There are two services we provide under our Prickly Pooches scheme. These are;
If you would like to improve your Yellow dog’s behaviour and learn how to take control and manage difficult situations then Prickly Pooches could be just what you’ve been waiting for!
Prickly Pooches Practice Sessions
These classes will give you the chance to keep on top of the skills previously learnt on the Prickly Pooches courses or through a One to One Behavioural Consultation with us.
Prickly Pooches (i)
Our classes are suitable for dogs who may be nervous, under socialised or who may have had a negative experience around other dogs. Our classes are supportive, friendly and probably the quietest classes you could ever attend! Yours and your dogs safety is paramount to us. The dogs are able to learn and improve their behaviour over the weeks as the classes are designed so carefully to ensure optimum safety and an environment conducive to learning for all participants.
If you would like to improve your Yellow dog’s behaviour and learn how to take control and manage difficult situations then Prickly Pooches (i) could be just what you’ve been waiting for!
- Dogs that react badly around other dogs
- Dogs that are nervous and worried by other dogs and avoid them
- Dog owners who walk their dog at certain times of day to avoid other dog walkers
There will be an introductory session where you’ll receive a free goody bag including treats, squeaky toy, clicker and a Prickly Pooches bandana and information folder.
The introductory session (without your dog) will cover:
- What is reactivity?
- Realistic owner expectations
- Good dog walking etiquette
- Breed and temperament types
- Types of aggression and is it useful to label?
- What does ‘under threshold’ mean?
- Stress stacking
- Is dog behaviour static?
- Equipment – advantages and disadvantages
- Legal and Health & Safety considerations
- Generalisations and preventing the ‘snowball affect’
- Aids such as Pet Remedy, Bach Remedies, Zylakene, Adaptil etc
There will be four practical sessions. Your dog is required for all of these practical sessions.
The practical sessions will cover:
- Improving owner confidence and competence
- Management techniques- environment and other owners!
- Modern, up to date training and behaviour methods
- How to handle your dog safely and securely
- How to avoid ‘triggering’ aggressive responses
- Signs of aggression/frustration
- A reward has to be rewarding!
- Different environments-different behaviour?
Individual One-to-one Session
Also as part of this course you’ll be entitled to a one hour, accompanied walk in a park, local to the venue. This can be with just me or me and one of my dogs, to be arranged before the end of the course at a mutually convenient time.
After each lesson you will receive an email containing links that you may find useful.
You will also receive email support during the course and for six weeks following the end of the course.
Upon successful completion of the course you’ll be awarded with a Cardiff Canine Citizens Prickly Pooches certificate and rosette, to remind you of you and your dog’s progress!
Prickly Pooches has a maximum of six dogs in a class and booking and payment is required to reserve a place.
The full course comprises of the Introductory Session, four Practical Sessions, a one hour accompanied walk and ten weeks of email support.
Total Cost: £145
Date: Saturday 20th February 2016
Time: 11:15 – 12:45
Where: Tremorfa Community Hall, Tweedsmuir Rd, Cardiff CF24 2QZ (Get directions)
- Saturday 27th February 2016
- Saturday 5th March 2016
- Saturday 12th March 2016
- Saturday 19th March 2016
Times: 09:00 – 10:00
Where: Willows High School, Mervyn Rd, CF24 2YE (Get directions) NB Please use the Mervyn Rd entrance an not the Willows Avenue entrance
Contact us to book onto the Prickly Pooches (i) course for the complete cost of £145
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this course completely cure my dog of his issues?
I would never use the word ‘cure’ as that could be misleading! We have had some amazing successes and all attendees will benefit, to varying degrees, from attending the classes. Owners should be come more confident and competent as handlers and the dogs should learn that not all dogs are scary! The level of improvement achieved is dependent upon many factors; breed predisposition, prior learning, age of dog etc. Owners need to have realistic expectations!
Won’t all of the other dogs barking make my dog more aggressive?
The other dogs won’t be barking! These classes are probably the quietest classes available! Great care has been taken to find the right venue and the classes are structured in such a way to keep the dogs as calm as possible. Dogs can only start to improve when they are relaxed and able to concentrate on their handler.
