blog, Uncategorized

How looking at reactivity with a different Lens and alternative approaches to “training” can change outcomes deeply. Tillys story …

This is Tilly. She is an 8-year-old Retriever. She has had reactive responses to some dogs, especially when taken by surprise or when she can’t create space, since she was attacked as a young dog. Her family have managed for the past while but after an event at home out of the blue they asked for help. Tillys mum chose Peaceful Paws because we look at the needs holistically, considering every aspect that might impact her need to respond with a growl to an unexpected approach.

Tilly is a calm and happy dog; her one-off response was out of character. Our first place to investigate is pain and health, including nutrition, gut, water, sleep etc. As she is older, we expect some joint stiffness, but there is no obvious pain according to her Vet. Her approach to food is unusual, as is her response to us rewarding behaviours in general, she is disinterested. We looked at some high value food and favourite toys and she just wasn’t interested. However, interaction with her Mum was her highest reward.

We set up some Freework to explore this further. To see if free access to a wide range of food and toys without any pressure or expectation might have a different response. We were gathering information. She browsed, had a lick of cheese and some ham but ignored at other passes. she ignored her favourite toys. There was no concern about movement or her choice of surfaces. She did however grab a ball and take herself off, seemingly to process this unusual experience, she seemed to gain some comfort with the ball and then drop it and re-engage.

What we did notice was her constant look back to her mum for permission and reassurance. She regularly referred back. She found making her own choices hard. We also discovered her Mum has an aversion to meat. The response is visceral. It raised a question, with Tillys very close relationship was she gathering information from her Mum about the safety or appropriateness of their shared experiences? Over the next couple of weeks, they worked on more freework and adding in activities to support Tilly to gain confidence in her own independence. They also worked on some focus games with the attention from Mum as the reward, including some ball fun, Tilly has still used balls as a comfort, it was noted that her unfortunate event at home was related to a ball.

Next, we unpacked her reactive responses more. We wanted to gain information around the days around the unfortunate home event, including any events with dogs locally and the outcomes on both Mum and Tilly. This is where Tillys humans began to learn more about her needs and the communications she has been unable to make heard. We explored what might have been “Filling her Stress and Arousal Bucket”. This is an analogy which enables us to explore all the events and feelings Tilly may have had which contribute to the accumulation of stress and any lovely events which might empty it (as well as lovely busy things that add to it!). The Tricky moments or discomfort or worry, including worry about her mum, add to her bucket. She has a reduced capacity for independent management of self-confidence and so her capacity to manage the load is reduced. She has a lovely quiet loved life, and this will definitely help empty it sometimes. She loves ball fun; this will fill a little with fun arousal. Find out more about Buckets

We looked at how many events, and what they looked like, she has roughly in a week and her Mum quickly saw how this could impact her feelings of control and safety. Once she understood what life was like for Tilly on the walk she believed she should have twice a day, setting up a plan was so much easier to understand.

During our explorations we also looked at how Mum felt about Tilly and the reactive events. This was our breakthrough. When we added Mums Stress Bucket too and considered Tillys reliance on her mum for support, safety and confidence as well as what to do, now Mum could see that they were both struggling with the worry of the encounters twice a day. Mum was really reluctant to get out and face what would inevitably be stressful. She started the walk in trepidation.

So, in Session 2/5 we started to work on their Buckets. None of the usual Modification and protocol activities had yet been undertaken, we focussed on the WHOLEism of the needs of the whole family, their lifestyle emotional and physical wellness, their environments, their relationships, not just on the behaviours we were seeing.

Without this knowledge any structured behaviour modification work might be unsuccessful, until Mum feels more confident Tilly wont, she can’t be “coerced ” into working to manage her responses to the dogs she sees with food or games as her highest value is her interaction with Mum (who was struggling too).

They cut right down how often they put themselves through the pressure of a street walk encounter. They are lucky to have a field to use and that is what they did. They also played some focus games with balls and attention as the rewards and engagement focus. This, alongside the emptying of the Walk Stress Bucket, swapped their high cortisol impact on Nervous system also impacting their mental and physical wellbeing, for high dopamine and serotonin happy hormones which in turn impacted their outlooks and with Tilly more interest in food too.

