Dog Behaviour and Training FAQ’s

Here’s a selection of questions I am frequently asked about my dog behaviour and training sessions (updated as of 22/09/2023). If your question isn’t answered here then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Do you have spaces currently?

Yes! Spaces for Full Support Training Clients are available at around 1-2 weeks notice for weekdays, and 5-6 weeks for Sundays.

Do you do any online courses?

Yes, I have a few covering rescue dog behaviour, new puppy behaviour, dog reactivity, and recall. Check them out here.

How long will there be between my sessions?

I’ll know more when I assess your dog, but usually I’ll suggest a 2-4 weeks gap. This will give you plenty of time for your “homework” and to get the preliminary training in place before we try to move forward. I don’t want to rush you, or your dog.

What’s the difference between a power hour and a full support training package?

A Power Hour is perfect if you just need a few tips, are concentrating on one thing, or need extra support after your training package has ended. Power Hours are available at Baxter Park in Dundee or online via zoom. Continued availability is not guaranteed.

Your Full Support Training Package is designed to solve training and behaviour problems. It will be designed to manage the behaviour fully from start to finish with a goal in mind. We’ll start with the underlying issue and then focus on the specific behaviours as we work through your sessions. The sessions start in your own home, but we often head out and about, if that’s more appropriate, and the advice will be targeted to you and your dog. We’ll have time to practise the techniques in the sessions and I’ll be on call to support you as you work through the training. At the end of the training package, we’ll wrap things up via email, zoom or phone. Get in touch for more information about how I can help you with a bespoke training plan.

Do you do virtual consultations?

Sorry, not currently.

Will your techniques work in real life situations? He listens when it’s just us, but as soon as he gets distracted it all goes out the window.

Yes, of course. It’s very common for dogs to know all the tricks when they are in a quiet place, but due to anxiety, reactivity, obsession, or just being easily distracted, they can’t do them in “real life”. Doing it in a class or distraction free environment might be useful to get things started, but when the environment is the problem, we need to fix that. We’ll solve the underlying problem so we can make the training work for you in all situations.

Is this your only job?

It sure is, I’m very lucky to be able to help you all full time.

Will I need more training after the training package is finished?

I will create your training package based on your assessment. The better the assessment, the more accurate I can be, so please tell me about all problem behaviours, even if they don’t feel relevant, or you only want to work on one aspect. If I don’t know about them I might underestimate the amount of time needed to solve the problem.

However, some problems are more challenging than others (especially in cases of trauma), so occasionally we might need to add more training time. But that’s pretty rare, and you’ll not need to book a whole package, if that is the case, just an hour will usually do.

If you feel you would prefer extra support, you are very welcome to book more time at the end of your training, of course.

I have had limited success with other trainers, can you still help me?

Yes, no problem. I am regularly asked to help out where other training plans have not succeeded, and I have excellent results. Figuring out and assessing complex and challenging behaviour problems is my speciality.

Will I always be working 1-1 with you?

Yes, of course. I don’t normally run group classes, or have assistants. You’ll get consistent training advice from me, from start to finish.

I have heard terrible stories about the methods some dog trainers use, what kind of methods do you use to train dogs?

I’ve heard those stories too and they shock me as well! Don’t worry, I only use kind methods. I never use fear or pain to train a dog. In fact, that is why I do this job, as I was also once advised to use outdated methods to train my own dog, and I too refused.

What’s the difference between a dog trainer and a behaviourist?

For me, it’s the difference between what a dog can’t do and what he won’t do. A dog that can’t do a recall needs a trainer to help them learn the new command. A dog that won’t come back needs someone who will be able to figure out why and address that. If you think of a trainer as the teacher and a behaviourist as the counsellor. I’m a behaviourist, I can also help you teach your dog simple commands to support their behaviour plan, if needed, but my focus is on the underlying behaviour and emotions!

Do you offer a guarantee?

Guarantees are tricky because there are so many variables. It’s not like fixing a car. Every dog is different, they all have different personalities, experiences, and needs. Plus, I only do some the work! Once I’ve given you my advice, it’s over to you to implement it. However, those that complete the training plan, as prescribed, do see success.

I will add that I’ve been honing and practising my techniques for 20 years, so have come across my fair share of variables. And not just with clients dogs, I’ve also used my techniques to rehabilitate my own rescue dogs, and dogs I’ve fostered, over the years. The training packages I offer include full support and several touch points, so if there is a problem, we’ll usually spot it en-route!

If you are still unsure, please take a look at my clients reviews. I have over a hundred five star reviews on Facebook and I’m starting to build up reviews on my new Google page too. Please forgive a gap during lockdown; I’m only back to work full time since January 2022, so there is a big gap while I took a break!

Will you come to me?

Yes, I much prefer to work in your dogs own environment, he will behave more naturally there and I will be able to get to know him at his best and worst. Follow-ups and check-ins can sometimes work well online, but the majority of what we do will be face to face.

There are lots of problems, will we work on all of them, or just one at a time?

Yes, we’ll do it all. It’s often the case that other behaviours are related to the main underlying issue so my aim is to balance the whole dog. If you don’t do this, niggling behaviours might get worse, techniques might wear off, or new issues might appear from no where.

I have had a bad experience with another dog trainer and I’m worried I’ll be judged by you too?

I’m really sorry that happened to you, but please don’t worry, I will not judge you at all. I’m here to help – promise.

Will you come on a walk with us?

Yes, even if you are not having problems on the walk, we will very likely go out for a walk together. It is a great way to get to know a dog, I’ll be able to spot any related behaviours, and it will help me design a training plan that will work for him based on his strengths and weaknesses.

How far do you travel?

I am very happy to travel within the Dundee, Longforgan, Forfar, Broughty Ferry, Monifieth, Newport, and Tayport areas, and as far as St Andrews or Carnoustie. Travel outside these areas is subject to special arrangement, but unfortunately does not include areas in the highlands, or outlying, remote, or difficult to get to addresses. Please ask if you are not sure.

I’m afraid my dog might bite you, can you still help?

Yes, absolutely, but please let me know when you get in touch. I don’t want to unnecessarily stress your dog, and I’d also rather not get bitten, so we’ll figure out a safe way to work together.

How do I book my 1-1?

When you are ready to get started we will discuss available dates and times and schedule a date/time that will suit for your assessment. We’ll finalise details of your remaining training sessions during your assessment and book those in then. Payment is due at the time of booking and is via bank transfer. Sorry, I do not accept payment on the day, or split payments.

What if I’m sick and need to change my appointment?

My diary is carefully balanced so please give me as much notice as possible if you need to reschedule. This will allow me to offer your space to someone else. In some cases it might be possible to do your session online, so rescheduling might not be needed.

Dog behaviour expert and trainer Caroline Mitchell with her dog Wilma sitting on her knee in Dundee.
Caroline with her terrier, Wilma