Helen Taylor, BSc, CCAB 

 

Professional Dog Behaviourist

 

 

Call now on 07951 985193  or email us on enquiries@helentaylordorset.co.uk

...Helping your best friend to be even better...

 

Why have a behavioural consultation?

Behavioural problems in dogs arise for many different reasons, and many different factors may be involved. Gaining a good understanding the impact of these factors 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 like aggression.

 

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help and attempted treatment of behavioural problems by unqualified, unregulated practitioners (who often use outdated, unproven methods) can easily make behavioural problems worse or result in new behavioural problems emerging.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 specialises in puppy behaviour problems (with very young puppies, a referral is not always necessary), aggression towards people (whether familiar or unfamiliar) and separation problems, but also takes cases involving noise phobias, aggression towards other dogs in the same house and predatory chase problems. She does not take on cases involving German/Dutch/Belgian Shepherd dogs (as there is another local behaviourist who specialises in these breeds) or cases in which aggression to unfamiliar dogs is the primary reason for the referral. 

 

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. 

 

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 always via Zoom, which covers everything an in-home consultation used to. But she also offers a short in-home follow-up session when it's necessary and when the client is within her catchment area. 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 reason:

 

  • Zoom consultations are much cheaper, as time and expense of travel need not be factored in, nor does the cost of time lost due to traffic jams or trying to find addresses. 
  • Zoom consultations are much safer - not just in terms of Covid, but also in cases involving aggression towards visitors.
  • Zoom consultations with video clips sent in advance allow the behaviourist to see your dog's behaviour in more different situations, and much more naturally than an in-person visit, during which we often only see the dog inside your home. 
  • Zoom means behaviourists are not limited only to clients in their own geographical area. 
  • Almost everything that can be done in person can also be done over zoom - demonstratrations (often better, as a demo can be setup and pre-recorded if needed), explanations, coaching on technique, etc.
  • Follow-up sessions are cheaper and easier, as the client can have as many short zoom calls as they wish, with no real minimum time needed (as there is no travel). 
  • Both dogs and owners tend to behave more naturally when the behaviourist is not present. 
  • Clients can have a recording of the entire consultation for future reference (as well as their written report). 

 

Many clients are initially sceptical about Zoom consultations. This is entirely understandable but is usually ultimately unfounded. 

 

The process


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). 

 

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. At the end of the session we can discuss whether an in-person visit (in your home or garden) is necessary. If we feel that it is, and you are in my catchment area, an appointment is then made for this. Alternatively, you can wait to see how you feel after receiving your report. 


4. A written report, along with a recording of the zoom session (if available) plus any relevant handouts will then be sent to you within 7 days. The report is also sent to the referring vet. 


5. Follow-up support is then provided either in the form of email support, OR a short zoom follow-up session can be arranged. After the first month, additional Zoom follow up sessions can also be arranged (charged separately). 

 

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 Downloads and Forms 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.

 


Fees


Consultation fee (covering preparation, zoom consultation, report, 1 month's follow-up by email or single zoom session, and generic handouts ): 

 

£200 (1 dog)

£220 (2 dogs)

£240 (3 dogs)

 

A holiding fee of £50 (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 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. If the appointment is postponed up until 8 am on the morning of the Zoom session for genuinely unavoidable reasons, the deposit will be rolled over to the new appointment.

 

Home visit appointment at your home/in your garden (if necessary and only available in the following postcodes: BA8, DT9, DT10, DT11 north of Blandford, SP7, SP8) 

 

£120 for up to 75 minutes (almost always enough)

+ £60 per hour thereafter (rounded up to the nearest 15 minutes)

 

 

Payment

 

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.