In 3/5 session Mum was much more positive, she had been reframing her approach to the world with Tilly beyond home. She was aware of how her own behaviours are impacting Tillys ability to make decisions and choices and how Tillys confidence relies on her own. She has been working on her own mindset. This is now a deeper focus for her as we venture into the world again.

Our next steps was to start the positivity to the outside world BEFORE we left! Mum spent some time whilst she got ready for the walk thinking about what her happy walk will look like. The weather, the environment, her own good feelings. We also changed Tillys walk equipment. She had been walked on a collar which adds to the fear when there is neck pressure and her lead kept short, reducing her chance make or indicate her wish to make choices about where she will go. She has a perfect fit 2 point of contact harness, fitted by a physio. She also has a double end lead which attaches both at the front and back. The lead, even double clipped, is longer than her previous one. This change in handling was at first a little different for Tilly and she took a few minutes to find her improved balance.

Her Mum however, quickly found her improved handling. We started with her own body and mind, standing up, balanced and loose is empowering. it feels more confident. The relaxation of the shoulders and loose holding of the lead helped her to feel mentally relaxed. We chatted as we moved and she was encouraged to converse positively with Tilly as they walked, to share directions and ask for choices, but also to share the observations she was making of the environment. she was mindful of the speed of her movement and as we slowed so did Tilly, who took more time to sniff and mark. This slowed her busy mind enabling her to see more of what was around her, Mum noticed this too, she commented that usually she just focussed on getting home as soon as she had left home so marched to get it overwith.

We spent some coaching time on a loose relaxed handling, so the lead was loose and had some space for Tilly to make decisions where to sniff and when asked some space to make direction choices. What we did also notice was that Tilly was referring to Mum much less, this raised the question, was she more confident, or was she disconnected because she could not rely on her safe haven in this situation? Ideally, we want a balance. Tilly should be encouraged to be confident to explore her world and make good choices, but also, she needs to be connected when they have shared decisions to make or when Mum becomes the Safe Haven with active decision making.

We then began for the first time to add in activities to develop a shared decision-making relationship and to gain more focus from Tilly to her Mum.

Our first game was one to play every now and then, on lead and off lead. “Let’s Go” (or A-B) helps to develop a cheery way to make space and to enable them to make a decision about what next. We played it on different times on our walk so the game was not a predictor of space making for a dog event. This was for Mum too, so she also had a fun and calm emotion attached to the game. A cheery “Let’s go” and a run or quick move to another place, backwards, sidewards, behind a car or wall or down to the river. Mum learned a handling technique which was confident, and one Tilly was happy to respond to which also added a change in the way the lead handled so it is a body cue too. We now need to teach Tilly some short fun activities to play together when they get “there”. This is sometimes just some balls to find (ordinarily it might be a food to seek). For Tilly (and many dogs) the focus relationship time is rewarding, and it builds a routine which is familiar.

Mum went home buoyant, the walk was the most fun and relaxing time they had out together in a long, long time. She is changing her mindset and growing some skills to add to their toolbox which is raising her self-confidence and, as they are so bonded, that is rubbing off on Tilly.

Our next steps are to learn some more fun games to use to create a confident mindset together. Tilly may never be totally keen on dogs inside her chosen bubble, but that’s OK, her mum has a goal of them feeling better about walking together, to enjoy their environment and be realistic about what happens when there is an encounter. She knows how to be Tillys Safe Haven and how to help her when times are tricky. They are well on their way to achieve that.

If you would like to know more about a WHOLEistic approach to behaviour and training please get in touch, Tillys story is one of many!

blog, Uncategorized

Heat and Dogs

In the UK in Summer 2022 we have experienced the hottest summer on record with several record breaking days and runs of heat. there is also a drought and this leaves the ground parched and hot, retaining and reflecting the growing ambient heat, day and night. UK homes are not built for extended heat, indeed they are built to reatin heat to coonserve winter fuel. we are unused to heat and dont have air con as the warmer climates have to cool homes.

As the summer has drawn on there have been continuous messages and infographcs to remind guardians of the care needed in hot conditions. Some illustrations are below. There is information graphically to describe the temperatures and conditions which could stress dogs. Explanations of who are the most vulnerable to take care of. Heatstroke symptom checkers. There are also the stark danger warning posts and heartbreaking posts from Vets and guardians alike about dogs who have succumbed.

