By the time I arrived at James' Puppy Socialisation class with Raffi, my beautiful boisterous Ridgeback, my initial excitement at having a puppy had turned to anxiety.
I'd taken him to a class before, where there were lots of classes taking place under the same roof. Lots of dogs, lots of barking - Raffi went crazy. Even as a puppy he was strong and I spent the entire class just hanging onto him, his excitement and my stress levels both heading off the scale. I'd already taught him all the things we were supposed to be doing in the lessons anyway, like sit, down, stay, come, and he could do them all…. but just not in puppy class. I dreaded each lesson and didn't finish the course.
When I took him out I was bombarded with advice from strangers. The politer ones explained to me that he was a dominant dog but that I should just make sure I walked through doors before him and all would be fine. The less polite ones suggested I shouldn't have a dog like that: several people told me the breed was horrible and he would probably end up biting someone, and one man told me kindly that he was very worried about me, as a woman should never have this kind of a dog because we were too weak to control them. The least polite ones just yelled at me to keep my 'aggressive' and 'dangerous' dog away from theirs. To be fair, he did leap on other people's dogs, so I thought they all probably had a point.
Walks became fraught.
I arrived at James' puppy socialisation class without a lot of hope but feeling like I should do something. But as soon as I walked in I sensed a difference. Even with all the feverish excitement of ten puppies under one roof there was a calmness there. And the emphasis was on socialisation, not training. We fed treats to other peoples' puppies to give them a positive experience with lots of new people, and we let the puppies play with one another, James monitoring closely, to socialise them with other dogs. At the end of the course there was a little test where the puppies had to sit and stay and leave food, but the emphasis was on the puppy's ability to listen and concentrate rather than on the tasks themselves. I was really impressed with James and booked myself in for a one to one, where he came to the house, talked to us, and then took us for a walk with his dogs to assess Raffi's behaviour.
My main problem with Raffi was his behaviour with other dogs; he was skittish, over-boistrous and bad mannered with them. It turned out that this wasn't sue to 'dominance' or 'aggression' as other people had told me, but actually stemmed from a lack of confidence. Over the next year I went for many walks with James and his dogs - who do a lot of the work! From them, Raffi slowly started working out what behaviour was acceptable and what wasn't, and I spent the time talking to James, telling him what situations had arisen and asking his advice. He explained where I was going wrong without ever patronising me. In the end I realised I was going on the walks as much for myself as for Raffi, as James was giving me the confidence to be able to work out situations for myself. And he gave me the best piece of advice ever: simply, don't panic.
Now, every few weeks I go on Train the Owner walks. It's a chance to meet other dog owners and learn from their dogs, and have a 20 minute catch-up with James where he'll go through anything I might be worried about.
Raffi is now 17 months old. He can still be skittish, but he is so much better. This morning I took him for a walk without his halti. After a few false starts where we had to stop and start again, he walked beautifully and calmly beside me, no pressure on the lead, passing dogs and other distractions with no fuss. He's a beautiful dog and I could see people admiring him as we passed and I was able to enjoy him because we were both completely and utterly relaxed. I am now having so much fun with him - and I think he is having fun with me too!
I am so grateful to James for his help and would - and do - recommend him to any dog owner.
I've always been lucky to have owned 'good' dogs in the past but when I rescued a German Shepherd some years ago, I certainly had my work cut out. I ended up rehoming him as I couldn't cope with his behaviours and regretted giving up such a wonderful dog. So when I decided to get another dog a year ago and I started having difficulties, I was determined to get him and me the help that we needed. After researching on the internet I contacted James and we had a long chat. I was immediately impressed with his knowledge and logical approach to training and especially reassured as he had collies, just like Rico. Rico was 6 months old when rescued from the local dog's home. As with most collies, he was sensitive but intelligent. He didn't like men and also charged at most dogs. This was something that made walking with him very unpleasant. He also pulled hard when led which also made the walks fraught! I wanted to enjoy the time out with him so booked James in for a consultation.
The one to one training has worked a treat, James was patient and Rico seemed to respond well. Then it was down to me to put into practice what I'd be taught. Rico's aggressiveness needed a strong and assertive action, backed up with consistency. James was always at the other end of the phone to clarify anything and also to give encouragement, as I certainly needed it!. When James returned for a follow-up 6 weeks later he could see a great improvement in Rico, and since then he's continued to respond to his training.
What I've found also to be a great back up during this time is the Sunday Social Walks. Rico has great interaction with others within a safe area and James will always spend time reinforcing the training and advice. There's so much to take in that it's brilliant to have this time as well!
I've no hesitation in recommending James. He's patient, understanding and very knowledgeable. I now have the dog I've always wanted and it is, without doubt down to James' advice. Don't give up on your dog!