I am really nervous to meet other dogs with my dog as I usually try to avoid them and I’m worried how she might react to lots of other dogs in the class, should I be worried?
Obviously you may feel apprehensive but I can assure you that your and your dogs safety and well being is paramount to us and once you attend the classes you will be able to start relaxing.
What equipment will I require to attend classes?
You will need two leads on your dog. Ideally one attached to a correctly fitting harness and one to a correctly fitting collar and/or head collar. It is your responsibility to ensure that the equipment that you are using is suitable for your dog and that it is in a good working order and not worn or damaged. If you have a very strong dog you may consider having one lead attached to a dog walking belt and one lead which is hand held. You will also need to get you dog used to wearing a muzzle and I recommend the Baskerville Ultra, as you can still feed the dog treats whilst they are wearing it.
My dog has been reacting negatively to other dogs for two years. Is there any point in attending classes?
This is something that only you can decide. If your dog is now four years of age, they may live another 10-11 years. I would suggest that it is certainly worth trying to improve their behaviour.
What methods do you use as I hate the thought of having to dominate my dog?
I never dominate dogs or suggest others to either! I see myself as a doggy parent guiding my furry child into making the correct choices! We use modern, motivational methods. Lots of treats, praise, attention, toys and fun!
I have been told by other trainers to use a ‘shake can’ or training discs to stop my dog reacting. It did stop him at first but now he has become even more aggressive and I feel really guilty. Do you use these devices?
No I certainly don’t use these devices! To use aversives (which these are) when a dog is already fearful of other dogs, which most reactive dogs are, can exacerbate the problem. At first you may see an improvement, as you did but the dog isn’t ‘cured’ but rather to afraid to show it is uncomfortable when a dog is nearby. The dog suppresses their fear but this builds up, rather like a pressure cooker or a volcano and that is what happened to your dog. Unfortunately there are no quick fixes as it takes time and effort to see a lasting improvement.
I have missed the start of the course. Can I start any time?
Sorry but no. Classes have a clear start and finish date and are not ‘roll on, roll off’.
Do you recommend Pet Insurance?
Yes, I most certainly do! I’m with Petplan and have found them very good. They can be contacted on 0800 072 8365 If you would like a voucher entitling you to two months free insurance with Petplan, please ask me, or quote my name “Caroline Cowan” and the reference number NH 403075761. Pet insurance is a mine field, check out my links.
We loved watching our dog playing with the activity toys and puzzles. Where can we purchase them from?
I sell the Kong Wobblers, Pyramids and Molecules but the other Nina Ottonson puzzles may be found here: http://www.nina-ottosson.com/
How do I reserve a place on the course?
- Complete the online booking form
- Choose venue, date and time preference
- Receive confirmation via email
- Attend class at venue, date and time specified
Any further questions?
Prickly Pooches Practice Sessions
There are also regular fortnightly/monthly practice sessions. These usually take place on a Sunday morning at Willows High School. These sessions are open to anyone who has previously attended a Prickly Pooches course or had a one to one or Behaviour Consultation for a reactive dog. The 90 minute session costs £10 and booking is essential.
Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis with a maximum of 12 participants in each session. If you would like to reserve a place on any of the following sessions, please let me know at your earliest convenience.
- Sunday 14th February 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 28th February 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 6th March 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 20th March 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 3rd April 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 17th April 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 1st May 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
- Sunday 15th May 2016 | 9:30 – 11:00
sPecial Pooches Facebook Group
Several of our previous clients have now formed their own dog walking network with previous Prickly Pooches class members. This is a fabulous way to continue practising with receive support from other like minded owners. There is a closed Facebook group, sPecial Pooches which everyone who completes a Prickly Pooches course will have access to.