This blog is not intended to go over tthe basic information offered, they are illustrated within it. This is to offer some background to explain the why Canine Wellness Professionals are so vehement in spreading this message. The warnings are not just the “woolly”over caring dog world they are based in biology.

So many posts and questions abound

“My dog is off his food” “My dog wont go out/is so slow on a walk ” “My dog won’t play much”

” I can’t do the training you want as he just gives up” “She wont even do the fun games” “she is fidgetting all night”

” Just get on with it… dogs in hot countries do” ” they NEED a walk it is cruel not to let them chase after their ball, go running” “Its fine to walk out at midday his paws dont burn he never bothers”

… and on and on. Discussion after discussion. Rant after rant (both the get on with crew and the stay home and keep cool crew.

The background info to the concerns and warnings

Home living domesticated dogs have evolutionarily be bred to live in a temperate climate; neither very hot nor very cold, a “middle” common global temperature, dipping down in winter raising for summer, but neither extreme, and not for any length of time. Biologically they are set up for a mid range. The domesticated body (humans, cats dogs) can adjust for the odd warm day from time to time without too much internal stress and function as normal.

However, when we have extreme heat (over 28C) and that is over an extended time there is a biological stress that continues cumulitively over the time the heatwave occurs. The heat day and night for many days (even weeks at 26c and over for summer 2022) impacts biologically, the body systems struggle, which impacts emotionally and behaviourally too.

As a huge generalisation it can take around 60 days for the body to start to become acclimatised to a new weather environment change. Luckily our weather is not (yet) extreme for this length of time. We would really need to adjust our lifestyle and our homes if this becomes the case in the UK.

What is happening internally over these hot periods?

This is a very basic summary (so apologies to biologists/zoologists).

The body is set up to work to stay in balance (homeostasis). The brain and gut work hard separately and together to balance all the chemicals that are adjusted nanosecond by nanosecond, It is a finly tuned process. The brain or gut receiving external and internal information communicating and setting off the run of actions to maintain the balance, physically and emotionally.

When there is an extreme impact the body goes into disarray to balance the disrupted systems. For minor impacts this is unoticable, it gets warm , we get thristy, sweat. There are a wide range of actions the body engages to deal with an extreme heat situation. These are operated from the survival centres in the brain. The messages that go out are to do everything to protect the major organs and maintain the balance to keep the body functions steady. These responses are automatic and meant to last for a short while becuase they take away some resources from parts of the body needed for longer term functions (like digestion).

When the “threat” continues the organs are put under some stress and need to conserve their status. the body constantly tries to reduce the temperature that is rising internally and to protect from the external threat. This means that behaviours will change to reduce the impact of extra not needed functions, like movement, eating and non essential activities like play and social or environmenal exploration reduces. The brain is so busy balancing the body it finds it hard to think, so learning is impaired.

This balancing act begins when the temperature raises above that which the body is buiult to function. This can be as low as 23/24c. By 27/28 the body is struggling to do normal everyday activities so any added pressures from walking or running or lengths of time exercising or thinking can overwhelm the body. 32c is considered to be dangerous for all dogs with the balancing systems in overwhelm and the chance that some will need to be shut down. At around 36 ambient temperature the body now has a balance of external and internal heat , it is incredibly hard to distrubute heat outwards.

This is compounded by the added dangers at lower temperatures in anumals who have added health needs. this includes: Flat faced dogs or those with impaired breathing, obeseity, very young (under 6m), senior (7 and above) those with underlying conditions, minor or major, even minor issues suh as allergies have the body already in disarray.

“how would dogs in hot countries survive then if they dont go out twice a day for a run”.

This is a commin question oor babsis for a heavy discussion. Well, firstly they have the acclimatisation, through generations. They also (possibly as part of this generational epigentics) have different behaviours and habits.

Generally dogs in tropical or sustained heat environments are given more freedoms and not habitually lead walked. Or they live in homes set up for heat, air con, quiet daytimes with social times later in the evening as it cools – remembering the closer to the tropics the earlier the sun goes down, there is less time in the day with full sun.