Finn is a cocker spaniel and the first dog I have ever owned. As I had never had a dog before I wanted to make sure I took him to training classes. The classes were all treat based and as a greedy spaniel he passed them all first time which initially made me think he was doing well but away from the bribe of treats in the training hall he pulled badly on the lead, was very overexitable and had terrible recall. I rarely let him off the lead for fear of not getting him back again. He would run off and never look back to check where I was and would ignore me calling him. If we came across a gate on our walks he would be so unable to wait to get through that he would sound like a screaming child. On a number of occasions we were asked by passers by if he had got himself trapped in the gate!
I had a one to one session with the dog class trainer and was told that Finn was 'hard work' and was really bad at listening to me and I was unlikely to ever be able to let him off the lead where there were lots of distractions. Her methods for his issues with recall and lead walking were to use treats and to distract him when coming up to a gate by throwing a toy. These had very little effect and I was becoming more frustrated at the fact that he wouldn't do things that I knew he understood without the bribe of a treat.
I first met James when a friend asked if I wanted to go along to the social walk at Cosmeston one Sunday. Finn was pulling on the lead and 'screaming' at every gate we came to. James explained how the amount of attention and discipline at home effect how a dog behaves, He demonstrated how to correct his behaviour when approaching a gate and straight away he made some improvement and, although still overexcited the screaming soon stopped. I booked a one to one session and James watched Finns behaviour in the house and explained more about discipline and which aspects of his behaviour were not acceptable. We also focussed on lead walking and how to correct him when he pulled on the lead. In a relatively short space of time he was walking better than I had ever seen him walk without a treat in sight.
Finn does still have to be disciplined for trying to pull especially at the beginning of a walk but he no longer drags me down the street and I know how to correct him without getting frustrated and shouting at him. He now has lots of off the lead walks and he does look around to check where I am. We still have improvements to be made but I am much more confident in how to correct his behaviour and walks are much more fun for the both us of. Thank you for your help James!
I called James because I was at the end of my tether with our Beagle, Charlie. He pulled so badly on the lead that I had sore arms after a walk and he barked really badly at other dogs. It had gotten so bad that I dreaded having to walk him and would get my husband to do it. We couldn't let him off the lead because he wouldn't come back so every walk was miles of misery for both Charlie and us! My husband and I had discussed that we would give it 4 weeks to try and sort out the problems or Charlie would have to go.
James came to the house and within 2 hours we had an improvement. We learnt how to show Charlie what we wanted him to do and found out he was actually fairly willing to do it! James offered to return 6 weeks later for a follow up but I was so pleased with what we achieved in one afternoon I decided to do weekly one on one sessions.
4 weeks later, walking Charlie was a pleasure and we could even start letting him off lead for short spells. It was then we met a beautiful dog in need of a new home, I felt confident enough to take on a second dog and was sure James would be able to teach us all how to work as a team. It seems Dolly has fitted in perfectly and after just 6 or 7 sessions in total we enjoy off lead walks with both of them and they always come back. Charlie is 99% of the way there and only pulls for the first few minutes of a walk.
Without James' help we would have found Charlie a new home, where as now we are a very happy 2 dog family.
Bailey our Beagle is our first and only pet. Bailey is a typical beagle and can be quite stubborn. Bailey made quite an impact on our family home, pulling my washing of the line, chewing anything and everything. We were unable to let Bailey off the lead as he was easily distracted and would wander off.
We had an initial consultation with James and Chip and found all his advice very helpful and encouraging. Bailey stayed with James, Chip and Penny for 2 weeks recently and came back a different dog. he is so much calmer, he no longer pulls my washing off the line and we are able to let him off lead, which means he gets a lot more exercise. He has shown us how to be confident and take control we are all much happier including Bailey.
James is totally committed, he has made a massive difference to us and shown us not just control but how to enjoy our dog.
James Davies- Dog trainer extraordinaire!
We were recommended James by a neighbour who had sought his help when having difficulty training her newly acquired dog to walk on the lead nicely and behave better in her home- especially when visitors arrive.
We never thought that we would ever need to seek professional advice as we have already got a two year old border collie “Bonnie” who has trained us very well. Our new addition- “Shep”- now nine months has pushed us to the limit. We have read books, put in a lot of time and effort and we still can’t stop him turning into a raging lunatic every time he sees a car, cow or horse!
In all honesty, if “shep” wasn’t such a great natured dog around the house, people and other dogs, we would have seriously thought about finding him another home. We were also aware that we had bought him very close to Christmas as a pup and to get rid of him soon after would certainly not have been the example we would have liked to set to our two children! We only had one alternative- and that was to seek help and be prepared to pay for it as well as the neutering, leads, chews, food, crate etc etc.
