...Helping your best friend to be even better...
Behavioural problems in dogs arise for many different reasons, and many different factors may be involved. Gaining a good understanding of the impact of these factor,s and why they cause your dog to behave in certain ways is crucial to successful long-term behavioural change. Merely trying to stop an undesirable behaviour by trying to coerce your dog into suppressing it is unlikely to be successful in the long-term, and may actually worsen many behavioural problems and cause an eventual escalation of issues especially aggression.
Behavioural problems cannot usually be addressed by attending a class, or by having a one to one training session with a dog trainer and in most cases, by the time a behavioural problem has developed, the dog will not "get used to" whatever it is that concerns them or "grow out of" the problem. In fact, the reverse is usually true. The more often the dog is put in the problematic situation, the worse the problem tends to get and the harder it will become to change, so acting sooner rather than later is always wise. Dog trainers have a valuable role to play helping dog owners to train their dogs and can often spot and even turn round the very early signs of behaviour problems in a puppy or young dog, but dog trainers are not trained to deal with behavioural problems - as the role of behaviourist and dog trainer are quite different (although quite a few behaviourists also offer training).
The behavioural consultation process addresses behavioural issues and problems - things which would not be taught and covered in a normal training class - including any type or form of aggression or inappropriate behaviours towards people or other animals, fears and phobias, such as fear of fireworks and other loud noises, house-training problems in adult dogs, separation problems and stereotypical (obsessive) behaviours. Inevitably the majority of behavioural referrals involve aggression in some way, whether it is directed towards people, other dogs or other animals, and Helen is experienced in all types of behavioural problems in dogs, and is knowledgeable on most breeds. When aggression is involved, it is very unlikely that an owner - even a well-informed one - can resolve the problem without professional help and attempted treatment of behavioural problems by unqualified, unregulated practitioners (who often use outdated, unproven methods) can easily make behavioural problems worse or result in new behavioural problems emerging. Helen is able to help owners with all types of behaviour problems and almost all breeds. However, she does not take on cases involving German/Dutch/Belgian Shepherd dogs (as there is another local behaviourist who specialises in these breeds) and is not able to take cases involving banned breeds or crosses (for insurance purposes).
The APBC and ABTC requires that treatment of behavioural problems requires referral from a veterinary surgeon. This is routine procedure, but an essential one to ensure obvious physical causes are ruled out and that the veterinary surgeon is kept informed of all behavioural problems and treatment regimes. Referral can made on paper (via a short referral form which is completed by the vet). However, vets may also refer to me verbally or by email. Don't worry if you have not discussed the problem with your vet, or have not yet obtained a referral - this can easily be arranged after you make contact.
Currently, the main consultation is usually done over Zoom (covering diagnosis and development of the behaviour modification plan), with a subsequent optional in-person session in your home available if requested (to help put this into practice). For those who feel unable to do any form of video calling, the entire consultation can be done in the home although this is significantly more expensive (and absolutely not necessary for an accurate diagnosis, or development of and delivery of the training plan). Since the pandemic, experience has shown behaviourists that zoom consultatations, when combined with videos, are at least as effective - if not more so - than an in-person appointment. Remember that you can always have a subsequent home visit (after the main zoom session) to help you put what you have learned into practice.
In an emergency situation (eg dangerous levels of aggression suddenly being displayed to someone or something in same household) If requested, I will endeavour to offer an emergency consultation (Zoom only) within a 2 to 3 working days if possible.
Sceptical about Zoom consults?
Since the start of the pandemic most behaviourists have moved to Zoom consultations for obvious reasons, and many of us will be continuing this post-pandemic. Different behaviourists work in slightly different ways but many including Helen still offer a limited in-home visit service. In Helen's case, the main consultation is usually via Zoom (although apurely in-person consultations are still available for those not able to use Zoom/video calling), which covers everything an in-home consultation used to. Helen also offers a short in-home follow-up session following the Zoom session, if requested. The pandemic has shown clients and behaviourists alike that, in most cases, Zoom consultations are as good as or even often preferable to purely in-home visits for the following reasons:
1. If not already done, veterinary referral is obtained. Physical health, injuries and illnesses affect behaviour. Veterinary referral is required by all reputable behaviourists' governing bodies and membership associations so that any obvious physical contributory factors are ruled out, or I am made away of them prior to treatment of the behavioural problem. Referral can be by means of my referral form, letter, or email. The lead time for all parts of the process varies but if your case is urgent (usually because there is significant, unavoidable risk to human or another animal in the same house) I will try to arrange the Zoom session within a week.
