What goes into a behaviour consultation/assessment?

It’s more than you think!

I get a lot of enquiries asking about a session and how much it costs. This is fine. It’s something that I do with businesses.

But I don’t just give out a price through messenger, text or email. I ask you to book a discovery call. 

Why do I do this?

It is not about me making up a price for each individual case, I have set prices and have now made different options available to keep costs down for people. 

It is about giving you and your dog the very best service. There is a huge difference between 1-2-1 dog training and 1-2-1 behaviour consultation. And I need to understand the issues that you are having with your dog and guide you to the appropriate service for your needs. 

Dog training is a huge subject, and has many layers. But dog training mainly involves working with you to teach you exercises that you can do with the dog. It does not deal with the dog’s behaviour that is seen as out of context or a problem.

Behaviour cases change and modify behaviour. It is for behaviours that to the human eye are out of context in the environment or different in its intensity or when it occurs and how frequently it occurs. 

A behaviour case requires an assessment process and the key here is preparation. I had a nightmare client once accused me of sitting there and taking a few notes and chucking some food around (yes, those were his actual words! And needless to say, I discharged myself).

The preparation and assessment criteria are the key difference between training 1-2-1 and behaviour consultations.

This is a crucial phase that is critical that it is done correctly taking into account every aspect of the dog’s life, their behaviour, and the people involved in their lives.

Behaviour consults take longer and therefore are more expensive. The person that said I took a few notes did not take into account the time I have taken to learn my craft. The tears and emotional impacts of training and behaviour assessments from my peers. Developing the form for the behaviour consultation history, going through each part of the form and starting the process prior to me even stepping foot into his home. Then there is the write-up of the assessment and the training plan. All of that work takes A LOT of time. This work must have value. 

Behaviour work carries more risks. When dealing with reactivity and aggression the damage that can be created to the dog, the general public, the owners and other dogs and to me going into this potentially dangerous dog home. Insurance is essential. This costs money. Public liability and professional indemnity are vital.

Having said all of this it can be some of the most rewarding work that we can do.

Next time you choose to go with someone that charges what seems to be very little, take all of the above into consideration. Are they qualified? To what level? Are they a member of a professional body? Have they good reviews?

It is likely that they don’t have the experience and knowledge to create kind, ethical, effective, long-lasting holistic benefits that change behaviour.

Most of all are they solely reward-based?

Often you won’t know this, ask them.

Look at their website and FB page. If it looks too good, it usually is!

Do they talk about being a leader? Being in charge? Promote the use of e-collars?

Putting a piece of equipment on your dog and changing the undesirable behaviour immediately will likely be due to suppression. The dog avoids performing the behaviour due to not liking the sensation of the equipment. An e-collar emits a shock when the dog doesn’t do something that you want it to. So whatever the dog is doing at that time is learned as bad so the brain avoids it, suppressing that behaviour. The problem is the reason for the behaviour is not addressed, so another behaviour WILL be attempted to manage the reason for the behaviour. Because behind EVERY behaviour there is a reason for it. 

You cannot ‘train’ this equipment to be comfortable or the dog to like it. If the dog likes it, it would not do the job it’s been out on for, to stop the behaviour. The behaviour stops because your dog does not like the effects of the equipment. 

Your dog shares a similar emotional network as us. They feel emotions. This has been proven. 

Don’t put your dog into the hands of someone that promotes punishment. 

Take the time to choose a force-free ethical trainer.

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