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Welcome to the new Beta Dogs website. Please be patient with any changes over the next few weeks as I tweak the site to make it easy for you to read and navigate.

In this Blog Post I'd like to briefly discuss what I call "The Downward Spiral". Recently I have been contacted by several clients whose dogs have become so difficult to handle that they can no longer be walked safely on lead, and certainly are not to be trusted off lead. This is usually paired with on-lead dog aggression and can result in the dog no longer being taken out and therefore being cooped up in a yard. Thus the Downward Spiral; dog is out of control so it rarely goes out, so its behaviour becomes worse every time it does get out, so the owners are more reluctant to take it out. Most of the time these behaviours are a result of a lack of training and socialisation, and as the dog ends up isolated from society, its skills deteriorate rather than improving. You can't tell a dog "go to your room and stay there until you learn to behave". Dogs don't work that way.

Sadly, many times socialisation is thought of as "put a bunch of dogs in a room or a pen and let them sort it out themselves" which results in doggy bullies picking on timid dogs and timid dogs learning defensive behaviours. At the same time, the dogs learn that their humans are not going to control the situation and help them if they need help.

This is where the training can help. First of all we need to teach the dog that there are right ways and wrong ways of behaving. Once they understand this language, then we can try to reintroduce them to the behavioural triggers and show them where the mistakes are being made, and how to get back to the right place, behaviourally.

At the same time we can show the dog that we are going to keep them safe. This is done through several avenues of the training method. Thus the frightened or bullying dog learns to listen to its handler under distraction, to trust the handler, and to look to them for guidance instead of taking the initiative.

A group of dogs of all sizes at St Kilda Dog Beach 2014
All dogs can learn to behave nicely.

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