I’ll teach you to speak Sighthound.

Sighthounds don’t speak English.

(Wouldn’t that be so cool if they did, though?)

But they do know how to talk to us. When they’re acting up, it’s usually because we’re missing the subtle signs they use to tell us what’s up. I teach owners & Sighthounds how to talk to each other, so you can improve their behaviour & live happily ever after.

General Training | Separation Anxiety | Aggression | Rescue Rehoming
“My greyhounds actually come when I call them, now!”

Both of our greyhounds’ recall was almost non-existent. We were afraid to let them off-lead unless we were in an enclosed area. We worked with Becca on recall training, and we have seen a big improvement in both dogs. We can finally let them off the lead!

Ross - Owner to greyhounds Hoya + Tripper, former runaways-at-the-ready

Sighthounds are the best dogs when you know how they think, act, and communicate.

Does Your Dog Need Treatment - or Just Training?

Treatment

Your dog needs behavioural treatment (which often includes an element of training) when they’re exhibiting signs of distress like separation anxiety, bouts of aggression, injuring themselves or others, nervousness, excessive barking or a depressed mood.

Training

Your dog just needs basic training if you want them to learn everyday commands, like coming back when they’re called, walking nicely on a loose lead, learning to use the toilet outdoors, acting politely in public, and ignoring smaller animals (especially the fluffy ones!)

Why does my dog have behaviour issues?

It’s frustrating when your dog is a challenge, but there’s always a cause. For example, a client of mine had a greyhound who had always been good around people, especially at the office! Suddenly, he started snapping at people he had always liked.

As a behaviourist, I’m trained to look at the big picture – what scientists call “animal welfare” – meaning their “whole life”, not just their symptoms. During treatment, I determined the dog was not getting enough personal space, walks, and time to “be a dog.” Once that was fixed, his snapping quickly stopped.

“My whippet did a 180° - Thanks Becca!”

My whippet, who had always been quite happy to be left alone, started to show signs of separation anxiety quite suddenly. She started following me to the door and howled when I left, unable to settle. Since working with Becca she has learnt to self-settle when I leave more consistently and I feel more confident that I’m doing the right things to help her feel comfortable.

Jo - Owner of Ada, feeling like her old self again

Reasons for Problematic Behaviour

The reasons for unwanted behaviour are complex.

Innate Behaviours

In some cases, your dog was just born that way. We all have unique personalities but we can also learn to change certain behaviours with consistent effort, and dogs are no different.

Welfare-Informed Holistic Care

My welfare-informed, holistic approach means I assess every area of your dog’s life, including health, nutrition, environment, and mental state.

I hope it comforts you to know that we can find the cause of your dog’s behaviour challenges and ease or eliminate them. In the majority of cases, we can make significant, permanent changes in your dog’s behaviour. My goal is to make life better for you and your pet because you both deserve to be happy.

Induced by Stress

Similar to humans, sighthounds can develop weird behaviour patterns after “stressful incidents”, like:

  • poor life experiences, prior to rehome/rescue
  • adjusting to a new home, after rehome/rescue
  • the birth of a new baby
  • a traumatic accident
  • a tough vet visit

These can create emotional patterns that result in unwanted behaviour, like aggression, anxiety, excessive chewing, pooping in the house, or attacking other animals.

Caused by Factors Over Time

If there’s been no stressful incident, there can be multiple, overlapping causes that shift over time, resulting in what appears to be a “sudden onset” issue.

Do You Need a Behaviourist or a Vet?

Behaviourists are trained to improve a dog’s mental health, which changes their actions. Every pattern your dog exhibits stems from their physical and mental health. The first step in working with me is usually to send over the vet referral form I provide you, as well as your vet records, so we can make sure there aren’t any health issues that are directly causing your dog’s behaviour challenges. Feel free to contact me first, as long as there are no obvious signs of physical ailments. If you need a vet, I’ll let you know.

Training Rehomed Rescues

Rescues, including those who come from racing environments, have particular nuances that require specialized training. If you have a rescue with behaviour issues, or you just want a little help settling them into their new environment, it’s best to hire someone who’s skilled with rescue dogs.

Rescue dogs can have certain environmental challenges, like:

Our rescue packages help you understand your dog & make them feel at home in their new environment, so they can become part of the family. This can ease or eliminate behaviour issues they have.

