Lisa Whelan

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Lisa owns and runs Dog Training Ireland with Tara Choules.  Lisa lives with her husband Carroll and 4 dogs in Dublin, Ireland.  Her dogs are Millie and Honey Tibetan Terrier Sisters aged 8 years, Misty (Cocker spaniel cross) approx aged 7 and Homer a cocker spaniel aged 6.
 
Dog Training Ireland is a training company that has a mission to help dogs live in our human world through better understanding and communication.  Lisa and Tara started out rescuing dogs from pounds in Dublin and re-homing them back in 2001.  It became apparent that many dogs were surrendered to the pounds for reasons that were easily solvable.  Resources and help for people were virtually non-existent.    As a result they attended Bishop Burton in East Yorkshire (UK) and received their HNC in Canine Training & Behaviour in 2004.  Later that they year became members of the APDT(uk) which requires an assessment and in 2005 they achieved their CAP2 from Learning About Dogs (Kay Laurence).  In 2008 they achieved their CPDT certification.
 
Since it’s inception in 2004 Dog Training Ireland and it’s trainers have gone from strength to strength and is still growing.  Almost 3000 dogs inIreland have been trained at DTI classes.  DTI runs courses and workshops in Puppy Socialisation, Pet Dog Obedience, Behaviour modification and Aggression, Agility and Gundog.  They will be shortly moving into their brand new premises a 5000 square foot training centre with offices, in a brand new business park.  DTI will be the first in Ireland to open a day care facility on this scale and will continue to educate owners and trainers through their courses and workshops.

Blog posts by Lisa Whelan

The Glass of Water Analogy

Stimulus…arousal levels….sub-threshold….over-threshold ….

 

Punishment – A bad word?

Punishment has become such a bad word of late within popular dog training media.

There are some trainers that say they only use Positive Reinforcement. The word punishment invokes certain feelings and ideas in many people’s minds. From personal experience it seems, choke chains, alpha rolls, slapping or hitting etc. Yes all off these things could be described as punishing – perhaps! Read on…

To understand what a punisher is we need to understand learning theory. Punishment is something that reduces behaviour. Reinforcement is something that increases behaviour. Now, take the choke chain example – if I stop choking the dog when he sits down, I have just used the removal of the choke chain as reinforcement for the dog to sit! This is called Negative Reinforcement – the removal of an unpleasant/undesirable stimulus when the desired behaviour occurs.

 

Life after an Arthritis diagnosis

One of my dogs, Honey was diagnosed with arthritis in her hips about 2 years ago.  She was only 7 years of age at the time and for a Tibetan terrier this is pretty young.  Her littermate Millie is as spritely as a puppy and so having a direct comparison between both just demonstrated how bad Honey actually was.  After discussions with the vet we transferred her onto Science Hill JD and Glucosamine and started her on acupuncture, I was also given Metacam that I could give to her when she needed it.  She did improve after her acupuncture sessions and certainly the Metacam helped if she was in pain, but throughout the last year she had some poor periods where a short walk up to the local park resulted in her laying down half way and really swinging the hips and displaying pain afterwards.  But now after 2 years I think I have finally found a balance that is working for her.  In the last month I have made the following changes:

 
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The value of Daycare

Well we have just finished our 4th week of our new Daycare service and needless to say it is going extremely well. Tara and I put a lot of thought into how the whole thing would work and we are very happy with how it’s all coming together.

Firstly, I want to put Daycare in Ireland in context. Up until now Daycare of the kind that is seen in the U.S. did not exist here. Yes there were some kennels offering a “daycare” service but ours is the very first of it’s kind in the country. The economy however has joined ranks with the rest of the world and has plummeted into the depths of a recession. In under a year predictions are that we will go from almost full employment to an unemployment rate of almost 10%. The financial times are scary to say the least.

 

The end of an ordeal – hopefully

It began last Saturday. After 2 vomiting instances, one on Friday night and one on Saturday I brought Homer, my 7 year old cocker spaniel to the vet. His gums had become pale and he was looking very down and sorry for himself. I was worried, this little dog had never been sick in his life. I rescued him at the age of 3 and he came with quite a number of behavioural issues to deal with, in particular his resource guarding. As a result he has a special place in my heart. He is such a lovely dog and everyone loves him.

 

No Table Manners?

As dog trainers one of the many questions we are asked is “How do I stop my dog from begging at the table?” or worse, “How to I stop my dog from jumping up on the table?”!!!  This is both annoying for the humans, embarrassing if you have guests and not good for the dog if he’s being given food that is unsuitable for him.
The most important rule is never to feed their dog from the table at any time.  This only serves to encourage the begging and makes it almost impossible to modify the behaviour.
 

 
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