Updated: Apr 12, 2020
I caught up with Paul Eadie from Dogma Training 4 Dogs and founder of Canine Ambassador on all things dog training! Dog training is subject to the opinion of the trainer and different trainers use varied methods and techniques.
Q. Did you always have dogs growing up?
Yes, since I was a baby, my parents always had a minimum of 2-3 dogs at a time.
Q. How did you get into dog behaviour/training
It started with training my gran's dogs. They had a litter of German Shepherds and one puppy was returned and ended up being a police dog, we were invited to go watch its progress and from then I was hooked! When I was a bit older, around 13, my dad would take me to Schutzhund at Moodiesburn for 3 weeks during the summer holidays. I had my Rottweiler trained like a police dog so it has always been my passion. I don't tell anyone this but when I was wee I had an invisible dog and my gran and her pals would pretend to feed it!
Q. What is the best career move you have made?
Going into something I enjoy because then it doesn't feel like work and it's easy to talk about. Do something you are passionate about. Before this, I was a tradesman and I never enjoyed or got as much job satisfaction as I do now. When your work is your hobby and something you are passionate about it makes all the difference! Reading has never been something I enjoy but when it comes to dogs I am constantly on the hunt for new material. Especially new techniques and opinions.
Q. How do you organise your time between CA, Dogma and your family?
I don’t, it just happens. It can be difficult at times. Usually at home I am sitting answering messages which are coming in from every angle (Facebook, Instagram, texts, emails, etc) which makes it so confusing!
Q. How is your work/life balance?
Not good enough, I definitely work too much. However I am hoping that we now have some more instructors at the dog training club, Canine Ambassador, it will start to lighten the load. At the moment I am working from 10am to 8.30pm week days, Saturday 10am- 5pm and Sundays usually 12pm- 3pm- I just don't want to let people down.
Q. What would you advice be to someone who wants to get into dog training?
I would say don't spend a fortune on qualifications, instead, invest a lot of time with an experienced trainer. Then choose qualifications you think are relevant and would benefit you. Too many people do the qualifications first and try to start training with no real hands on experience.
Q. What makes CA different from another dog training programme?
We provide a very thorough and comprehensive course, we put so much effort into the dogs gaining real life experiences and we have a great group of members who regularly meet up to socialise with their dogs. We educate the owners on what the dogs needs are and work with different people's lifestyles to ultimately create an amazing relationship between the dogs and owners in their own, personal settings.
Q. How did CA start and why has it become so successful?
It first started when I was doing 1-2-1 sessions through Dogma Training 4 Dogs. So many of the people I was training had been to clubs and puppy classes yet were still failing. I knew I had to create a club with longer courses and more aspects of real life. I have always had at the forefront that one day every dog owner will need to do some kind of test or have a license to own a dog- that is what we are creating at Canine Ambassador.
Q. What kind of training do you offer?
RBT (Relationship Based Training). It is such a natural form of training. Dogs needs and requirements must always be taken into account to ensure the dog is satisfied and content. We encourage owners to improve the relationship, project confidence and leadership but also command respect. The dog should willingly want to work and comply while following your leadership. It can be really fun but also probably takes more effort than other training methods. Whether it is between dog to dog or human to human every relationship requires love, trust and respect- if we don't have all three the relationship won't work.
Q. Do you offer individual training, classes or both?
Canine Ambassador is classes and I do 1-2-1s through Dogma.
Q. Do you offer refresher courses and advanced courses?
Yes, we have gold silver and bronze. You must have a minimum of silver to progress in our course and you can repeat any of the levels as often as you want. We also do Canine First Aid training. In future I plan to do a short seminar for dog walkers, focussing mainly on dog behaviour.
Q. What are the long-term goals for CA and Dogma?
I want to get the Dog License government approved, we just have to prove our course is a successful system which we are in the process of doing. I aim to have more clubs throughout the country.
Q. Do you have a fav dog breed? Why?
I would say the Rottweiler, they tend to be easy to train and they are so versatile, you can train a Rottweiler to do almost do anything you want! They are not used in police due to stamina, they can't go for as long as the Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds but they are a well balanced, athletic dog. You can train them to be a service dog and to visit care homes. They are so loyal and very protective.
Q. What is the most difficult behaviour to correct?
To be honest, recall! It can be hard to fix as it is based on the relationship between the dog and owner and how the dog perceives you, how consistent you are. At the end of the day, if your dog doesn’t want to be around you it is going to be hard to recall. It's hard to train recall where there is zero relationship. It is especially hard if the dogs have "learned results"- the dog has no reason to come back if the owner is just going to chase the dog anyway! So where recall should be simple, it is often hard as you have to first build up the relationship!