If your goal is to build a beautiful life with your rescue sighthound, I highly recommend we work together, so you and your dog know how to speak to each other from day one.

“From Terrified to Happy Cypriot in the City”

“I started working with Becca as my Cypriot rescue dog Debbie wasn’t settling into London life as well as I’d hoped. Her reactivity to people and especially other dogs was only getting worse, and even getting her out the front door without a mad panic was becoming impossible.

Becca worked with us to devise a realistic training plan, and we have made huge progress. The terrified dog who I thought would never be able to go off-lead is now happily playing in the park with a tennis ball every morning! It’s been such a huge confidence boost having Becca on our side, and her calm, friendly and flexible approach has been exactly what we needed. Thanks Becca, for all your help so far!”

Alice - Owner of Debbie, the newly-curious London Cypriot

Signs of Aggression

When you’re seeing signs or acts of aggression, our first priority is safety - yours, your dog’s, and the safety of other people and animals.

We’ll focus on ensuring you understand the laws and take the simple steps to immediately reduce any risks that may be present.

Then I’ll assess and diagnose the root cause of the aggression, and we’ll work together to resolve it. In many cases, a robust training plan can reduce or eliminate the aggressive behaviours.

Dogs always show signs of distress before becoming aggressive, but since people rarely go to school to learn about them, they’re easy to miss.

If your dog is exhibiting these behaviours, please get in touch with me immediately. The earlier we work together the less severe the issues will become. We may even avoid a serious injury to a person or another animal.

“Our dog bit another dog, so we sought help. Call Becca before you end up like we did!”

Our rescue Marley bit another dog on the street. He had always seemed stressed around other dogs, but we didn’t realize how close we were to the danger. Becca taught us how to train Marley’s brain to associate positive experiences with encountering other dogs, and how we could notice his subtle body language to prevent a future occurrence. I don’t think Marley will ever love other dogs, but he’s so much happier now and not as stressed around them.

Katie - Owner of Marley, newfound lover of parks

General Problematic Behaviour

Some dogs just have poor manners.

When they’re getting on your last nerve, behaviour training is a lifesaver and can happen at any age, from puppies to dogs in their prime. Allow me to swoop in and teach you how to speak sighthound.

The great thing about them is they’re fully willing to be trained.

(Remember, they’re royalty.)

So if they’re not following your commands, you may just be speaking Greek to them. I’ll show you how to change their behaviour & build happy, healthy habits, routines, and relationships with your sighthound – step by step.

“My dog was acting so strange. It had me in a panic!”

I  was starting to panic about my dog Margot. She was leaving puddles of drool by the front door, after we moved to a new house, and was struggling to be left alone. Thankfully, I called Becca and she swooped in to help me resolve the issue. Margot is now fully recovered!

Harriet - Owner of Margot, happy home-alone hound

Separation Anxiety

Ever feel like you’re on house arrest, since you can’t even walk out the front door without triggering your dog’s separation anxiety?

It can be really tough. You come home to chaos and sometimes, a big mess to clean up. Not to mention, the guilt you feel for leaving your poor dog to suffer alone all day.

Behaviour training can teach your dog to relax when you’re not at home, and often, we can do this virtually! We behaviourists have had great success training owners to relieve separation anxiety using video conferences. In some cases, I may also refer you to a veterinarian for medication to complement and support the treatment & training.

“Becca, you worked magic on our dog’s separation anxiety!”

We were having a nightmare teaching our dog how to be alone in the house – he couldn’t be left for even a few minutes without barking and howling constantly for hours. Becca gave us some really straightforward, practical training to help resolve the problem. We can now leave him alone for up to 20 minutes (which seemed unimaginable before!) and we’re working up from there.

Emma (& Bear!)

Puppy & Basic Training

Need some simple training to raise your dog into an excellent companion? It’s an absolute joy for me to work with dog owners to teach their dogs new tricks.

And if you have a sighthound, my expertise in these breeds will come in handy. I won’t just teach you to make them ‘lie down’ and ‘stay’, I’ll teach you how they think, what they need, and what makes them absolutely thrive, so they can become the dream dog they’re capable of being!

You invested in royalty, so let’s treat them like gold. I’ll teach you to speak sighthound from day one with our positive reinforcement training philosophy.

Kindly note, no Punishment/Aversive techniques are ever used.