They are “crepuscular” going out at dawn and dusk for engagement, food, social time, exploring the environment. They then spend their day in a cool place, sleeping , dosing. The evening cool is time to socialise, explore until night falls and they find their overnight sleeping space. Rarely are they out in the sun unless by own choice.

Our UK dogs just dont have these freedoms of choice. We lead walk, often for a specific time or distance, or drive and get a run. But the choice of where when and how is human led. Would they choose to go for a drive and a long wood run? Or a lead walk along the streets and parks? Maybe, Maybe not. We really should hear their decisions around this. Are they keen to get in the car or their lead on? Do they seem slower or tired? If you turn back do they move to the car or head for home? Are they showing signs of getting hot? Listen and respond, even the late and early walks may be too much day after day.

“My dog wont toilet at home/ I live in a home with no garden”

This is a genuine difficuclty and one I have much sympathy for. it woudl seem that this is the reason some dogs must have an onlead walk to the park in the heat. A little planning could avoid cumulitive stress. Our dogs generally have toilet habits including time and where. By practicing different times to go out, including early mornings and later evenings we can reset that habit, ina not stressful time. Ideally choose a time under 23c, which in our August evenings has been impossible for sure. we also know they often have a special place. Why not go directly there, if necessary drive if it is a while away. it may also be possible (out of a stressful time) to retrain to toilet very close to the home or in the garden. when puppy training, rescue toilet training or moving home I suggest taking a sample of the grass or mop up some wee and take the collected poo and leave in the garden (hard to use this in an open space). Take the dog at their chosen time and hang out whilst they explore and hopefully will go. This takes some persistance.

my dog is fine out walking, he needs to play and run or he will be a pain” ” we are only doing an hour in the field for a play and run” ” its just a cool fun run in the woods” ” he always runs with me at lunchtime/after workin the morning”

Coupled with ” my dog is really lethargic” ” my dog is not eating much” ” my dog is so slow walking” ” my dog is very grumpy when I get him to do….”

These are all clear messages from the dog and their internal systems that they are in overwhelm , pysically and emotionally.

What is wrong with a good run and play? My young dog wants to. I think young dogs or those who are very human programmed to do certan activities at certain times in certain ways are in automatic mode, their brain is by passing the information that there is a danger. It is often why they so easily succumb to heatstroke in lower temperatures but over exercise.

So why is exercise, the “Dont walk your Dog” message so strong , “a missed walk wont kill your dog but a hot walk may” meme so shared by wellness professionals? Simply the biology again.

Exercise and fun activities create the release of chemicals which flood the muscles and systems to produce muscle movement , more excitement or the run run run message the more chemicals flood in. the muscles are flooded wiht blood and oxyegen creating heat. internal heat, competing with the external heat and the bodys ability to balance. this also causes the heart to race and lungs to breath faster, creating yet moe internal heat. The chemicals that create excitement (or fear) have a knock on affect to th eproduction of other chemicals , some disperse quickly many stay longer, meaning th ebody continues to heat long after the exercise/excitment has ceased. Too much exercise causes an accumulation of these chemicals over time and the anxiety caused by overwhelm will keep them topped up.

even if th edog seems fine at the time, it will be impacting that day and subsequently.

This is how heatstroke seems to happen suddenly, why it can take over a dog who has been quiet since their morning walk. This is why Wellbeing practiotioners say Limited exercise and hear your dog and advocate for them.

“my dog is off her food”

As with all behaviours noting when food is not important to the dog is a meaningful observation. Food/nutrition is of course important long term for survival, but not vital in the short term. it is why when under physical and emotional stress the gut shuts off for a while. Digestion is energy consuming and it creates heat, the last pressure needed in heat or anxiety and fear overwhelm. Water is of ourse vital but with systems struggling the messages may not be consistent , here we need to advocate and note fluid, just as we do with ourselves and kids.

So when your dog is lethargic, not wanting to play or engage, getting tired quickly, struggling to sleep, grumpy, off food this is their body slowing things down to protect and conserve the vital organs. We need to listen, not carry on with our preprogrammed human expectations and habits. think of the why, what s going on biologically and how we are contributing to the overwhelm.

All that said. Don’t panic. Hearing your dog. Managing their environment knowing what is happening should be all that’s needed.

