Reviews of The Way of the Dog
At The Way of the Dog we are always keen to hear about your experiences of our services and how they have impacted upon you and your relationship with your dog. We would appreciate past or existing customers of The Way of the Dog taking a few minutes to give a frank and honest review of our conduct and services.
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After 6 months at home and an entirely fruitless group training course, it had become apparent that our rapidly-growing, strong-willed and independent working GSD was soon to become above our pay grade in terms of training. Even walking to the park without Frankie pulling like a train was looking like an impossible task. Shaun’s name was originally passed onto us from our breeder, and in March this year we decided to bite the bullet and give him a call. We arranged to meet shortly, and since then we have been working together, if not sporadically due to generally disappointing weather, and family circumstances on our part. Despite this, we have never been made to feel burdensome, and Shaun has been incredibly consistent and available.As I'm sure other clients can agree with their own dogs, there has been marked improvements in Frankie, and though it is only baby steps presently, the future is bright and we have a direction now. But equipped with such a vast repertoire of experience, it is a natural assumption that a professional would be at least somewhat successful in their trade. What isn’t presumed, is the quality of the tradesmen themself. Shaun is articulate and precise, careful of how he presents himself and his wordings, all wrapped up in a somewhat idiot-proof box. Complex psychology is broken down into manageable bites, and can be clearly applied right in front of you in his methods. He comes across as very genuine, and does not beat around the bush; this honesty and transparency is not only sincere, but trustworthy.There is always some irony in teachers that encourage independent learning over ‘real’ teaching, but in this case it is vital. Shaun doesn’t teach you how to tackle each and every problem that could ever occur with a dog; animal ownership is by no means textbook, and not every eventuality can be accounted for. What Shaun does do is arm you with an arsenal of techniques, a greater understanding of what is actually going on inside your dog’s head, and the confidence that should a problem ever arise, you can tackle it head on. This is invaluable to all animal owners. Notwithstanding this, it has been made very clear that expert advice is still just a phone call away.Building on this, training sessions are not synonymous with lectures. You’ll find yourself thinking and acting independently, rather than being spoon-fed or dictated to. Mistakes are a monumental element of the learning process, and here they are encouraged, as they provide valuable points of self-reflection, evaluation and discussion, from which then ‘real’ learning arises. After all, consequences shape behaviour.Despite preconceptions that you will be faced with a hardened, intimidating drill sergeant due to his history, the reality is rather more divergent. Shaun is extremely approachable and straight-forward, yet firm where necessary. Sessions, due to being 1:1 are very informal, and are filled with a range of activities that are fun for both the dog and handler. This also allows for sufficient time to be spent on each task; Shaun is very much of the opinion that things take as long as they take until they are accurate and consistent. There is no rush or hidden schedule, and no pressure on the dog or handler to progress faster than what would be appropriate. He is very patient and appreciative of each handler and dog’s individual circumstances and learning processes, going as far as recommending the VAK test to new clients so as to gauge how best to adapt his teaching style. Shaun has also completed teaching qualifications specifically, in order to be able to effectively teach humans also, which is a rarity among the vast majority of trainers. It is all good and well being able to work any dog, but it is entirely pointless if the trainer cannot accurately convey themselves to the owners. Shaun is more than happy to answer questions or go through techniques, no matter how many times asked. This ensures solid foundations on which future training is built. Shaun’s wickedly dry sense of humour also keeps sessions very enjoyable. Furthermore, the treatment of the dogs is of the highest standard: caring, sensitive, and appropriate. That being said, Shaun is very clear with his intentions, and consent from the owner to act in an appropriate manner is requested at all times.It is evident that Shaun is very well read, and very knowledgeable in the vast majority of areas. However, he is also able to hold his hands up when he may not be so certain on a topic; though do expect an email or text following the session after he has done some further research. Shaun is also very liberal in his beliefs. He is open to new ideas and opinions, and is respectful and not judgemental of ones differing from his own. Shaun also uses the work and ideas of other trainers, behaviourists, and psychologists to evidence his own ideas, particularly BF Skinner, and stresses the importance of doing your own research and taking everything with a pinch of salt in order to form you own views. We never felt forced or pressured when making the switch to raw feeding - Shaun provided his own views and guidance only when asked.I cannot recommend Shaun’s services enough. Working with him has massively improved not only my confidence in handling Frankie, but also in my own abilities, and I feel that sessions are as much for us as they are for Frankie. No problem is a dead end, no anxiety is deemed insignificant, and no question stupid. The passion and genuine care Shaun has for the dogs is undeniable, and it is clear that he thrives on each and every challenge. 5 stars are not enough.
Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful review, I appreciate very much the time you have taken to draft this. The title is a bit dodgy, but humorous all the same. Taking on a working line GSD requires a great deal of commitment and attention to detail. With your enthusiasm, drive, and determination I have no doubt that you will support Frankie to develop into the dog that she is destined to be. She has the potential and the motivation to be a fantastic working dog and a reliable family member. Keep up the hard work.
I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with Belgian Shepherds for many years, and can most often be found at an agility show where my dogs and I thoroughly love to work the courses.One of my young Belgian boys, Mojo, showed he had great drive to learn and do anything I would ask and his early potential in agility was exciting to see. However, for health reasons, I made to decision to suspend his agility training but I needed an alternative as Mojo would not have been happy to be doing nothing at all.As I had not trained in anything other than agility, for a very long time, I began to research local trainers. I did not want to join a group where the focus would be primarily on simple 'pet obedience' as that would offer Mojo no real stimulus or enjoyment. I found the link to The Way Of The Dog and after reading Shaun's bio, and the reviews, I contacted Shaun to see if he could work with Mojo and me, to develop a training schedule that will suit Mojo's needs. I am very happy to say that the answer was 'Yes'.Mojo and I have been training with Shaun for a short time, but Shaun's years of experience of training dogs, coupled with his ability to teach the handler to better understand their dog means that you gain so much value from your 1-2-1 session and become better equipped to build your relationship with your dog outside of the training sessions.Whilst Mojo may never be the agility star I had first hoped, I am still excited at his potential as we channel his energy in a new direction, with the guidance of Shaun.
Thank you Nicola for your kind review. It has been a real pleasure working with the two of you and I look forward to many more sessions together. Mojo is a real credit to you and a fine example of the dogs that you have raised. Mental and physical stimulation is a must for such breeds and I personally look forward to the challenge of directing and developing Mojo as per your aspirations. He shows so much promise and potential.
On advice given I contacted Shaun at TWOTD after having walked my 6 year old German Shepherd Diesel with groups of dogs on a regular basis over a number of years, I noticed his behaviour changing and was becoming more nervous and uncomfortable. On his initial assessment Shaun confirmed that overall Diesel was a good natured, placid and well-behaved dog but he was an extremely anxious and nervous dog in situations he found uncomfortable. Shaun accepted us into a training program, Shaun is extremely patient and professional he takes the time to explain the reasons behind what you are learning. We had a great time training with Shaun and so grateful for the valuable advice he has given me. After only a few sessions I saw a dramatic improvement in Diesel’s demeanour and behaviour. As a result of working with Shaun I now have a happier and less nervous dog. I can’t recommend TWOTD highly enough to anyone needing help with their own dog. Thanks Shaun!
Thank you Joanne for your very kind review. It has been a real pleasure working with the two of you and helping you to better understand each other. Your case has been very interesting due to the circumstances surrounding your need for support. Many people make the mistake of misunderstanding the personality and temperament of a dog and in doing so unwittingly force the dog to face challenges that it can't cope with. Your personal knowledge and experience of dogs is excellent, however this had been eroded through inappropriate guidance. Notwithstanding, you are back on track and supporting Diesel in the way that is right for you. I anticipate that you will continue to get the best from each other and enjoy many rewarding moments. Well done.
We have owned German Shepherds for over 25 years the last 3 of which we re-homed from Guide Dogs. One of our shepherds, Ali died in January this year and although we contacted Guide Dogs they had no shepherds available for re-homing at that time. We decided to purchase a puppy from a KC registered breeder and saw a 4 month old girl to keep our remaining shepherd, Aysha company. The puppy settled in really well and bonded with Aysha but in April Aysha died. Aysha had undergone treatment for a tumor, radiotherapy, spinal surgery and was also diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. After losing Aysha, the puppy (Ali) started acting inconsistently to other dogs, cars and other everyday things. We were then contacted by Guide Dogs who had a 23 month old shepherd male who they thought would be suitable for us. We wanted to do everything that we could to make this work and decided to contact Shaun. We did not know that he came with two assistants, his super dogs Tyra and Torben. It truly has been an outstanding experience. After a fortnight of working with Ali the change in her has been phenomenal. We met at the training ground and he quickly assessed Ali and us and Ali came out better than us!! Shaun felt Ali lacked confidence, which if not dealt with could lead to more problems later on. Shaun started work and took control of the three of us. Ali was totally focused on Shaun and he showed her what he wanted her to do. He made it look very simple but this was down to his skill. Ali loves going for her lessons and at each one the improvement is noticeable so much so that he allowed Ali to team up with one of his shepherds, Tyra. At the end of the session they went for a swim together and we both feel that Ali is well on her way to being ready to meet up with the Guide Dog very soon. We would like to thank Shaun for the work that he and his dogs have done with Ali. Shaun has a wicked sense of humour which makes the sessions not only educational but fun as well. We feel they deserve more than a five star rating.
