Dog Behaviourist

I enable owners to train their dogs and build a lifelong trusting friendship.     

All types of one to one dog training covered including:

Jumping up

Pulling on the lead

Barking and aggression toward other dogs

Mouthing and biting

Rehabilitating rescues

Recall

Separation Anxiety

Good social manners

Fear based issues

Choosing the right puppy for you from a litter

Puppy training/house training

121 Puppy Starter session in your own home

(Increasingly popular alternative to puppy classes)

Introducing your new dog to children

Teaching your children how to be safe around your dog

Teaching dog body language to humans

Help choosing the right breed for you

Owner/dog training walks

Charges:

 I currently offer a full consultation for only £95 in the Claygate/Esher/Dittons area plus the cost of petrol if further away.  This includes a 1-2 hour consultation where I chat to you, assess your dog, take them out for a short walk,  send a full written report with homework possible vet referral and free follow up with texts and calls for support. I offer follow on training walks for £30 and repeat visits for £50 one hour or £75 for an hour and a half, if required. I have had much success already with over 100 case studies undertaken and I have great feedback and reviews below. Most of my clients have already attended puppy training classes but this is doesn't always transfer to practical family life at home and one size does not fit all.  I also offer 121 Puppy Starter sessions in your own home as a popular alternative to attending puppy classes. You get 121 attention and training with free ongoing support. Each dog and owner have a different dynamic and personality. I can help you achieve a lifelong bond in your relationship with your best friend, including ironing out little undesirable habits that have emerged, replacing these with fun stuff. I have developed my own effective style.  A Behaviourist can cost you £200 plus and I have had many clients now who have already paid this and more to another Dog Behaviourist, but have found my approach much more effective. I believe that this is not something you can learn in a classroom or on a correspondence course, you need hands on experience with a variety of dogs and professional support to learn these skills

 

Email Sue on: thesurreyark@btinternet.com for more information

I love dogs with a passion and fall in love with each dog I help to rehabilitate. There are a huge variety of personalities and circumstances that I have come across so far and I have loved every minute! Here are

just a few of my happy clients

Reviews:

Kitty

" We asked Sue to help us with our dog as she had recently bitten our friends young girl. We under took what Sue advised us to do, including games, fun feeding ideas, and training tips. In doing this, our dog became much more confident and her role within our family. She is now less confused and when children are around, she knows to go to her safe spot, so she feels secure. Sue also advised giving her different food in the evening, which has ensured she is able to go through the night with out going to the toilet. We would highly recommend Sue, she has helped us transform our dog." K Kelleher 11/10/19

Rocky

"Brilliant dog training techniques. Our overexcited Rocky has realised that he doesn’t need to bark each time he goes outside" Silke Espinet 22/9/19

Sally:

We are so grateful to have found Sue and the team at Surrey Ark. After rehoming our nervous rescue girl, Sally, we've needed extra support in settling her in and getting her used to spending time alone. Sue has really gone above and beyond for us, she genuinely cares about Sally and making sure we all go at a pace she is comfortable with. We are so grateful for the support of Sue and Tugba and feel that Sally is in such safe hands when she's spending time with them. We have also learned an enormous amount about nervous dogs thanks to Sue's expertise. Sally has come such a long way, showing more and more of her personality and even making friends with Sue's lovely dogs too. We can't thank you enough for everything you have done for us!

Lauren Raynor April 2019

Barney

"I cannot recommend Sue from Surrey Ark highly enough, so here comes the longest review I have ever written! 
Sue and Leah have known Barney, our golden retriever, since he was a tiny pup. He is a gorgeous dog, now five years old, but he has become increasingly difficult to manage over the years. In desperatation, after the worst week we’ve had with him, I asked Sue to come and help me. If I’m honest, this was a last attempt on my part (Sue is the third dog behaviourist we’ve seen) before we considered re-housing him, so I was very apprehensive. 
Within minutes of arriving at our house, Sue had assessed him as a funny old mix of nervous and and status seeking - both of which made total sense. She then set about showing me simple tricks to help him step down from the role he’d taken on as my protector. It was the way that she explained this that made more sense than ever before, and it was a bit like a light bulb coming on for the first time. We spent a lot of time in the house, and then had a short walk together, Sue modelling how to start a walk calmly with him before I had a go. 
Once Sue had left, I had a go on my own and followed all her tips to the letter. It is hard to convey in writing what an extraordinary experience this was, but Barney was totally and utterly different. He walked calmly, looked me in the eye properly and had no ‘crazy dog’ moments of launching himself at any of his long list of triggers. And this was part way through day 1. 
Four days later, and he truly is a different dog. He’s stopped barking in the house, no longer barks at the door and is totally and utterly chilled: my husband couldn’t believe the difference when he came home after a week away last evening.
We are beyond thrilled and beyond grateful. I know we‘ve still got lots of work to do, but with Sue’s continuing support and reassurance, I feel that the pieces of jigsaw will join properly at last, and we can start enjoying our beautiful Barney again." Clare Hepworth 16/2/19

Lola

I contacted Sue after she was personally recommended to me. We had recently got our first family puppy and I'd become a little concerned that my youngest son was losing his confidence around her with all the puppy biting and jumping up. Sue came round to the house to meet Lola and gave us some fantastic strategies to help Lola happily slot in to her correct position in "our pack." We have recently met up with Sue again for a training walk to help Lola (and me) build confidence after an unfortunate incident with another dog. Sue has so much knowledge and is fantastic with Lola. I've found talking to her and learning more about our four legged friends invaluable. We have another training session in the diary!   Emma Hobden 6/11/18

Daisy

Sue has been amazing with our cockapoo Daisy.