We have had Charlie since he was 9 months old as a rescue from Cardiff Dogs Home. He has always been a little anxious and under-confident especially when out and about. In addition to this, he is extremely nervous and vocal about motorbikes and whilst you can sometimes spot a dog from a distance and choose another path, a speeding and noisy vehicle is usually much harder to avoid. We have now had Charlie for 4 years and whilst he is wonderful in the house and extremely good with people, other dogs had started becoming a problem and after one particular incident with a neighbourhood dog, we decided to seek help and we got in touch with Caroline.
We are absolutely DELIGHTED with the results we have seen and the difference we now have with Charlie out on walks. Whilst he is still nervous around motorbikes and to occasional other dogs, we have learned some fantastic techniques by means of distraction and shifting his focus. Gone are the days where we have to hide in some stranger’s driveway to avoid a motorbike and whilst we know that the training will be an ongoing process, we really couldn’t be more pleased with the results we have seen so far. Caroline uses simple and effective techniques which are easy to work into your dog’s regular routine, the additional links and information she gives you are also very useful. We would recommend anyone with a reactive dog give Prickly Pooches a try. We thought we might have to struggle with some of Charlie’s problems for the rest of his life, but thanks to Caroline there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are on our way to a happier, more confident and relaxed dog. Thank you!Graham and Amy with Charlie
Sooki is fearful of other dogs and this is shown as aggression towards them. She is reactive and walking usually consists of hiding behind cars, hedges and corners avoiding other dogs and confrontation. Having researched canine behaviour I was keen to learn how I could develop Sooki and become part of the normal dog walking society.
Having attended the ‘Prickly Pooch’ classes led by Caroline Cowan, it was clear that the dog and owners safety was paramount. The venue was perfect and the equipment provided ensured that all dogs remained as calm as possible during their training. Initially Sooki was highly reactive, not only did she require training but I was desperate to know how to handle these situations.
Caroline experience brings a wealth of knowledge and she has provided an invaluable insight to Sooki’s behaviour. Clearly, Caroline is adaptable to each dogs training ability and needs, and she has demonstrated how to counteract aggressive behaviour. With each class and having practised the techniques taught by Caroline between each session, Sooki was able to walk within metres of another dog without reaction. Sooki has finally turned a corner and we are very optimistic about the future. We no longer avoid other dogs but look for opportunities to practise the good behaviour. The training is hard work but the reward is astonishing.
Not only has Caroline inspired me with confidence, she has given me the tools and skills that I need to develop Sooki further. Sooki has achieved so much from the sessions, we will sign up for any follow on course available.Sophie and Sooki
Since working with Caroline and coming to the ‘Prickly Pooches’ classes, Molly (and my) behaviour has improved quite dramatically. We had Molly from the dogs home around 18 months ago and she has never liked the company of other dogs and has always barked, growled or whined when she has seen another dog. If another dog has come too close, Molly has lunged at them and seemed like she was going to attack. Through working with Caroline at classes and on our own, I have developed lots more confidence and have learnt skills and techniques to use with Molly when we are out, to avoid situations and to calm her down if we have to pass a dog. I use the clicker and her ball as distractions, and by talking to her calmly and keeping Molly focused we can now walk past another dog with relative ease. I am much more aware of Molly’s signals and behaviours and I know when she is getting stressed or feeling uncomfortable. The work we have done has been invaluable and we can now walk with little or no situations occurring. Molly needs reassurance that we are in control of things for her, and she responds really well when that is the case.
