Sean Knowlson ACFBA

Associate Member of the

Canine & Feline Behaviour Association (CFBA).




The CFBA is a member of the Pet Education Behaviour & Training Council of Great Britain

Behavioural Issues?

It never ceases to amaze me that some owners pay out hundreds of pounds for the expertise of a Dog Behaviourist to visit their home and not solve the problem.  We have many clients who have done just this, for example one woman who paid £350 for two hours worth of home visits and the guy did not even deal with the original issues for which he was called in!  Another gentleman paid £200 for a 20 minute session due to his dog being extremely aggressive to people and dogs, only to be told to put his dog to sleep!  Within 30 minutes of us having the dog he was walking on a loose lead with his muzzle removed.  That particular dog now has a better quality of life and will die of old age!


Many so called behaviourists will tell you they have a knowledge far greater than that of a dog trainer due to their study of dog behaviour, however any trainer worth his salt understands how to read dog behaviour anyway.  In my opinion the two things should go side by side. Modifying a dog's behaviour is simply training; by training the dog to react differently to the stimuli causing the unwanted behaviour.  At the end of the day you can label yourself how you see fit, however we are all simply Dog Trainers albeit with different levels of experience and knowledge. Many so called behaviourists have simply obtained a very posh sounding qualification by studying animal behaviour from books, without many previous years of experience owning, training, handling and competing or working dogs.  Every behaviourist should acquire practical knowledge in training first.  You simply cannot learn about canine behaviour just from a book or by owning a pet dog!  These are living breathing creatures with individual characters and are affected by many factors including the behaviour of their owners and surrounding environment.  Each relationship between owner and dog is unique and you simply cannot learn this all from a book.  I am Sean Knowlson (ACFBA), the Head Trainer at Hampshire Dog Club and have 35 years experience owning, working and training various breeds of dog.  Just for the record I also hold Canine Behaviour qualifications amongst others. 


People who visit the club, often other trainers, like to ask what kind of training methods we use.  I suppose it is because they want to place us in a tidy little box whereby they can label us!  As a matter of fact there is only one logical answer to this, and that is whatever methods are required to solve the behaviour or issue the dog is presenting.  You simply cannot use the same method to solve the issues of a highly unsocialised aggressive 6 year old male dog, to those you would use for an anxious fearfully submissive 2 year old female. 


In my experience the majority of behavioural issues originate from a lack of socialisation, training or clear leadership causing dominance issues.  Of course there are many more causes of behavioural problems and some of these may require a home visit for specific environmental modification.  Do not be fooled by the 'no such thing as dominance brigade', ....there is!  Dog's are pack animals and clearly require hierarchical order to live in harmony.  Many people seem to think dominance means harsh training, well they obviously do not understand the meaning of dominance.  The Oxford Dictionary defines dominance as 'power and influence over others'.  No different to when we tell our kids to chew with their mouths closed or what time to go to bed, we are exerting dominance over them.  It's not cruel, not harsh, in fact its beneficial to their development.  The moment you ask your dog to sit, down, come, stay, or any other command, you are exerting your dominance over them.  Just as when kids have no structure and leadership in their lives they can become unruly, well so too can your canine companion.


Every single dog we see is assessed and trained on the basis of what it requires as an individual and our 1-2-1 sessions are tailored to educate both dog and owner.  We only charge our behavioural assessments at £40 which includes a full written report and recommendations.  Each assessment is held at our facility and will last at least an hour as we need to discuss the entire known history of the dog's life and experiences, as well as seeing your relationship and handling of your dog.  Based upon the outcome of the assessment and how you wish to proceed we will then recommend and tailor the dogs training to suit the specific issues.  Sometimes this can be as simple as recommending group obedience classes or some 1-2-1 sessions.  Difficult cases sometimes require some kind of daytime residential sessions where the dog is initially left with us, with the owner introduced when necessary.


The woman mentioned earlier could have spent just £60 for the same service, something she has done since joining us and her dog is now better behaved than it has ever been.


Behavioural assessment cost may increase if more than one dog is presented for assessment due to increased amount of time required.  Please discuss this with us when booking.

Home visits will incur additional travel charges based upon distance time/involved.

We are located at:

Hampshire Dog Club

Cobra Lodge
Upton Lane


SO16 0YB

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If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please contact us:

02380 736000


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