I decided to check James out first before booking him for a personal consultation. This was made really easy as I just turned up for the “pack walk” that he runs every Sunday from Cosmeston Park at 10:00. It was a rather noisy start as all the dogs were “champing at the bit” in a confined space waiting for all to arrive. As soon as we got underway, the barking calmed and we gently got into our stride before letting the dogs off where they were less likely to offend other users of the park- particularly those not fond of dogs!
During the walk, I had several opportunities, like the others, to walk along side James and discuss shep and his behaviour. I liked James’ responses- they kept reminding me I was trying to deal with a dog and not a child or baby, which is my natural way of dealing with him. I tried to gather as much information as possible. Whilst all this was going on, I was surprised to see the work that James’ dogs were doing. Chip and Penny were basically wandering around the pack keeping everyone in order, which is a difficult task as basically most dogs are there because their owners have concerns of some kind! They were quite clearly showing displeasure over certain anti social behaviours being shown by some dogs and were sorting them out magnificently-far better than their owners!
At the end of the walk we came across another horse. We’d seen one before and James watched Shep and tried to work out how he could distract him etc but with not great success on first attempt with one second warning! This time he told me to hold still and stop. As soon as shep saw the horse, he started barking really aggressively as he does, pulling dreadfully on the lead. Within seconds, Penny and Chip came around and positioned themselves between shep and the horse and started to bark at him, with their backs to the horse. Shep was absolutely stunned into utter confusion and stopped straight away before looking at me with a very confuse look on his face and he sat down like a very good boy!
If I hadn’t experienced this myself, I wouldn’t have believed it! James’ dogs are truly magnificent and I take my dogs on the pack walk with them every week so that they and I can learn as much as we can about good behaviour for dogs and humans in charge of dogs. The hour and a half walk that day was the most enlightening, informative and best learning experience me and my dogs have ever had! I had no doubt in asking James for a personal consultation.
We booked James for the next available Saturday morning for a three hour session 10:00-13:00. He was prompt and very professional. He relaxed In our home. (which is an achievement in itself with 2 young border collies, a cat, two girls of 12 and 13 and an often controversial husband!) He took time to listen to us all about how we perceive the dogs behave and what we do with them as a matter of routine. He assessed their environment, our routines and the way we all behaved with the dogs. He did it in such a way that it was fun, realistic and not at all intrusive.
We ventured outside and hit the roads and areas of most concern in sheps behaviour. We came back, we went out again, we talked, listened, learned, practiced and became motivated to carry on the good work achieved. James eventually left us exhauseted (us, not him) six whole hours later! I have learned that James is a very well qualified dog behaviour specialist. He has a very appropriate personality to suit all types and ages. He has an obviously clear understanding of dogs and a most definite concern for their welfare. He is able to explain things in a way that makes perfect sense, and is also able to listen and take on board experiences of others.
Since our consultation, I have been in regular contact with James either via email or text, and of course, I can meet him on a Sunday or join any of his great classes I have heard about. For me, this is priceless. Knowing he is keen to check our progress and offer support when its needed is great. It has helped us all remain focussed on the task in hand and not drift into lazy habits.
It has been as a consequence of our hard work, I think, that pushed James to offer us a “leg up”. He offered to have Shep for a few days to sort out his herding instinct to chase cars. As shep was used to James, it was easy to say yes! Needless to say, shep came home a more grown up boy and with- believe it or not a relatively calm disposition to cars! A real miracle! James said hed only sorted him 90% and it was up to us to do the rest. He did this as he knew we would want to have a part to play in this great achievement. We are still persevering and as each week goes by we are getting closer to our goal.
Whilst Shep was away, James sent us video clips of his progress and pictures too. This was a most exciting experience in itself. I could not recommend anyone higher than James and I have met several of his fans now and nobody who would say to the contrary. He is a very special and wonderful dog behavioural specialist whom we feel privileged to have come into contact with. Indeed, I look forward to sending good news about Shep or Bonnie so that he can sense the rewards he deserves and works very hard for.
After having dogs in my family for the last 15 years I was not concerned when Pippy came into our lives,after all the last 3 dogs obeyed my commands why should she be any different. She was a bundles of energy and quick as a flash, which meant when she was out and off the lead she would be gone in seconds, her recall was rubbish and she would not listen to anything I was telling her, treats did not work as she would snatch them out of my hands and dodge out of reach, it did not help that the vet told me that her parentage ( spaniel x patterdale) would mean that she was going to be really hard to train. After a couple of weeks of being dragged down the street, calling after a dog who would not come, who enjoyed challenging other dogs no matter what the size and following them away from me I began to wonder if I had done the right thing. She was a cute little thing and could be very loving and I did not want to give up on her, but she was stressing me out.
