Dog Behaviourist Services

Professional and registered with regulatory body, ABTC

As a dog behaviourist, Denise is registered on the regulator's website (ABTC) as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist. This means she has passed very high standards of academic knowledge as well as practical experience. As a member of the APBC, most insurance companies will accept Denise's credentials and pay for her dog behaviourist services.

Due to the volume of behaviour problem prevention courses Denise is now running she only has limited capacity to take on dog behaviour consultations. As a result, Denise is only seeing past and present Paws in Hand clients whose dogs have developed behaviour problems.
She is only able to take on a limited number of cases and only in the local area (Ferndown, West Moors, Verwood, Ringwood, Wimborne and Blandford areas).
Due to having only limited available time, some areas are now too difficult to get to due to severe traffic congestion in this area. Sometimes Skype consultations are appropriate and on a case by case review, these may be offered. These can very very useful for inter dog aggression when followed up with attendance to our outdoor rehabilitation classes. 

Denise Nuttall is a qualified, experienced and fully insured full time registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist  and a registered Animal Training Instructor specialising in dogs.  You can check to find her listed on ABTC (Defra recognised regulator for the industry), Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, The Canine Training and Behaviour Society and The Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Always check that your behaviourist or dog trainer has the qualifications/credentials they say they have by checking the registers. Sadly, all too many state they have credentials that they do not have. 

Denise holds a M.Res (Master's degree in Research Science with distinction - Dog Cognition and Forensic Psychology),  B.Sc (Hons) in Applied Animal Behaviour and also an advanced diploma in companion animal behaviour and training, DipCABT (Coape).

Denise has delivered lectures to the professionals at Learning About Animals in Guildford in three subjects, "Interpreting Canine Body Language - Aggression", "Running the Behaviourally Aware Puppy Party" and "Inter Dog Aggression practical workshop. 

Denise deals with any behaviour problem, especially aggression and anxiety. Many behaviour problems can be caused by medical conditions which is why she must work on vet referral. Aggression and anxiety especially can be caused by pain, endocrine disorders such as thyroid problems and Cushings, Addisons etc. It is, therefore, essential your dog is referred to Denise by a vet. Some of you will already have seen other  behaviourists who did not ask for this, which is unethical. If they are worth their salt the vet should be happy to refer you to them after the vet had been advised of the problem. You may already have seen someone who told you it is all your fault because you are not being a good pack leader. You may have been miseld into thinking that the problem could be fixed in a single session! If this is possible then there never was a behaviour problem, just a training issue! However, in the real and honest world it is rarely possible to fix a serious behaviour problem in a single session and Denise believes in being honest. If only life was so simple! If you have been told this please don't give up on your dog, give up on your behaviourist (LOL) and contact Denise as she will more than likely be able to help you.

Denise will NOT say that she solves 99.9% of cases and neither should anyone make such promises, if you see such promises be very cautious as frankly this cannot be measured over time and therefore, this promise is not true. The vast majority of cases Denise works with improve, most of them show significant improvement and some problems are resolved.

You may find that your insurance company will cover the cost of a dog behaviourist's fees if they are qualified and a vet has referred you to them so it is worth checking with them. This may be included under complimentary therapies or behaviour counselling. Denise is covered by most insurance companies.

What is the difference between training and behaviour?
A behaviour problem requires more in depth understanding of canine behaviour than would normally be required for basic training. The following are considered behaviour problems:

  • Aggression, including barking aggressively, snapping, nipping, growling, biting. Towards people and or dogs/animals.
  • Recall issues involving predatory chase. For example when walking your dog does not come when called because the dog is chasing livestock, scenting, hunting or chasing bikes, people etc.
  • Anxious behaviours. E.g. separation distress, noise phobias etc
  • Barking (separation related, anger/frustration/fearful, territorial)
  • Whining (stress, attention seeking, distress)
  • Self-mutilation (chewing or excessively licking paws or other parts)
  • Attention seeking (could be just training required, but sometimes behavioural)
  • Shadow chasing (chasing reflections, snapping at the air)
  • Neophobia (fear of new things)
  • Agoraphobia (fear of outdoors)
  • Noise phobia
  • Fear of the vet/groomer

Training would be expected to cover the following:

  • Basic obedience, sit, down, stay, leave, recall (when learning not when already a problem, see above)
  • Good manners such as meeting and greeting, not jumping up
  • Walking nicely on the lead
  • Toilet training (speak to vet first though)

What to expect from a behaviour consultation
The consultation is done at the client's home as this is the best place to assess your dog. Seeing your dog in a relaxed state helps with the behavioural assessment as your dog can be observed in his/her relaxed state and then it can be observed how your dog's behaviour changes. 

Consultations in a vet surgery, unfortunately, usually place the dog under stress and affects their behaviour so that it may make it more difficult to make an accurate behavioural diagnosis. This is why Denise does home visits; it is also important that the client feels relaxed.

The behaviour consultation usually lasts for at least two hours during which Denise will want to try to see the behaviour problem although she won't provoke a response, only to see what behaviour may normally be experienced in a given situation. This may involve going out on a walk with you or to a dog training class, or arranging for someone to come around that your dog usually demonstrates the behaviour with/for. It might be that you will have videoed the behaviour (which is very useful as, invariably the dog doesn't do it when she visits). Denise will demonstrate her techniques where possible (for aggression, she might have to coach you how to do this if your dog can't cope with her) and then make sure you know how to use them. Denise will explain fully what she believes is motivating the behaviour and set you a clear and short understandable written plan of activities designed to help you through the problems you are having with your dog. You will then have four weeks free support via phone/email/Skye/Facetime.

Cost of a standard consultation is £295.00 and appointments are daytime only. The standard consultation includes the following:

Assessment of pre-consultation questionnaire and relevant medical history

A home visit lasting approximately 2 hours

A report to support the treatment plan

Liaison with the referring vet as appropriate

Free unlimited telephone and e mail support for four weeks post consultation.

50% of the payment is due at the time of  booking with the remainder due on the day of the appointment please. Payment via Cheque, BACS or cash. If you are claiming on insurance, the normal procedure is to ask for an invoice from me after paying so you can pass this onto your insurance company and claim back directly from them. 

It may be necessary to have further visits although very often the initial consultation is all that you will require to get you on a programme which will work over time. Follow up visits are charged at £50.00 per hour.

Other tailored packages are available and can be offered if it is felt that your needs are less or more complex than required of the standard plan or more complex. 

Contrary to what some unqualified behaviourists may say, most behaviour problems can take a little while to resolve/improve and things can change as you follow the plan.  Many problems can be resolved, however, there are times when the behaviour has a genetic basis to it or it has become so ingrained that a full resolution of the problem may not be possible, but  you will benefit from a greater understanding of how to manage your dog in situations where you would be able to predict problems. However, you may be surprised at how much progress can be made with most behaviour problems.

Problem dog? No problem! Just give Denise a call on 01202 861340 or 07764 250554.

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