All about us, Uncategorized, workshops

Update – and some insight into my Continuing Professional Development

I have continued with my committment to continually updating my knowledge and skills and have undertaken new learning and updates of prior learning in the past 12 months with many xourses ongoing. Much of the learning the past 2 years has been irtual via online conferences and workshops from a wide array of global leaders in their field from every area of the canine world.

I am now one of the first Approved KAD (Kids Around Dogs) Practitioner which I am thrilled about. Initially we are working with children who struggle with fears and worries around dogs limiting their access t o family and making life out and about fearful. As a parent and a Child Educator (Headteacher and Teacher for 0-9 years old) this is important to understand and have empathy for. this programme is online for the majority and in short fun active chunks suitable for 4 yoear and upwards.Watch out for Blogs and case studies. I am hoping this will develop and add some learning for those kids who have an overconfidence  or lack skills in understanding the needs and communication of dogs.When schools  and human interaction is safer (ideally next September) I am hoping to offer fun programmes for schools. SO many families have welcomed a dog in the past year and so many contact me for help.

My considerable studies have added an accredited  Diploma in Holistic Canine Behaviour with 100% pass. This was a challenging course with Canine Principles which I loved. The learning here was backed up by many short courses and webinars and longer courses from both Canine Principles and The Dog Training College as well as a wide range of internationally recognised providers across the globe.

I have widened my studies into other areas which consider a Holistic focus for Dogs wellbeing physical and emotional. This has included a look at Nutrition which we are beginning to understand has a huge impact upon behaviour and lifelong wellness. I undertook a really challenging scientifically Certificate in  Nutrition  course (USA Accredited)  with Dogs Naturally University presented by world renowned Nutrition expert Dana Scott. this has been backed up by a current longer Certificated Nutrition course presented by Butternut Box Nutritional Vet Ciara Clarke. As a Butternut Box Ambassador It is vital I have a great knowldge of the impact of nutrition on wellness. to try out this great complete fresh food formulated by Ciara the Vet here is a special code for you, 75% off the first box and 25% off the second. Butternut take into account the needs of your dog and set up the boxes for your needs.

I have continued with and completed the studies and case studies for Botanical  Self Healing (Zoopharmacognosy) with My Animal Matters and submitted several case studies which have been totally approved. I love this practice and, as it is best with guardian coaching and support it works so well electronically,. So added to my service menu is Zoom Botanical Self Healing. there is a blog explaining more both here and on my Find a Dog Trainer link with The Dog Training College 

This link will also lead to reviews on some of the many sessions I have undertaken.

I am adding to my specialisms in Puppy training and development with School Of Canine Science Puppy Lab and Dog Training College Puppy Specialist. Also with Dog Training College I am completing specialist trainer status in Canine Body Language (for which I am already an instructor) and also Reactivity Specialist.

I am really enjoying modules from School of Canine Science Behaviour Bible focussing on the detailed science of the internal dog, including neurobiology, endocrinolgy and genetics.

We are currently fine tuning some changes in services in line with the range of learning undertaken. Some of this will be online and also a hybrid offer to suit the changing needs of our clients


Help! My dog is a Fearful Fido, Anxious Annie, Grumpy Genghis.

Actually my boy IS Grumpy Genghis! He is also a fearful Fido and Anxious Annie, all these apply to him at different times. He has been called REACTIVE or I label him with the term “Having reactive behaviours”. This is not really very useful, everyone has a different vision of what reactive means, looks like, why it occurs, what should be done to “stop it” .

His behaviour is actually an expression of an emotional state. An emotion in that moment, or linked to past emotional responses which build and have become anxiety and stress.

The why is less important than the how can we help him. It is however useful to know, as it can explain the nuances of his specific responses. His very strong fear of black dogs, of Labradors. This is likely to be the type of dog which he had a one off encounter with and which began his journey from happy friendly young dog, to a dog who is fearful of the world.

So how can we help dogs like Genghis who have struggled to come to terms with an event which made him fearful and anxious ? Who look from the outside aggressive, angry, dangerous.