Q. Is there such a thing as a bad dog?
Some dogs can be born displaying more feral-like behaviours showing fear or dislike towards humans.
Q. Have you ever been bitten?
Loads of times! The worst one was an Alaskan Malamute. I was sitting clapping the dog, looking at the owner and all of a sudden it just grabbed my wrist and was right up on top of me, the owner tried to help but it was wearing such a small collar with a huge thick coat so he couldn't get hold of the dog. I ended up with a fractured thumb which is still numb. I have been bit between the legs once by a GSD, thankfully it was just a nip! I can't tell you how many times I have been bitten by Chihuahuas! Hundreds of times but at least you don't feel that as much! It can be quite frustrating, owners think that because you are the dog trainer they can just introduce the dogs to you off the lead, so, often the first introduction is the dog charging at me and the owner behind it saying "this is what I mean, they do this all the time!".
Q. What is the hardest decision you have had to make in dog training?
I have never once, and would never advise that a dog is put to sleep. I have definitely been in situations where the family situation just isn't working and there is no more than can be done to help their situation and the dog should be rehomed. I believe you can take a dog out of a bad family situation where the dog just doesn't suit the family's lifestye and rehome the dog into a situation more suitable.
Q. Has there ever been a dog you have been unable to help?
Yes but again it is the situation where the dog just is not suited to a certain family and no matter what you do or what you try it will just never work.
Q. What would you like to see more of in the dog training industry or dog industry in general?
I would like to see it be made a law that if you are a dog owner you should walk your dog twice a day at the very minimum, this would improve dog behaviour everywhere!
Q. Are there certain breeds that are more difficult to train than others?
Yes, Jack Russels are difficult because they always look for an alternative route and they are massively persistent! Chihuahuas are also difficult because they are so small, they can go from curled up sleeping on the sofa to the other end of the room screaming at the top of their lungs in a flash and there is just no time to interrupt them, they are evasive too they can hide under chairs and tables! English Bull Terriers can come across as not very smart but actually they might be extra smart when they just completely resist doing anything they don't want to do.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to adopt a puppy?
Do your research, make sure you are picking a breed that suits your energy levels. I see pensioners buying athletes. If you are looking for a dog to take on a nice leisurely, family walk around Mugdock don't buy a Doberman or a Boxer who will be 200 metres ahead of you!
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to rescue a dog?
This answer will be controversial but I would say to definitely consider a rescue dog from the UK over an imported rescue because with imported dogs, for example from Romania, you are creating a demand for a business which is only going to encourage them to breed unwanted dogs as they are profiting from them.
Q. Do you think poor nutrition plays a part in unwanted behaviours?
100% and I am always telling people this. So many foods contain sugar which is not a natural part of dogs diet and makes the dogs more hungry and more hyper- just like giving a kid Irn-Bru! They are hungry and restless. I can spot a dog who solely eats a dry food diet a mile off! They are constantly ravenous and running around craving a better texture. Dry food also swells up in the dogs' stomach which can't be comfortable. I understand that raw food can be hard to feed and so often people get the balance wrong. You're not guaranteed consistency and need an extra freezer and have to be organised and order in advance, plus, not all dogs are suited to a raw food diet anyway. My advice would be to feed oily fish and a wet food with a high meat content that can satisfy the dog immediately so they are not grazing all day!
Q. In an ideal world, what would every dog owner be doing with their dogs? Eg, exercise, integration into society, nutrition, grooming, etc.
Ideally dogs would be walked four times a day, two big walks and two smaller walks and the dogs would be well integrated into society with plenty of life experience as a result of the owners taking the dogs to as many places at possible and starting when the dogs are young.
Q. What are your pet peeves?
I hate it when people don't walk their dogs enough! And I would say incorrect socialisation. Standing back watching your dogs go bonkers in the park thinking they are playing when it is not play. Instead they should meet, greet and move on so the dogs are not expecting physical interaction with every dog they meet!
Q. So, should strange dogs be allowed to play together in the park?
Q. Who do you admire within the dog training industry?
John Fisher was the very first trainer I admired, I started with his videos and books! John Rodgerson, The Dog Father, Christopher Fraize's understanding of dog behaviour- not his use of prong collars.
Q. What are the most common issues you come across? Are they easy to fix?
Reactivity, it can definitely be fixed but very much depends on the situation, dog training is an art to some extent and some people have a natural ability and others can be shown the same thing 100 times and still get no where! You either have the natural ability or you don't.
Q. Lastly, do you have any events coming up that you’d like us to know about?
Unfortunately everything is postponed just now due to the Corona Virus but we will hopefully be at the Dog Lover's Show at the SECC again this year and we have our new block of classes at CA starting in April.
For more information about Paul and Canine Ambassador visit https://www.canineambassador.co.uk/.