I looked on the Internet for dog trainers, and I booked a session with one company who was charging over £100.00 for one session, then luckily James emailed me with his prices and dates, they were very competitive and looked very professional so I cancelled the other company and signed up with Canis behaviour.This has been the best decision ever.
Upon meeting James it is obvious that he has a passion for the dogs and they respond well to James.
In Puppy class Pippy was hard work, but with James help we started to get through to her.It was hard work and at one point after she had run away from me (once again) and on to a main road, I wondered if it was wise keeping her,but James was there emailing and texting encouragement and advice.
Beginners class saw a change in Pippy she began to listen and interact with me, she was still stubborn and high energy but she was improving.
It has been a few months in between the beginners and the intermediate courses, but James has always been there for me, whatever Pips problem.
She has now finished the intermediate course and I am proud to say that she is a star, her recall is 98% she walks to heel, sits at my heel, rolls over, stays, gives eye contact and lots of other little things which I never expected her to do.
None of this would have been possible if it was not for James at Canis behaviour, for his demonstrations, clear advice,and after hours care.
We now have a collie puppy who is 6 months old, and even though she is well behaved I will still be taking him to training with James for fine tuning
Thank you James for all your help, for helping me to turn a mad dogs into a family pet, and putting up with my rantings over her behaviour.
TESS IS A TWO YEAR OLD C0LLIE BITCH AND LIKE MANY OF HER BREED SHE IS INTELLIGENT, CONFIDENT AND VERY VERY DETERMINED TO BE THE CENTER OF OUR LIVES. I SOUGHT TO CONTROL THIS “MANIPULATION” BY COMMANDS BUT FOUND THIS TOTAL,LY UNSATISFACTORY ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE ALWAYS TOOK THE BALL TO OTHERS. I HAD NO IDEA THAT SO MANY CHILDREN, AND ADULTS TOO, WERE AFRAID OF DOGS – EVEN FRIENDLY ONES THROWING A BALL AT THEIR FEET. THIS IS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS JAMES HAS TAUGHT ME HOW TO CORRECT. NOW INSTEAD OF A FEELING OF NAGGING FRUSTRATION I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO. PROPER CORRECTION HAS GIV EN ME PEACE OF MIND AND A MUCH HAPPIER DOG.
BEING A TEENAGER TESS ALSO WANTS TO B A “STAR”ATTRACTION WITH OTHER DOGS. IF AND WHEN ANOTHER DOG IS NOT IMMEDIATELY DAZZLED BY HER CHARMS AND TELLS HER SHE IS NEITHER ‘INVITED NOR WELCOME’ HER RETALIATION IS INSTANT! THIS CAN BE QUITE SCARY FOR BOTH OF US AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS FOR HER.
HOW TANKKFUL I AM THAT JAMES HAS PATIENTLY CORRECTED MY WRONG THINKING AND HELPS ME SEE, FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER 50 YEARS OF DOG OWNING, WHAT DOGS AREREALLY SAYING TO EACH OTHER.
I AM FACINATED BY THE DEPTH OF JAMES’ UNDERSTANDING AND INTRIGUED BY HIS UNCANNY CANINE KNOWLEDGE. I AM QUITE SURE THE FUTURE WILL FIND JAMES TEACHING “teachers” EXPERIENCED IN DOG PSYCHOLOGY. HE HAS AND DOES GIVE SO MUCH TO DOGS ........AND THEIR HUMANS.
MEANWHILE I AM GRATEFUL AND SO INDEBTED TO HAVE JAMES HELP ME AND MY SWEET BUT DELINQUINT TEENAGER INTO A HAPPIER ‘OLD AGE.’
James supported us through managing our dominant Beagle Guss. He has showed us practical ways to deal with our dogs issues whilst bonding with Guss too. He enables you to understand dog psychology but also to understand that a dog is a dog and we are the owners. Guss is a work in progress but we have seen a big improvement in his behaviour. I would highly recommend James services and he continues to support us when we have problems. We are now able to put his strategies into place with our dog to make him a happier dog and us happier owners."
Ellen and Steve
I chose Jame’s puppy classes for Bella my beagle because of the description of his approach on his website. Little did I know what a life saver he was to become. Bella was, what I now know to be, a typical beagle, strong willed and independent. I soon had a puppy on my hands who did just as she wanted- pulling on the lead, running away when off the lead, picking up rubbish on walks, stealing trainers etc and refusing to drop them as well as chewing the furniture! With the help of Chip, Penny, Kiki and of course James I learnt how to deal with her and she has gradually become a different dog. As long as I did what James advised Bella’s behaviour improved, sometimes it wasn’t until I saw the results that I could understand the reasoning. Bella is work in progress but ‘train the owner’ and social walks are keeping us both on the right track. Thank you James and dogs. Barbara