I am so glad I worked with Caroline, her help and advice has been hugely beneficial to us, and I know her on going support is always there if needed. Caroline knows so much about dogs and is a true professional in her area. I would definitely recommend Caroline to anyone who has any sort of problem with their dogs behaviour, particularly the prickly kind of behaviours, which are so undesirable.Suzanne and Molly
After being told by one dog trainer that we may be facing real problems with our new dog Meg, that we may have to give her up as a lost cause but that he was willing to take her under his wing for 6 months at a cost of £1,500, it was with some trepidation that I contacted Caroline at Cardiff Canine Citizens to ask if she could help. I explained that Meg was a 16 month old Border Collie/Alsatian rescue dog which came from a home where young hyperactive boys and a young daughter lived and that she was teased, sometimes locked in a cage and, according to my vet, she had marks on her back where she had been hit – she had received no vaccinations at all. Consequently, Meg was a very nervous dog, prone to attack and bark viciously at anybody and was very defensive around other dogs to the point where I had to take Meg for walks only when it was quiet and she would have some peace. I enrolled Meg on Caroline’s ‘Prickly Pooches’ 4 week class. What a difference a good dog trainer makes! After 4 weeks Meg not only didn’t bark at the other 5 dogs in the class, she actually played with them and walked alongside them with no fear or nervousness and I am NOT exaggerating. Caroline did not believe that Meg had behavioural problems but just needed training, encouragement and interaction with other dogs; she was right. I cannot thank Caroline enough for what she has done in just 4 one hour weekly sessions. I now have a different dog, who, while she still barks at strangers who come to the house she quickly calms down enough for them to give her treats without her snarling at them (miracles sometimes do happen). Thank you so much Caroline (and daughter); I cannot wait for the Stage 2 prickly pooch classes to start.Dave Richards and Meg
Patch is a rescue dog. He was 3 years old when he came to us, and it quickly became clear that he was an anxious dog with reactivity problems, who had probably very little socialisation. He gets over-excited meeting other dogs, and seems to hate joggers and cyclists, particularly if they’re wearing bright fluorescent colours. Unfortunately, when he gets really wound up, his last resort is to lash out and try to bite. After a year of struggling to sort him out ourselves, we decided to seek professional help.
It was fairly obvious from our first meeting with Caroline that she knew what she was talking about, but if we had any doubts, these were dispelled in the first few minutes of the first Prickly Pooches session. Imagine 8 reactive dogs, with their anxious owners, all in the same room together. It ought to have been utter chaos and a recipe for disaster. It wasn’t: Caroline used the session to assess the dogs, (and no doubt the owners) and to introduce us to the techniques and skills we needed to address our dogs’ problems. What we learnt in that first session set us up for the next few weeks on the field outside, during which Patch learnt to attend far less to the things that stress him out, and far more to us. Week by week, we saw his behaviour getting better, and could see similar improvements in the other dogs in the group at the same time. By the final week we found ourselves in the middle of the field with Patch on a long leash, playing fetch with his favourite ball, completely ignoring and being ignored by, all the other dogs circling around him.
To round the course off we had a one to one session with Caroline and one of her dogs. Caroline was very generous with her time and advice, the dogs got on well together, and the walk in the local park couldn’t have gone better. The training has paid off at home too. Patch is less needy, more relaxed and responsive, and seems a lot happier. He’s still got a way to go with his behaviour outside, but he’s much improved and, thanks to Caroline, we now have a clear view of where we’re going with him, and a good idea of how to get him there.Ed and Charlotte
Following your amazing support and input, Roxy has improved tremendously over the last few months. As you know, she had become increasingly nervous and extremely ‘prickly’ following a variety of incidents, some involving other dogs attacking her. She is now able to walk past other dogs without always being so wary and her recall has improved no end! I think the special sausage treats have helped in that department mind you! The classes helped her to realise that not all dogs are a threat and showed me how to deal with potential stressful situations,staying one step ahead of her and avoid conflict. You have also given me back some confidence and some great tips that I use all the time. Walking with Roxy is now much more pleasurable once again….thank you so much Caroline!Su and Roxy
If you’ve got a dog with issues or you just want a bit of confidence building then look no further, you’ve definitely found the right woman for the job!
I am the owner of an 18 month old French Bulldog named Reggie. He is my absolute world, as I’m sure your dog is to you.
Reggie was attacked a few months ago by a Husky while we were out walking. He was such a friendly little dog with a fantastic temperament until he was attacked and then unfortunately he changed. He started becoming aggressive towards other dogs because he was scarred that all other dogs were out to get him! As a result it also knocked my confidence and I became very nervous whilst out walking him which drove me insane and I wasn’t prepared for either of us to continue this way.
I did a bit of research looking at different dog trainers but none of them really caught my eye and then I found Caroline and knew I didn’t need to look any further. She was everything I’d been looking for.