Thank you for such a kind review Jane and John. It has been a real pleasure working with you and helping you to make sense of Ali's personality type. The dog training industry can be difficult to navigate in terms of finding a trainer that can support both you and your dog in the most effective manner. Now that you are receiving the training that is right for your dog we will channel her towards developing in to a happy and confident GSD. Keep up the hard work.
Thank you Shaun, for helping us find the fun and joy in our loveable Eddie once again! After months of battling to control our chocolate Labrador on the lead, and trying several other training ideas, we found TWOTD online and it was the best decision we could have made for Eddie. Shaun is a fantastic trainer, who has a wealth of knowledge and a true love for what he does. He instils confidence in you as the dog owner, giving you the tools you need to help your dog.We have been training with Shaun since February and in those four months we have seen such a positive change in Eddie. Shaun has shown us that Eddie is a very clever dog who loves to learn and thrives from training (and loves a good swim in the pond!). We now enjoy taking Eddie out for walks and we are excited to see how he develops with further training!
Thank you Megan & Richard for your kind review. It has been a pleasure working with you all and providing you with the support that you have needed to get the best from Eddie. He is a fantastic character and yet a challenge at the same time. With dedication and effort I have no doubt that he will continue to be a much valued member of the family. Keep up the good work.
Me and my 2 year old Rottie Diesel had managed to get ourselves into some turmoil. Having had Diesel since he was a puppy I always knew I would need some training for both him and me. Whilst we paid visit to a weekly training class this was proving to be insufficient for our needs. Big D had started to react in certain situations and I just couldn't figure out why? Couple that with my own anxiety increasing and confidence diminishing whenever big D and I were on our walks. I had become a nervous wreck trying to walk a powerful breed of dog - not a good combination! I knew I needed extra help and after finding out about Shaun's extensive qualifications and experience of the Rottie breed I reached out. We are now four months down the line and what I can say is that the relationship and bond between big D and I is completely turned around. Shaun quickly analysed that the focus and engagement between D and I was non-existent and was able to teach me in a way that suited my learning style and with patience how to build on that. He also seemed to instinctively know how to handle Diesel from day one and Diesel trusts Shaun and will follow his every command. Our walks together are now so much more enjoyable and big D is nearly listening to my every command. We continue to work hard at our training and have still have some way to go but the progress made to date with Shaun's help has been invaluable. I will never be able to thank Shaun enough. I'm sure he has worked/trained more on me than Diesel to get me to a place where I now know what is needed to handle the Rottweiler breed. His advice/training has been professional and impeccable throughout. To reflect on where we were compared with where we are now I know we would never have grown so much as a team without Shaun. From a personal perspective he has helped me grow with confidence in order to handle Diesel for which I will be ever grateful. Shaun comes with an A star recommendation from me and big D. A true miracle worker with dog and handler! Thank you so much Shaun 🙂
Thank you very much for your very kind and thoughtful review Fiona. I can truly say that Diesel or Big D is a true ambassador for the Rottweiler breed. He is an absolute pleasure to work and it is so rewarding watching him enjoying working with you. Your case typifies why it it is vitally important that you receive the right kind of support and guidance. Four months ago you were struggling to take Diesel for a walk without incident and this was despite the fact that training was taking place. It is clear that the training was not individual to your respective needs and was leaving you vulnerable. Owning a guardian breed comes with a huge amount of responsibility, a fact that you clearly understand hence the steps that you have taken. I am delighted to say that all your hard work has now reaped dividends and your dog is now following you, responding to you, and enjoying being with you. I look forward to continuing our working relationship and discovering exactly how we can continue to develop Big D.
