Hi, I'm Louise, the behaviourist/trainer for All Four Paws Training. In the summer of 2008, I graduated from the University of Aberystwyth with a degree in Animal Behaviour. The degree involved looking at animal behaviour in terms of both biology and psychology, including how behaviours evolved, why animals behaved in the way they do and some of the biochemical reasons behind behaviour. I believe this is an important base for my knowledge, as I have some understanding of each of the complex interactions that create behaviour.
I have always had a strong interest in animals - previously working at a riding school where I was involved with all aspects of equine management, a veterinary surgery, boarding kennels/cattery and with the Veterinary Laboratory Agency. From a young age, I have wanted to work in a practical way with animals, aiming to improve their quality of life and bring enjoyment to the people around them.
I also foster dogs for ARC (Animal Rescue Cymru), a local charity that aims to re-home dogs and other animals, and help with any behavioural issues they may have. I have also had some experience with reptiles, having had a family tortoise for some years.
I have two dogs of my own, both Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Red is my five year old male who I've owned since he was 10 weeks old. His "big sister" is Cranberry, a ten(ish!) year old Ridgeback bitch. She was a rescue who joined our family in May 2008. She had a bad start in life, being used as a breeding bitch and suffering rough treatment at the hands of her previous owners. She's now a happy, confident girl who loves following Red everywhere!
Above is Cranberry enjoying a walk in the snow.
My experience of dogs is extremely varied, having worked with a wide variety of breeds and cross-breeds, pets and working dogs.
Each method I use is reward based, and tailored to the individual. Punishment does not feature in my methods, as I feel that this is ineffective and does not help in creating a positive, trusting relationship between human and animal.
The training method used in each situation depends upon the reasoning behind why the animal is exhibiting that behaviour, so at the beginning of each consult an in-depth questionnaire is completed with the owner(s) to establish why the animal is behaving the way it is, thus the best course of action to take to change it.