I signed Reggie and myself up for the four week Prickly Pooches class and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did.
Caroline is great at what she does. It’s clear she’s very passionate about her training classes and committed to the wellbeing of all dogs. Caroline is very knowledgeable on all breeds and behaviours and is fully aware of modern training methods and does not use any aversive methods which is brilliant. Nothing is too much trouble and she is very patient and understanding. She treated all of the dogs and owners in our class with respect and the help needed relating to their own individual problem.
The on going help, support and advice we still receive from Caroline is fantastic and means a lot. She truly does care.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Caroline to others as I already have to all of my friends and family and anyone else who will listen.
She worked wonders with Reggie, working on his aggression, and confidence building for us both. I can happily say I’ve got my friendly, happy go lucky Reggie back. He loves nothing better than going for a run with his B.F.F. (Best Friend Forever) Hope.
I can’t thank Caroline enough for the help and support she gave us and still gives, and I now class her as a good friend of mine.
Thanks Caroline.Michelle and Reggie
Misty was a rescue dog who ended up thin, pregnant and confused in Cardiff’s dogs home. After giving birth to nine puppies in the Home (Only three survived), I rehomed her 18 months ago. Blessed with a loving forgiving nature towards humans, she developed an aggressive nature towards other dogs, which increased after she was bitten by an out of control dog while she was on a walk.
It was only after wasting our time and money on another so-called “Dog Trainer”, that we discovered Caroline and then we instantly realised that we were in the hands of an expert, watched her in action and had an object lesson in how a canine training course should be run. We enrolled Misty on her Prickly Pooches course which begins with an initial meeting (sans dogs) where she fully explains her methods and the direction the series of weekly sessions will take. You know that feeling that you get when you meet an expert in their field? Any field….plumbing, computer repair, driving instruction…any vocation. You instantly realise that they fully understand their profession in every sense, the way they discuss it, talk about it, answer questions about it…these are the people you want to go to for help…Caroline’s one of those. The courses take place in a perfect environment in Willows school, lots of room, plenty of space and are controlled and stress free, both for dogs and owners. Caroline, with skill and endless patience, explains the psychology behind the canine problems and week by week informs, explains and formulates strategies to reduce each individual dog’s aggression, all based on kindness and never domination or fear. At the end of the course she accompanies owner and dog on a personal one to one walk around the local area. Misty has improved beyond our expectations, this will be ongoing and it is no exaggeration to state that enrolling on Caroline’s course has changed both our and Misty’s lives. Caroline provides a complete back up service with regular tips and emails and is always there for anyone who has a query or problem. Add in the fact that she is a lovely lady and as you can probably tell we would unhesitatingly recommend her…..and her equally lovely daughter Latichia to anyone experiencing problems with their dog.Lucy and Andy Thompson (Misty's Mum and Bampy)
I took my dog Freddie to Cardiff Canine Citizens Prickly Pooches classes as we desperately needed to learn ways of managing and living with his issues.
He was a rescue from Cardiff dogs home after a long 8 months there. He was picked up with dog bites over him and was very distressed in his kennel. I think he’s a naturally reactive, nervous dog with a high prey drive but his past circumstances couldn’t have helped!
As he was approximately 2 years old, we knew we needed to learn ways to avoid his extreme behaviour around other dogs to have a long and happy life with Freddie.
The classes really helped equip me with the skills to recognise when his anxiety is building and how to avoid it being triggered in the first place. He is still anxious and on alert if he comes close to dogs but he trusts my guidance now as I am more confident.
Freddie is a very extreme dog with intense emotions (both positive and negative). I now understand him better and how to keep him and other dogs safe. The classes also showed me that we aren’t the only ones with a ‘Prickly pooch’, which was comforting as it can be a difficult having to look around corners for other dogs and have walkers with their perfectly behaved dogs making remarks when your dog’s going nuts!
I recommend the classes and will be eternally grateful to Caroline for her wisdom, support and patience.Lisa and Freddie