Peter Hargreaves

Creating Harmony Between You And Your Pet Dog

As a dog behaviourist, Peter Hargreaves has been involved in dog and puppy training and the training of dogs for tasks involving scent for over twenty-five years; his passion is in changing a dog’s behaviour so they can fit perfectly into your family.

Beginning with Military IED detection dogs, Peter has seen active service while serving in the Royal Marines and it was here that he began working with military dogs for mine detection, IED detection and counter terrorist deterrent. He then trained working gun-dogs and participated in both competitive working trials and national gun-dog tests and trials and is still competing at the highest level. He has competed both nationally and internationally with his own line of working golden retrievers and still continues to do so. He has also judged working gundogs in both Europe and the UK. Seeking new challenges Peter is now competing in working trails and is also working towards his judging qualification in this sport. Peter is regularly invited to appear as a guest dog trainer by UK and European Dog clubs where he demonstrates by using scent work and problem-solving exercises that you visibly calm a dog down – a dog that is mentally stimulated will physically tire out more than a dog that carries out physical exercise. Peter believes that if you can fulfil the breed’s needs you will have a much better-behaved dog.

With this vast amount of practical knowledge Peter also has considerable academic knowledge with a range of qualifications in dog training, dog behaviour modification and scent work. Peter firmly believes that if pet owners interacted more with their dogs using nose work a lot of the undesirable behaviours would not exist

Your Role

As the owner, you have the biggest part to play in reforming your pets’ behaviour, we can advise, teach, demonstrate and guide, but ultimately it is you that has to do what it takes to achieve your goals, which will inevitably mean much effort and resolve.

I use methods that are reward based learning. However, being a parent I know raising well adjusted children needs a balanced approach and the same is needed for dogs. Children and dogs require consequences for actions, both rewarding and non-rewarding.

Please do get in touch and see what’s available.

 

Peter brings this experience to the pet owner and believes that most dogs behaviours can be changed with two sessions of dog training; more importantly the handler/owner will acquire the skill base to manage any unwanted behaviours. Behaviours such as excessive barking, reacting towards other dogs and/or people, pulling on a lead to name a few can be managed leading to a better relationship between owner and dog. He also firmly believes that boredom is what causes most dog behaviour issues and if a pet dog had a opportunity to do scent work using its nose, most of these behaviours would disappear.

                                            Life from A Dog’s Point Of View

  1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years; any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you adopt or buy me.
  2. Give me time to understand what you want from me; don’t be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.
  3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalienable right.
  4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment; I am not capable of understanding why. I only know I have been rejected. You have your work, entertainment, and friends, but I only have you.
  5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice and your tone. You only have to look at my tail.
  6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it, and if it’s cruel, it may affect me forever.
  7. Please don’t hit me. I can’t hit back, but I can bite and scratch, and I really don’t ever want to do that
  8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right foods or I’ve been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak. It may be I am just dog-tired.
  9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.
  10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, regardless of what you do, I will always love you.

 

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Peter Hargreaves: Field Trails, Working trails and Pet Dog Owners Q&A Jan 2017

What do you look for in a dog?
Peter: Style, natural ability and a brain. There is no such thing as the perfect dog, but I like a good nose and plenty of style.

What is your Biggest Challenge with Pet Owners
Peter: Managing expectations. It takes years to train a dog and it is an ongoing process. If a dog also had behaviour issues this alone can take many months if not years to resolve. I can provide a starting point in just four sessions but the owner must then continue, be patient and put the time in.

Do you prefer trialling or judging?
Peter: Both, I’ve judged both in the UK and overseas, I am looking forward to judging this year as it gives me the opportunity to watch dog’s working however judging is a huge responsibility as all the competitors are there to win but, unfortunately, there can only be the one winner. I also enjoy competing with my dogs and meeting likeminded people. I have represented the UK with my dogs internationally and the Europeans are slowly catching up with the high standard of their dogs.

How successful is behaviour modification?
Peter: The success rate is high as long as the owner is committed and fully understands that it takes time. I can help and give advice and start the journey. My aim is to empower the in just four focused sessions with the knowledge to be able to help their dog when I am not around. Again it takes time and is rarely an overnight thing.