Daisy had no boundaries and was always jumping at people, didn’t listen or adhere to any training we gave her and I became worried as the kids especially my young daughter became scared of her. We started to loose confidence in ourselves and felt we had made a mistake getting a dog.

After the first session with Sue, My confidence came back. We did several follow ups with Sue. She was passionate about helping us that she even gave us free sessions just to help us get it right. Sue taught my son how to walk with the dog and was always there to respond to all the text messages.

Sue you are an amazing teacher. You have given both me and the kids confidence to live with daisy and we would forever be grateful to you . 
When it comes to dogs You are a miracle Worker���

Latoya Walter 22/2/18

Maisie

"Sue helped us with our 10-month old Vizsla who was having some unusual issues over particular toys and I wanted to nip it in the bud before it escalated into resource guarding. After an initial 'assessment', Sue gave us lots of tips/exercises to work on to help make sure she felt secure and comfortable and almost looked to us for guidance/reassurance in certain circumstances. We continue to use these techniques to work on the bond between all of us and our dog. Sue provided excellent support via email after the initial meeting, and then we had a productive follow-up session so that we could build on what we'd learnt from the first one." Jo 10/1/19

"5 Stars" The Surrey Ark have now cared for our dogs on 2 occasions while we have been abroad on holiday. I could not be happier with their service - both Sue and Zoe provided outstanding care to our dogs - they will never go to kennels again!  

Sue also did some behavioural training with our more dominant dog and we returned to a different dog. We are now working hard to maintain the good

work she has done!" Kate Heaney 13/9/17


 

" 5 Stars!

Sue and Leah have been brilliant! They gave us lots of practical tips for helping Lottie in the home (helping her understand where she stood in the pack after the arrival of a new baby) and then showed us how to help Lottie remain calm and

not fearful when meeting other dogs, particularly those more assertive ones. 

It has helped us all enormously - thank you from all of us, in particular Lottie!"

Emma Jenkins 29/7/17                   

 

“Turner the French Bull dog came to live with us at his “for every home” in January 2017. It quickly became obvious that he was a reactive dog and did not respond well to other dogs or animals. Having no experience in this before I was recommended to speak to Sue and Leah. I was a little apprehensive having only ever seen Barbara Woodhouse on the T.V. Sue and Leah came to visit and I could not be more delighted. Their calm confident aura was apparent from the start. They bonded with Turner straight away and have guided me on how to help Turner become less reactive. They have gently passed their knowledge on to me so that I now feel I have the confidence required to tackle confrontational situation and work with Turner to eliminate the reactive side of his otherwise wonderful personality. Thank you Sue and Leah for helping our family.”Jo Rowland April 2017


“Sue has changed my life for the better! Today was another example of how far my once unruly cross breed has come. We met professional dog walkers with several dogs off lead. She went over but when I called her back she came straight away and sat waiting for a treat! She still tried to jump up and lick the man but at least she didn’t cause any bother with their dogs. Thank you so much Sue walks are now so much more pleasurable and less stressful” Rachel Thompson, Esher, July 2018

"I would like to thank Sue for all her help with Sid my miniature Dachshund, after her first visit I felt so much more confident, she gave me lots of ideas and tips to improve Sid's behaviour and build his confidence. I arranged a walk

with her and her gorgeous dog Chip.  

When meeting other dogs Sid had always shown aggression towards them, Sue showed me that he is actually quite a nervous dog and how I could build his confidence.  With Sue’s help Sid’s behaviour is much improved especially around other dogs, and both of us have gained a lot of confidence, thank you Sue." 

Sue Stack 24/8/18

 


 

My Story and Dog Behaviour Training 

 

My name is Sue and I am a Dog Behaviourist.  Both my daughter, Leah and I have passed the Level 1 and Level 2 courses and have Diplomas in Dog Behavioural Psychology.  As this is not something you can learn in a classroom, you need practical hands on experience with a wide variety of dogs and owners, in order to gain enough experience to develop your own style and approach.   I have the advice and support of a nationwide team of Behaviourists who's training methods are accredited by the IACP. Body language is a huge part of the relationship I build with each dog and no two cases are ever the same as each owner and dog have different personalities.  I train you, as your dog's owner, to re-balance your dog and gain their trust, as once I have gone home, it will be down to you to make those changes.  You cannot adopt a ‘one size fits all' approach as dogs have many different reasons for displaying the behaviours that they do. I do not scare or hurt your dog as trust and respect is what I am nurturing.