I went to Shaun because walking with 3 year old Ted, owned by a friend, had become an unpleasant experience, and I had told my friend I couldn't carry on. Ted's behaviour towards other dogs was not acceptable and I had no effective way of dealing with it. However, Ted is a lovely dog at home and with people, and I reasoned there must be a way to change his outdoor manner. Shaun observed us together, suggested reasons for the behaviour, which were a combination of Ted and me, and advised the behaviour modification programme was the way forward. I realised from the start that I was being trained just as much as Ted. It is strange at first observing your dog having an instant rapport with, and listening to someone else more than they listen to you, but Shaun is that kind of person, and why he trains the handler to build the same rapport. It is obvious he loves his job, he is very patient, wants his clients to succeed as much as they do, and never makes you feel silly. We have a lot of fun while training Ted, while at the same time making progress each session. After a few months, Ted has moved off the behaviour modification programme to normal training. His behaviour in the presence of other dogs is so much better, and although there are still isolated incidents, and Shaun explained this would be the case, I am much better equipped to deal with them and don't dread seeing another dog coming towards us. However, Ted's training is ongoing, and there are still improvements in him. Walking with Ted has become a pleasure again. I highly recommend Shaun to anyone who wants to work with their dog. The dog will enjoy it as much as you do.
Thank you Geraldine for your very kind review. Working with you both has been extremely rewarding. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Ted transit from a dog that showed minimal response to a dog that now pays you great attention. It is also a real delight to see you both enjoying working together. Ted is proving to be a Border Collie with great potential. Well done, keep working hard.
Since starting training with Ryzen my GSD. Myself and Ryzen are thoroughly enjoying the training with Shaun, Ryzen is improving very well and I find The Way of the Dog very professional and friendly. I am confident that my dog will be trained to the best he can be.
Thank you for your kind review James. It has been a pleasure teaching you how to train your GSD puppy and watching the progress that you have made. Keep up the excellent work, well done.
I knew that bringing home a Malinois pup was going to be a large commitment and would require much more knowledge / experience than I currently had. So, after numerous recommendations from fellow dog owners and along with reading all the reviews here, I contacted Shaun at The Way of the Dog and signed up for a puppy development course. From the minute we started the course I was impressed with Shaun’s knowledge and professional manner. Blake, at 12 weeks old, instantly took to Shaun who treated him as though he was his own and I had no hesitation in trusting he was in good hands. Throughout our initial training sessions Shaun always explained any behaviours and the reasoning behind them. Every session was fun and very informative and any questions I had were answered in depth. Since we completed Blake's initial puppy development course we now have a session once a week to progress both mine and Blake's learning / training. I intend to carry on with our sessions in pursuit of Blake being just as well trained as Shaun’s own dogs.I would definitely recommend Shaun and The Way of the Dog to anyone wanting to learn how to train / work with their dog.
Thank you for your kind review Paul. It is always a pleasure starting a course with a new puppy, it's even more exciting when the puppy was always destined to work. A Malinois is a real treat to work with as it wants to work. it wants to learn, and it wants to develop. Some confuse such attributes by suggesting that the Mali is an easy to train dog. This is not the case the Malinois requires a lot of work, a lot of effort, and a lot of dedication. You have set excellent foundations for your pup by possessing such a work ethic, long may the journey continue and long may the rewards be reaped.
What can I say about Shaun that's not already been said but let me tell you my story. My 7 year old border collie Bryn developed a total fear of cars, he would not go anywhere near to enable me getting him into the car, after going in cars since he was 8 weeks old with no problems whatsoever. This was due to a number of reasons one of which Shaun explained and I must say I didn't agree with but soon came to realise Shaun was correct. Anyway you can imagine the impact this had upon our lives from not being able to go further afield than local dog walks, to not being able to go on holiday with Bryn (and no I would never leave him in kennels), to even not being able to take him to the vets. Massive problem. I tried everything but as I am not the most patient of people did more harm than good. I Needed Help !!!!! So reluctantly and with some trepidation I rang Shaun I needn't have worried, Shaun listens to your problems and soon assesses the situation, he has an easy going way with him and made training fun for Bryn in a calm, gentle, persuasive manner. Last Thursday after a few short weeks Bryn actually got in the car I am still picking my jaw up off the ground, I would never have believed it. Admittedly as Shaun says still early stages. Bryn's confidence needs to be built up, but I am feeling really positive. Sorry to ramble on but I wanted to tell everyone what an excellent trainer and behaviourist Shaun is and I would recommend him to anyone. So thank you Shaun for everything you have done and for getting us so far, I realise it has been harder work training me than Bryn !!!
Thank you for your kind review Ann. It continues to be a real pleasure working with you, I enjoy watching your delight at seeing Bryn progress. This case is very much about fear, empowerment, and trust. We have learned over recent weeks how to be patient and rebuild that trust so that the dog willingly engages and follows our lead. You have worked very hard to support your dog and hopefully in time you will be racing round the county in your car with Bryn once again willingly hopping in and out.