2. You will be sent a behavioural history questionnaire to fill in and return. Please complete this and send your Questionnaire, vet's referral and holding fee. Once I have received and read these, I will contact you to make an appointment for the Zoom consultation (or other video platform if you are unable to use Zoom). Please take and send video clips of your dog in advance of the Zoom session (details on what to video and how to send it are given in the consultation guidelines). If you are opting for an entirely in-person/in-home session, then you will be contacted to arrange this.
3. During the Zoom call (which usually lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours) we will go through the history, discuss any videos you have sent (and I will also watch your dog on camera while we talk) and I will explain why your dog is behaving the way he is and what I am recommending. If at the end of the 2.5 hours you wish to continue for longer, this is charged at the follow-up rate.
4. Optional home visit (unless not currently availble due to the covid situation).You can request this at any stage after your Zoom consultation.
5. An optional written report or bullet-point summary (if requested) is then written up plus and this, along with the Zoom recording and any relevant handouts will then be sent to you within 7 days. The report is also sent to the referring vet.
6. Follow-up support is then provided either in the form of email support. After the first month, additional Zoom follow up sessions can also be arranged (charged separately).
If you are unable to use Zoom, or any other video calling programme, a purely in-person consultation can be arranged if being offered at the time (this changes with the Covid situation) , although this is more expensive.
For more detailed description of the process (as well as details of how to complete the paperwork, how to prepare for your consultation and a list of postcodes I cover for home visits) please see Consultation Guidelines on the Bookings and Downloads page.
In line with all industry and regulated guidelines, all methods are entirely force-free and no aversives will be used. For more information see Methods.
Please note that I do not generally take Shepherd breeds (ie German/Belgian/Dutch Shepherd dogs) - as we are lucky enough in Dorset to have Pat Tagg, a leading expert in these breeds - so I send all such cases to her. Please ask if you would like her details, or search Dogtaggs.If Pat is not taking new clients, then I may be able to help.
1. Fees for Zoom consultation with optional subsequent home visit
Zoom Consultation fee (covering preparation, zoom consultation, recording, 1 month's follow-up by email, and generic handouts):
£190 (1 dog)
£210 (2 dogs)
£230 (3 or more dogs)
Part of this fee - the holding fee (between £90 - £120 depending on number of dogs), which is later deducted from the total consultation fee) - is taken when the questionnaire and referral form are sent in. This is fully refundable if the appointment is postponed or cancelled more than 3 working days prior to the appointment, but is forfeit in full if cancellation is made at less than 3 days notice as this helps to pay for the time already spent on the case including sending and receiving paperwork, liaising with you and your vets, reading and making notes on the questionnaire and medical records, scheduling the Zoom session and watching video clips.
Plus optional Home visit appointment at your home/in your garden after the Zoom session (if desired)
£75 for up to 75 minutes (almost always enough)
+ £60 per hour thereafter (rounded up to the nearest 15 minutes, but not normally necessary)
Plus a callout charge
2 Purely in-person consultation (includes 1 month's follow-up by email or single zoom session, and generic handouts) All done on a single home visit - no Zoom element.
£400 Plus callout charge (1 Dog)
£420 Plus callout charge (2 Dogs)
£450 Plus callout charge (3 Dogs)
Part of this fee - the holding fee ( £150-£170 depending on number of dogs, which is later deducted from the total consultation fee) - is taken when the questionnaire and referral form are sent in. This is fully refundable if the appointment is postponed or cancelled more than 3 working days prior to the appointment, but is forfeit in full if cancellation is made at less than 3 days notice as this helps to pay for the time already spent on the case including sending and receiving paperwork, liaising with you and your vets, reading and making notes on the questionnaire and medical records, scheduling the Zoom session and watching video clips.
Brief 1-page bullet-point summary of treatment plan:
£30 (1 dog)
£35 (2 dogs)
£40 (3 dogs)
Follow-ups (via Zoom) or time beyond the first 2.5 hours in main consultation:
£50 per hour, rounded up to the nearest 15 minutes.
Detailed written "Behaviour Modficiation Plan" /report (instead of single page summary)
£90 (1 dog)
£100 (2 dogs)
£110 (3 dogs)
Recording of Zoom session sent via Wetransfer
See Bookings and Downloads for a downloadable Callout Charge Chart
I accept cash (in person only), cheques (Made payable to Helen Taylor Dog Training and Behaviour) or bank transfers (please ask for details). All fees are payable at the end of each session.