Getting some professional help is key. As is finding like minded skilled and knowledgeable friends. Supporting a fearful dog  is isolating and emotionally draining. It is embarrassing being at the other end of a lead to a snarling, shouting, lunging dog or one who is cowering , too scared to move, or barking and backing away, as people TUT and suggest you muzzle or don’t go to places nice dogs go, who suggest you take control and show him who is boss. None of this is supportive or helpful, but luckily many of those comments are borne of the ignorance of what is actually happening, I was once that person.

What  does the term “Reactive Behaviour mean? It is simply a response to something that is out of proportion to the level of threat or excitement. This can include lunging barking growling snapping biting, it can include freezing or rolling over, it can include super excitement or frustration.

How can we help ? Help our own fearful anxious and grumpy, over responsive  dogs , but also help those who encounter us to understand the everyday struggles we have?

The Yellow Dog Scheme can get the message out, dogs wearing yellow ribbons or leads indicate a give me space. Space is the most important every dogs space need is different, so when asked to STOP or you see someone gently but quickly moving their dog away, please keep your dog away so we can keep ours emotionally safe.

For those of us supporting a grumpy  fearful, anxious dog  or their people, there are a huge range of ways to help.

  • Behaviour support from a knowledgeable skilled positive focused trainer or behaviour consultant. to assess your partnership and tweak some handling skills, offer ideas for helping the emotional response, offer you some emotional support too.
  • Learning about the biology of the emotional and physical responses. the neurology of reactive behaviours
  • Understanding THIS dog, Be your dogs GEEK.
  • Understand the nuances of Canine Communication and Body Language so you can hear rhe dogs messages but also, most importantly, read the communication of other dogs you encounter, to make that decision to move away fast or to ask for the owners support.
  • Advocate for the dog.
  • Offer masses of chances to have calmness (see the blog Calm Dogs are Happy Dogs) . Did you know it can take 72 hours for a dog to recover from an event? Us too!
  • Learn some games and activities at home , in a safe place, to play in tricky situations.
  • Offer alternatives to walks regularly, have fun at home, play games, do some fitness fun, have some forage and snuffle time, learn some scenting techniques, learn some more cues or tricks. 15 mins fun or sniffing or foraging is as tiring as an hours walk, add in some fitness activities and you will have a less worried and fit dog, without adding to their anxiety bucket.
  • Find your local Secure Field for safe off lead fun.
  • Find out and use some of the many holistic therapies and practices that can ease anxiety and tension, such as TTouch, K9 Massage, Herbal Support, Bach Flower remedies, Botanical Self Selection.

If you would like to know more and are local or can travel to Somerset I will be offering a whole day workshop to help you understand more about all I have summarised. This will be especially helpful for professionals in all dog services to learn more about Scaredy dogs so they can help them and their families to be safe.

Please contact me for more information.

If you would like specialist , experienced 1-1 support or just a chat  with someone who understands, about your dog or one you work with, then I offer face to face meetings or a skype or electronic session then have a look at the Services. I am happy to have an initial chat and offer some general help too.


Firework and Seasonal Celebration Support


My dog is scared of fireworks (and other noises) and help for other seasonal events

Why do some dogs feel firework fear?

  • For some the noise and also the concussivness of modern fireworks is scary, initiating a biological fear response.
  • This can happen any time with any dog, even if they have been ok before.
  • The “ noise” can physically cause discomfort as the dog is sensitive to the air waves, the ground conclusiveness as well as the sound . Dogs hear 4x the distance we do. They pick up higher frequencies than us and the pitch can be excruciating.
  • They are erratic and unpredictable, both within a specific display and between displays ( which now happen from October to January . They seem to stop and then start up .. often louder or a different sound . it is the unpredictability which is so scary.
  • Dogs who are easily sound spooked are more likely to become firework fearful.
  • Managed Exposure and a programme can help young dogs and puppies manage the range of novel sound better.
  • NEVER “flood” by forcing them to watch
  • The more confident the dog is in the first exposure or in subsequent ones the more “bombroof” they will be. This is true of subsequent events, the happier the dog is the easier they will cope.
  • Dogs who are generally anxious or fearful will cope less well with novel sounds.
  • Dogs with any pain or who are unwell will cope less well .
  • The emotional state in the household around this time also impacts, try to be calm and jolly, if others are responding to the noise fearfully or if there has been stress and anxiety generally could add to the anxiety.
  • What does fear look like ?
    A dogs trust survey found 72% of dogs were adversely affected with 10 % seriously impacted.

