Freya is delighted to introduce Rachel, an animal behavioural scientist, who has very kindly agreed to share her knowledge and experience with us all.
For the next ten weeks we will be publishing each of her top ten tips on how to help enhance our personal relationships with our pooches and form a lifelong bond.
Rachel lives in Aberdare, South Wales, with partner Carl and her nine-month old labradoodle, Reya. She adored her rescue collies, first Domino and then Jem, both of whom she lost recently. I was so touched by her dedication for this series of articles:
“ In loving memory of Domino.
I’m sorry for the times I failed you but I always loved you.”
which is what most of us doodle/dog owners can relate to.
Hello from Rachel
Freya has very kindly invited me to write a column about behaviour for her website.
I was so delighted to be asked to write my top 10 tips and decided to take inspiration from her website and go through some key developmental milestones, phases in your relationship and some things to think about along the way.
What you’ll find is a mixture of the practical and the philosophical. I know it’s really tempting to think the practical tips are much more useful but I’d really urge you to think about the more philosophical ones, they’ve had a far deeper and more fundamental impact on my relationship with my dogs than anything else.
Prompting these thoughts can sometimes be uncomfortable, even painful. Please don’t feel bad about anything you’ve tried that, with hindsight, you wish you hadn’t. I truly believe we can only do our best with the knowledge we have at the time and I am absolutely convinced that anything you have tried will have been motivated by love.
Unfortunately this industry is currently unregulated and there is an overwhelming amount of information (and misinformation) out there. My aim is never to criticise anyone, but to explain my approach clearly and make the evidence base behind it (I’m a science geek!) accessible, maybe even interesting, to the people that most want to know.
So here goes…
Tip One: What to look out for when choosing your puppy.
Tip Two: Developing your puppy’s social skills.
Tip Three: Why we fall in love with our puppy.
Tip Four: Learning about your puppy.
Tip Five: Reinforcing positive behaviour in your dog.
Tip Six: Recall and your dog: Managing expectations.
Tip Seven: Pay attention to your dog’s good stuff.
Tip Eight: Teenage rebellion in your dog.
Tip Nine: Consistency in Dog Training.
Tip Ten: A Long and Happy Partnership with your Dog.
Rachel Leather – Animal Behaviourist
For the last 12 years, Rachel has been helping others understand and manage the behaviour of dogs, cats and horses. After studying Psychology at Cardiff University, she went on to complete her Masters degree in animal behaviour at the University of Exeter. Rachel then ran a degree programme in Applied Animal Behaviour, teaching others the knowledge requirements to become a behaviourist, and set up a referral clinic to enable her students to gain practical experience of behaviour consultations. She enjoyed this so much that, although no longer lecturing, continues to see behaviour cases on referral from vets and runs CPD classes for vets and other professionals.
You can discover more about Rachel’s professional work here.