Our Training Methods
Scallywags behaviour consultants, trainers and instructors adhere to a very strict code of practice. Sally, Claire, and Sharon are members of the Pet Professional Guild, meaning that they adhere to the rules and aims of the PPG to practice and promote force-free dog training.
What training methods do Scallywags use?
All Scallywags training is force-free, motivational, positive, reward-based and routed in science. Dogs learn by association; if something ’good’ happens as a result of an action or behaviour, they will continue to repeat the action or behaviour to try and get more ‘good’. The scientific term for this is positive reinforcement. Scallywags trainers can show you how to use positive reinforcement to train your dog to do pretty much anything! In order to train using positive reinforcement, you need to have something that your dog finds rewarding. We usually find that a tug toy, ball on a rope, a piece of sausage or cheese does the trick along with lots of verbal encouragement! We may also use negative punishment. This sounds scary but simply means that if a dog is doing something that we don’t want it to continue doing e.g. jumping up at a visitor, then the reward is withheld or taken away. Positive reinforcement and negative punishment can be used in conjunction with one another to train dogs in a kind, effective manner. You can find out more about how dogs learn and the types of training here.
Scallywags do not train dogs using the ‘dominance theory’ or train our clients to become ‘pack leaders’. Find out more about this and why dominance is an outdated theory in our learning zone. We do not use or advise the use of any aversive or punishing techniques that are either mentally or physically abusive to dogs. These include choke chains, prong collars, electric shock collars, spray collars, rattle cans, training discs, lead jerks, shouting commands, intimidating body language, alpha rolls, growling, scruffing, nose smacks or tail pulls.
What qualifications do Scallywags trainers have?
Between us, we have over 80 years of experience of working with dogs. We strive to keep up to date with current training methods and regularly attend talks and workshops to refresh and build upon our skills. Scallywags trainers are all force-free professionals, working in line with the Pet Professional Guild’s code of conduct. You can find out more about us here.
What can you expect from us?
Scallywags trainers always have your dogs best interest at heart. We want our clients to enjoy their time with Scallywags and to gain a greater understanding of their dog.
What do we expect from our clients?
To come along with bags of enthusiasm and to have fun with their dog. We ask that you always come prepared to our classes by turning up on time and bringing tasty treats, a toy and dog waste bags to clear up after your dog.
How long will it take to train my dog?
Having a well balanced family pet takes time and commitment. Scallywags will be able to offer simple, effective advice to help you with your puppy or dog but we cannot perform miracles. Whether you are experiencing minor issues with your dog, or more long-term behavioural problems, Scallywags staff will be there to guide and support you through your training plan. Whilst we will set achievable goals in your training, there is no ‘end’ to dog training and many of our clients keep coming back throughout the life of their dog to learn new tricks, solve problems and have fun with their dog in a safe, friendly environment.
Can I come and watch your classes?
Yes of course, in fact we encourage it! If you are going somewhere new with your dog, we advise to go along on your own first to ensure that your dog will be comfortable and that the training methods used will not be detrimental to your dog. If you would like to come along and watch any of our classes, please contact the office.
What is your refund policy?
For our puppy courses, we require a non-refundable deposit of £20 to confirm your place on the course. Due to an increasing number of last minute cancellations and ‘no shows’ it is with regret that we must now adopt a cancellation policy. All missed appointments will be charged at the full rate if less than 24 hours notice is given. If more than 24 hours notice is given and we are able to offer the appointment to someone from the waiting list then there will be no charge. If we are unable to fill the space then 50% of the fee will be due.
Refunds for items in the shop may be given at the manager’s discretion. If you are unhappy with the service you have received at any of our classes or lessons, please let us know.