My reviews speak for themselves - to see these scroll down and for further services from The Surrey Ark such as dog walking/pet sitting and cat care click on the Orange bar above.)

I originally got into this three years ago to help our 14 year old second rescue terrier cross, Chip, who had numerous issues.  We had already adopted our first dog, Milo, from Battersea Dog’s Home and once he reached the age of three, we felt it would be nice to get him a companion.   We came across 20 week old Chip, a terrier cross at the RSPCA Godstone, following months of searching for a rescue crossbreed puppy.  Our two children were still quite young, (3 and 7) so it had to be a puppy and they are snapped up very quickly.   The RSPCA had already warned us that he would not be an easy dog to rehome, as he had already been returned by an elderly lady who couldn’t cope with him. They had assessed him and told us that he was an status seeking dog who would need an older dog to ‘put him in his place' and teach him manners.  They also wanted a family who had already brought up a puppy and therefore knew what to expect.   They were pleased with our ‘fit’ and asked us to bring along Milo so we could see whether or not they would get on. This we did and they got along well so we took Chip home and then the fun began!

As Milo was such an angel and easy dog to train and live with, we thought we knew all about dogs! I could write a book about Chip along the lines of ‘Marlie and Me’. He jumped out of my son’s first floor bedroom window once, landed on the lawn (narrowly missing my daughter) and didn’t even break his stride, as he took off after the neighbour’s cat! Most of our friends remember only too well how he would run off, escape from our garden whenever we went out, despite hundreds of pounds and hours spent fixing our fences!  He would go around a list of friends’ houses when we went away on holiday, hoping that’s where we were, stand in the middle of the road and bark until they came out – then run off and refuse to be caught. He had a few minor altercations with the neighbour’s cat and some unsuspecting delivery men.  He pulled like a freight train on the lead as we rarely put a lead on him, living with a garden gate into the woods.  He would bark at the back door to go out and charge ahead of us everywhere.  He would chase a cat or a squirrel up a tree on Claygate Common and the ‘red mist’ would descend so that he would just not hear you calling him at all and we could be out for ages trying to catch him.   He was not keen on guests and would bark at them to go home (very embarrassing).   He would also howl inconsolably whenever we left him.   He was the polar opposite of the beautifully behaved Milo but we realise now that he was taken away from his Mum far too early and then spent several weeks in a cage all alone at the RSPCA so had severe separation anxiety right from the start, missing a lot of the crucial ‘critical’ socialisation points in a puppy’s life, this coupled with his status seeking personality, made for a lot of adventures.  There were many occasions when my husband suggested that we take him back for rehoming, however, I could never let that happen as I knew that if we did, his chances of a forever home would diminish and his trust in people would as well.  He could quite realistically end up being euthanised which would have broken my heart, so we battled on trying every type of lead in the book and making regular trips to Champions in Claygate for more fencing.

However, at the ripe old age of 18, he is a changed dog!  The old adage ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is not true!  Following my newly acquired training techniques, Chip has become my guinea pig and he is now an angel and the dog I use with other dog reactive case studies I have taken on.   He walks like a dream on the lead, with no pulling at all, rarely needs the lead as he trots along a few paces behind me very happily.  He never runs away anymore on walks. I have all but cured his separation anxiety and he is a much calmer, happier dog.  Some of my friends can’t believe he is the same dog!  He is losing his sight and hearing so I have had to teach him a lot of  sign language and I have given him a bell and a light in the woods as he can sometimes lose sight of me and panic but gone are the days of him running away after a squirrel or cat up a tree!  Sadly now at 18 dementia is setting in with all it's associated challenges. I have now adopted another one year old rescue dog called Fizz who had a bad start in her short life.  She has a broken rib, a cut off tail, was crated for most of her life night and day and lost all the fur on her back,  was infested with fleas and fearful of everything and everyone.  She was a failed adoption and so badly under socialised that she was almost a red zone dog with little hope of finding a forever home, unless someone who knew what they were doing stepped in.  I am working with her to overcome her fears, hyper-vigilance and unique ex-street dog issues to rehabilitate her so that, in time, she can build trust again and will hopefully become a happy and loving companion. We have made incredible progress already and my agility teacher has not seen a Romanian gain confidence and build a bond so quickly in her professional career. Fizz has taught me more than I have taught her though but we are still agility novices!  We still have a way to go with her fears but she is a different dog to the one who arrived in our house and has even learned to play, give affection and welcome guests.

 

This is why I so passionately wanted to do this.  If I can prevent dogs being given up by their families because they are having trouble coping with their unwanted behaviours, with a few accurate and effective interventions, lots of patience and practice, then this has made my day and I have saved a family and their dog from heartbreak.  Rescue homes are overflowing with unwanted dogs and up to 70% are now being euthanised if homes cannot be found quickly. It breaks my heart that we can do this to our best friends when a few early interventions can prevent this from happening and allow us to live together in harmony.

    Fizz and Chip 25/7/18

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