Have Dogs changed over the years?
Peter: I get to see a lot of dogs with my work, especially young dogs. The dogs are softer today. A lot are pushed on too early and people aren’t letting the dogs mature. They are also more robotic these days.

How has trialling changed?
Peter: Trialling now is quite different compared to when I started. Tests and trials are different – people are so afraid of using their whistle because of being penalised – this comes from the test side. But a good handler knows when to use their whistle. The standard is definitely higher; there are so many more facilities than there used to be. With the training days and gundog holidays people go on, it’s incredible. Ten years ago only a few people could go on partridge training days or rabbits; now it is open to everyone. Again, 10 years ago in a 12-dog stake half would run in and half would make a noise; now in a 14-dog stake, 12 will be good dogs and any could win.

How would you sum up trialling scene at the moment?
Peter: It has improved but still has a long way to go. Too many people bring out their dogs too early to trial. That can ruin a dog. I would urge all owners and trainers to get your basics right, because you cannot turn the clock back once the damage is done. There’s room for improvement. It is a sport that is open to the poorest or the richest, youngest or oldest, and because the training facilities are so good everyone has the same opportunities.

What is the best advice can you give to a pet owner with a dog with behaviour issues?
Peter: The best advice I can give is do not ignore bad behaviour as it will only get worse. The stress with both owner and dog will increase and everyone just falls into a trap. A dog/relationship should be a partnership and stress free.

“A Happy Dog Is A Trained Dog”

What My Clients Say

“In an impetuous moment we took on 2 rescue dogs at the same time. The dogs had not met before and we knew nothing about them. I still ask myself was this impetuous or just plain stupid! One of the dogs has clearly been subject to abusive and unkind handling and her relationship with the other dog was making his and our lives miserable and fraught. At different times we had thought that one or the other would have to be 'put down' either because of the impact of their relationship or their sheep chasing tendencies. It was by chance that we learnt about Peter and with his help and guidance we have managed to improve all of our lives beyond recognition. I write this as the dogs are playing together at my feet: something I never thought would happen. We will be eternally grateful to Peter for his expertise, generosity and unstinting support in enabling us to make unbelievable progress.”

Gill Parsons and John Abraham, Liverpool, 2017with Derek and Lily - crosses of indeterminate heritage!

“We took Busby our beagle pup to Peter's classes and we were quite nervous having read that beagles are notoriously hard to train! However we needn’t have worried as he taught all of us, husband, 3 children & I, how to understand the mindset of our new four-legged family member which helped enormously. It is rather that the owner needs training, perhaps more so than the dog! His knowledge, patience & commitment know no bounds and we found his lessons more than generous as we often ran over due to discussion or a little extra one-to-one to ensure we got it right. His setting is superb with acres of space for outdoor recall training and the safety of an enclosed area for the not so attentive dog. He has a barn for the more than frequent wet days which is much better than a shiny village hall floor. Aside from this the views are stunning!
We also know that we can count on Peter should we ever need further advice in the future. A lovely man.”

Sara-Jane, Russell, Tom, Alice, and Ethan Gardiner, Wigan, 2017with Busby, the Beagle

“Through participating in Peter's excellent Brain Training sessions, Brodie our 18 month old Bearded Collie has learned a great deal of self-control and lots of fun games, tricks and moves. As owners we have learned to be much more calm in our approach and have gained a much greater understanding of how a dog’s mind ticks and it is a joy to see him learn something new. The session flies by and we try hard to practice the moves at home to show off some progress the following week! We also benefitted hugely from a 1:1 session with Peter as Brodie wanted to chase after sheep and we are so pleased to now take him through a field of sheep off the lead with him by our side after following his simple guidelines. Everything is FUN for the dog and fun for owners too – we’ve had a lot of laughs!
Thank you Peter.”

Carole and Chris Gledhill, Southport, 2017with Brodie, the Bearded Collie

“I took my Springer Pup, Saffy, to Peter's puppy training classes when she was 4 months old. The classes are small, friendly and informal. The small class size is great as it allows Peter to spend time with each dog if needed, (and Saffy and I needed it!). Peter was invaluable in helping solve some niggling house training problems, and showing us how to deal with other issues. Most importantly, Saffy adored going, as soon as we turned off the main road to the farm she became happy and excited, she definitely knew where we were going!”

