displaying aggression. His behaviour quickly progressed to quite violent aggression towards the vets and extended to the dog groomer, family members and children. I was at a loss as to know how to deal with it and was mortified that he was behaving that way - I felt like l'd let him down.
Alison's support - both emotional and practical has been invaluable. She explained that he is showing fear aggression and has helped me understand his fears. She also taught me to read even the most subtle body language so that I can understand how he's feeling and what's going on for him. It's like looking at my dog through new eyes! She's encouraged me to respect Bradley's feelings and given me the tools and confidence to deal with situations. As well as recommending supplements and other complimentary therapies to help. (Which has been a huge success).
We had a wonderful breakthrough when Bradley recently visited a new dog groomer (recommended by Alison), and clearly enjoyed himself, allowing her to touch and clip him all over, and coming out looking thoroughly relaxed and pleased with himself - this was a massive step forward.
Before speaking to Alison I wasn't sure what to do to help Bradley and I was concerned about the costs of appointing a behaviourist and whether or not anybody would be able to help.... I'm so delighted that I picked up the phone, Alison was generous with her time and genuinely concerned and interested when we first spoke and I knew instantly that she understood. Her help has been affordable and her input invaluable. It's so wonderful to see Bradley's confidence grow - in just a few short weeks - and to see him more relaxed. I feel much more able to cope now and everyday life with Bradley has become much easier again. I've started really enjoying my dog again (and stopped beating myself up).
We've enjoyed working with Alison so much, we've now started some doggy training again which is full of games and brain teasers and is heaps of fun!
So if you are reading this and wondering weather to get in touch with Alison, I unreservedly recommend that you pick up the phone. She's made such a difference in our lives.
Naomi Pound with Bradley
We adopted Buddy in November 2007 from Holly Hedge, he was 13 months old and a buddle of naughtiness having had only limited training and socialisation in his previous life. He was a nightmare on a lead always pulling at full pelt and was destructive if we left him having a passion for anything leather and was extremely adept at breaking into cupboards.
We had previously had Dobermans but none as challenging as Buddy – we would have persevered with things as they were it being a well-known fact that Dobermans have a notorious adolescence if it was not for the fact that in 2010 my husband returned to working abroad and would be away for indeterminate periods of time. I realised that if I could not get Buddy to a stage where I could sensibly walk him and leave him without returning to mass destruction he would have to go back to Holly Hedge. It was at this time I turned to Alison, she suggested we booked a Behaviour Consultation to see what Buddy’s problems were - I came away from that session with some “one to one” sessions booked and on Alison’s advice I changed to walking Buddy on a head collar and harness which made life so much easier.
Now nearly three years down the line Buddy is a joy to have around, he walks nicely on his harness, is still very attached but can be left without destruction and everybody who meets him compliments us on how well behaved he is - Buddy still enjoys seeing Alison every other week and is always keen to do his best to earn his treats.
Being a glutton for punishment in December 2011 we decided to take on Maddy Minx another rescue who was being kennelled in Bristol for “Doberman Rehoming”. We thought Buddy had problems but Maddy Minx had major issues with “Dog to Dog Aggression” as well as having suspect neurological problems. Maddy Minx is such an adorable loving little lady but can turn for no apparent reason on sight of another dog – her introductions to life with Buddy did not go without incident, but thankfully Buddy’s temperament is such that he would just walk away and leave her to it.
Maddy Minx did have the advantage over Buddy in that she has had quite a comprehensive training before we had the pleasure. Alison soon got the measure of Maddy Minx – it is me that finds it difficult in that Buddy and Maddy Minx train individually on opposite sides and have differing needs when asking to follow instructions. But we are getting there –in the six months that we have been having “One to One Sessions” on the alternate weeks to Buddy with Alison, Maddy Minx is a changed dog much more confident around other dogs and she really enjoys our training sessions being really eager to please.
Thanks to Alison’s knowledge, commitment and the immense amounts of patience she has shown to me I am not the easiest of pupils I now have two dogs who are a testament to her abilities as both a Trainer and Behaviourist. We have always trained our dogs ourselves and never thought that one day we would have a dog who defied our abilities and that I would have to seek out outside help. I have no hesitation in recommending Alison to anyone seeking an informal and fun way of training their dogs.
Fiona Sandford with Buddy & Maddy Minx