What does canine fear and anxiety ( stress) look like?

  •  Lip licking, yawning
  • Panting when no exercise or not over heated
  • Refusing food
  • Being “naughty” or “stubborn” (refusing to listen or obey)
  • Very flighty or over excited, easily goes “over the top”
  • Trembling , shaking or drooling
  • Barking whining howling
  • Clingy, or wanting to hide away
  • Seeking touch when usually not keen to be handled or refusing touch when usually snugly
  • Cowering
  • Being destructive
  • Urinating defecating or vomiting for no obvious cause

Learn to read what is usual for your dog. What is their normal behaviour or response to the environment, what is their default like? Learn to read body language .

How can we help?

You cannot reinforce fear by offering appropriate support, If your dog seeks comfort give it, if they seek solitude enable it with your support .

  • Make sure all health conditions are under control, both physical and emotional , pain can impact fear thresholds . Get a vet check , especially ears.
  • Make a Plan
  • Get the whole family and any friends and neighbours involved. Share the plan so everyone knows .
  • Check up on local displays and note the times and days. Local FB groups can be helpful here. If you know local neighbours always have a party or use them on other winter occasions visit and explain if possible and ask for some warning so you can put your plan into action.
  • Change your walk plan if you usually walk in the evening in the winter. Go during the daylight hours (before 16:00 ) or early morning. If this is not possible then miss walks for a few days around this time – don’t be caught out it could have a detrimental impact.
  • If you have to go out use a double lead on collar and harness in case dogs slips out in their fear and flight. Do not let off lead at all.
  • If you have low gates and fences make sure you go into the garden on a lead … try and get the after dinner poo and pee done early, feed early (or use in games … see below)
  • Try not to leave your dog home alone, if this is not possible then make sure your plan includes how you will enable them to be safe without your support. Or arrange for a sitter who knows the plan
  • Plan for being engaged with your dog on the main display days (this is usually between 17:00 and 23:00 )

What to include in your plan

calm games snuffle box


Some music –

Consider a therapeutic option – remember there will be a range of what your dogs may respond to, what works for one will not for another, this is because their emotion is different in each case.



  • Bach rescue remedy – very effective for most animals (including us) it is not necessary to have the more extensive dog version. It works with fear of both known and unknown origin and shock.
    Botanical selections, specifically oils.
  • BE CAREFUL – do not vaporise, do not add to the dog, or its bedding (use a separate cloth the dog can choose to engage with
  • make sure there is an exit.
  • Do not use with children under 3 or pups under 6 months.

G self selection powders



Other options

  • consult a vet for clinical support
  • zyclene is often recommended by vets as is nutricalm. ask your vet for information.
  • Tranquil Blend by Hedgerow hounds can help if given a loading  dose usually several weeks
  • skullcap and valerian and st johns wort from Dorwest can also be useful, needing a loading  time of several weeks.

For any further help please contact me: @peacefulpawstherapy (FB)


Virtual Consultations


After a many requests and a good deal of successful voluntary electronic support across the UK and indeed globe I have decided to offer a virtual service.

The Electronic Consultation  can cover Training, Therapy or Integrated  Training and Bach/Distance Reiki and Healing).

Following  an in depth written consultation from the Guardian, there will be a discussion around the issues raised. This can be done in a format chosen by the Client, including: email, Skype, Personal Message, WhatsApp or phone.

The initial Consultation will take around and hour for planning and up to an hour discussion at an agreed time. Following this we will put a plan together to initiate the Training and or Therapy.

There will be an open contact via email or PM throughout the following week where the client can share success and further challenge, including video and photos.

There will be 3 following formal  weekly checki-ns; at each the progress will be assessed and the plan modified as needed.

There will be an option for booking further ongoing support.

In some cases (within 1 hour drive of Taunton) it may be useful for a meet up in person. Travel expenses will be charged .


  • This service is not suitable for deep behaviour issues and any that seem outside the remit of this service will be referred to a Behaviourist.
  • Common training issues can be covered.
  • Without the personal input , in line with the agreed plan,  progress will be limited.
  • Some needs can not be supported electronically in some cases,.


llw focus meme