“Becca is helping us train our first-ever puppy from 10 weeks old!”

Becca has been brilliant with helping us train our puppy Whisky.  Becca’s style of training is all positive reinforcement, which has helped Whisky’s character shine through! He’s now a happy dog who is able to respond to commands. We love having Becca on board, and if we need more help going forward with specific issues, we’ll definitely be going back for her help.

Matt - Owner of Whisky, the well-behaved teenager

How I Work

We can work together virtually, in-person, or a combination of both.

Step #1: We chat on the phone!

First, we’ll chat for 15-minutes, so I can learn about your sighthound and how you’d like to see them improve. No matter whether you want basic training or behaviour-related treatment, this call is always free, so don’t be shy! Set up a call. I live for this.

Step #2: We develop a treatment plan, face to face.

Next, we’ll meet in person or over video conference, so we can connect, and I can see some of the behaviour for myself. This is a paid session where you’re provided with a treatment plan & a recommended training protocol that will reduce or resolve your dog’s issue entirely.

Step #3: We select a package & begin!

Based on your treatment & training protocol, I’ll tailor a package to your dog and your desired outcomes. If you decide to move forward, we’ll work together until the issues are significantly reduced or completely resolved (if resolution can be expected), depending on your level of commitment to making changes. My only priority is to improve your peace of mind, your dog’s quality of life, & your happiness together.

So how much of the training can be virtual?

If virtual is your preference, then we’ll do as much as we can virtually. In certain circumstances, it would be unethical (and ineffective) to treat your dog virtually, since hands-on training is required to resolve certain behaviour issues. That’s why I always do a face-to-face meeting before recommending a specific package, so we can get to know each other and determine the right treatment plan for your beloved dog!

FAQs

With proper training & treatment, you can see changes in your dog’s behaviour right away. However, behaviour is a function of your dog’s mental and/or physical health, and sometimes, changes take time. My commitment to you is to provide the fastest, most effective treatment plan possible, so you can get on to living a happy life with your dog.

Packages are tailored to your dog’s needs and your budget. We always start with a free call and, if you decide to move forward, a paid virtual or in-person assessment & treatment plan. You’ll walk away from this session understanding why the issue is presenting and what you need to do to change it. The cost of this initial treatment plan is £200. You can reclaim behaviour therapy fees from your pet insurance, depending on the level of cover you have.

No. Only a veterinarian can prescribe medication for your dog. However, I will work closely with your vet, if necessary, so your dog gets the medication they need to thrive.

So glad you asked! I love that you have a variety of choices and it’s important that you know the three main ways I’m different.

 

  1. I specialize in sighthounds, which include greyhounds, whippets, lurchers, deerhounds, afghan hounds, and many others. These dogs have special needs & requirements.

 

  1. I’m able to spot what other behaviourists miss. My approach is based on what’s called “animal welfare”, which means I’m able to spot factors in nutrition, environment, psychology, health, and behaviour that may be contributing to your dog’s challenges. This is based on a more comprehensive education & training certifications than the majority of behaviourists are willing to attain. I also have my masters in Animal Behaviour, have published my own scientific research, & am a featured speaker on BBC and in many London-based publications.

 

  1. I focus on two-way communication between you and your dog, not just forcing your dog to change their behaviour. (Forceful training techniques are known as Punishment or Negative Reinforcement, and I encourage you to avoid them.) I teach you how your dog thinks, acts, and “talks”, as well as showing you how to talk to them in a way they can understand, so they’re able to comply with your every wish. Building beautiful relationships between owners and sighthounds is my life’s work.

Yes! I can train and treat any breed of dog. Please reach out to me if you’d like to discuss training or treatment for your best friend.

Yes! If you want your dog to learn everyday commands, like coming back when they’re called, walking nicely on a loose lead, learning to use the toilet outdoors, acting politely in public, and ignoring small animals, you need general training services, which do not require a vet’s recommendation. All accredited behaviour-related services require a vet referral. However, my process for this is easy to accomplish. Please feel free to schedule a call with me if you’re unsure!

 

I’m happy to travel to you if you live in Greater London. Also keep in mind, some issues can be addressed remotely. Please feel free to schedule a call with me if you’re unsure!

“Becca is an amazing behaviourist.”

She is extremely hardworking, dedicated, and very personable. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for training and behaviour services for their animals.

James Gillies, Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant by IAABC