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The low down on Calm Down

21/03/2024 - About what I do

This week I wanted to give you a little bit of insight into my Calm Down Canine Workshops which are part of my Calm Down Canine Programme. Here’s a Q & A – let me know if you have any other questions and I will add them in.

What is the Calm Down Canine Programme?

My Calm Down Canine Programme helps dogs who struggle to calm around people and other dogs.
These are often friendly dogs, they can be fine off lead, or have lived with another dog, but just don't know how to behave when put under pressure.  Or they may be dogs who you just don't know how they will behave around other dogs because they have not had the opportunity because of their behaviour.
Many of the clients I have seen have tried various sorts of training, but have still got an out of control dog who is not able to be calm. That’s often because they have got stuck in the rut of trying to train the behaviour out of the dog.
My approach is different. We start by looking at your and your dog’s behaviour, work through some foundation training for you regarding handling, then we look at helping your dog make good decisions. There are so many elements to this to work through – learning how to slow down, to pause, to stop, when to interrupt and when to let your dog make a good choice, how to ensure you are risk assessing and forward planning, what to do when it goes wrong.

Where do the workshops fit in?

Once a dog has been through a Calm Down Canine Programme, many of them are ready to join in the workshops.

They are an opportunity to practice in a safe environment, knowing that everyone understand the issues that you are facing. There is no judgement or embarrassment. There is lots of support and encouragement. We film things and review them, then we have opportunities to have another go.

Who attends?

People who I, or a trusted colleague, have worked with 1 to 1. That means you have the same training, understanding and foundations as everyone else. The workshops are also a chance for you to feedback to others and are very participatory.  
The workshops are not right for every person or dog. We will judge that together and decide the best course of action for you.
 Sometimes we might continue working 1 to 1, either alongside or separately from the workshops.
The dogs that attend are all shapes and sizes, but commonly the dogs tend to be larger. I think that’s because they are often more difficult to handle for their owners. At the moment regular attendee’s breed range from collies and labradors to small terriers.

What’s the format?

We have up to 4 dogs in each workshop. They take place in St Just, but on occasion we might go out and about.
We may work with dogs 1 to 1, in groups of two, or in groups of four. That depends on the dogs we have, and what is appropriate for them on the day. Dogs need to be happy being left in the cars, and attendees need to bring a car, as they won’t be out working all the time.
The first thing we often do is a stroll around the field with the dogs at a suitable distance. This give everyone a chance to loosen up and see where they are with their dog and their handling. It gives me a chance to observe and have a chat with everyone as they go round. Dogs then go back in the cars and we decide what we are going to do.

What exercises do you do?

What we do varies so much but I will try to give you a flavour. You learn the foundation handling skills so that when there are those moments where the balance of control moves over to you, you have the skills to be able to help your dog. Then these are a few of the things we have worked on recently:

  •  We look at you setting up scenarios where you and your dog feel safe and are able to be calm.
  •  We sometimes structure a workshop as a group, more like a class,
  •  Often we set up situations that replicate 'real life' as much as possible.
  •  We practice moving around the environment, how you use the environment to anchor yourself.
  •  We look at how you are handling your dog  in that environment to give them the best chance of being calm.
  •  We look at pausing and stopping, and how that can help you and your dog.
  •  We discuss how our behaviour might change in stressful situations.
  •  We discuss risk assessing and forward planning.
  •  We think about when you might need to interrupt your dog, and when you let them make good choices.

It really is about who we have attending, how everyone is on the day, and what our goals are.

Can I come?

The first step is for us to have a chat about the challenges that you are facing. You can book in a call here
From there, we will decide what programme is right for you. It may be at the end of your Calm Down Canine Programme sessions, or part way through, or once we have done further support sessions that we decide that joining the group would work for you and your dog.
The booking is on a private link and you will be invited to a WhatsApp group where we chat about the session and very often the weather! And on that note ...

What attendees say

Here’s some comments from our private WhatsApp group -

Thank you for a fantastic session yesterday. It was so rewarding seeing some good progress.
You could almost hear him say "oh it's nothing, just another dog" and he turned.
Thank you Carolyn for another brilliant session. We have taken away lots of info and alot of things to think about.

Want to join in the fun and progress with your dog? Click here to book a call now and let's do this!