Nicky Sullivan, St Helens, 2017with Saffy, the Springer Spaniel

“I have had dogs all my life so thought I was pretty dog savvy until I started to talk to Peter. Whilst I wasn't ever harsh with my dogs, I did rely on traditional techniques to train. Once I started to explore what Peter was teaching, using food based rewards, lots of things changed for me and my dogs with them became more confident and happy. Learning new techniques can be difficult but Peter was always there to give great advice and support whenever I needed it. If one thing wasn't working, he would come up with a new plan. He never made me feel stupid or guilty for asking questions. He is extremely approachable and his depth of knowledge is second to none. The passion and kindness he has for dogs shines through and I feel so lucky that I have been able to learn from him.”

Rachel Holliday, Ormskirk, 2017with Finn, the Standard Schnauzer and Duke, the Staffie x Boxer

“We first met Peter when we took our 5 month old springador pup, Ben, to puppy training classes. We hadn’t any idea what to expect, knowing what a boisterous, loveable rogue Ben was, but nothing fazed Peter, despite Ben’s enthusiastic approach to learning, which consisted of wanting to play with all the other dogs in the class and to distract them from the business in hand! Peter has a very individual approach to each dog in his class, and that includes the owners, for whom he is an invaluable and patient resource. We subsequently took Ben to brain training classes, where he continued to disrupt the proceedings in his own inimitable style, so we then had several one to one sessions with Peter which were brilliant, and extremely helpful. Ben is now 21 months old, and he is a much loved, mostly well behaved dog who doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. We know that Peter is always available should we need him, and we are immensely grateful to him for all the help, advice and support which he has given us – and Ben of course! ”

Roz and John Matty, Skelmersdale, 2017with Ben, the Springador

“We have had such fun at Peter's brain training and agility class. Not only did Betty absolutely love it, but we also enjoyed the sessions too! Having a Welsh Terrier can be a challenge sometimes due to their stubborn and independent nature, but following training we now understand her a lot more, have more control and have overcome a number of our challenges such as livestock and cyclists. The agility element was also a huge hit, and will be back to improve our seesaw skills!”

Pete & Abi Evans, Formby, 2017with Betty, the Welsh Terrier

“Our dog Peggy was 8 months old when we first approached Peter. We had been having problems with her general control and not having had a dog from a young age before were at a loss what to do. Peter’s understanding of the situation and his teaching us how to teach Peggy was invaluable.

Peter is extremely knowledgeable. He is patient with owners and dedicated to helping them enjoy their dogs. I find myself explaining to others how a dog's mind works! We have no hesitation in recommending Peter to anyone wishing to get the very best from their dog.”

Paul and Jacqui Daniell, Wigan, 2017with Peggy the Labrador x Huntaway

“My sheepdog is wonderful with people and children but can be unpredictable with other dogs. Peter has a wonderful calming influence on dog and owner alike and during our one to one sessions has introduced good common-sense strategies for me to use with Meg when approaching other dogs. These structured sessions take place in a safe environment usually outside which is non-threatening for Meg and gives her the space she needs to assess a 'stranger' dog without any confrontation. Peter has highlighted ways in which my behaviour needs to change to give Meg the direction and confidence she needs and I thoroughly recommend his techniques to anyone experiencing stress or anxiety over their dog's behaviour. His creed is simple - lets help our dogs to BE dogs!”

Sue, Preston, 2017with Meg, the Border Collie

“I have a 18 month old dalmatian and have been taking him to dog training with Peter since he was 6 months old. I am so impressed with his method of training. Peter is very patient and not only gives you tasks to take home and try out with your dog but also explains the reasoning behind the exercises. There really is method in the madness.

I have applied his method to my mad dalmatian, and if he can become better behaved, I'm sure any dog would benefit from some form of training with Peter.

His prices are reasonable and he is very friendly and approachable.”

Debbie James, Liverpool, 2017with Dexter, the Dalmatian

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