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Across the nation, and the world, there is a fight happening behind the scenes. A fight consisting of qualified professionals in an unregulated industry - canine behaviour and training. Did you know that ANYONE is able to call themselves an animal trainer or behaviourist? Did you know the two fields are different? At Pluto's we have teamed up with some of the top canine trainers and behaviourists in the South West to educate pet guardians to make informed decisions, thus eliminating aversive, unregulated people who are causing irrevocable damage to our dogs

What to search for

First question - Do you need a trainer or behaviourist?

Canine trainers will help you work with your dog to build their confidence and teach life skills such as recall, correct social interactions, and loose lead walking. Pluto's Becky is currently studying towards her Canine Trainer qualifications.


Canine behaviourists will help you and your dog overcome past traumas and aid in getting to the bottom of unwanted behaviours. Depending on the behaviourist's speciality, they can aid in reactivity, anxiety including separation, and environmental stressors. A clinical behaviourist is also able to work alongside vets, prescribe medication and refer to other veterinary specialists such as physiotherapists - This is the area Stevie is studying.

Steer clear of board and train facilities!


QUALIFICATIONs, credentials & insurance

Qualifications are paramount in determining whether your chosen professional is indeed who they say they are. All recognised qualifications from dog grooming to behavioural sciences will not allow and actively condemn all aversive, coercive, and fear-based training. If your chosen professional is not qualified, and an incident should occur during training, all insurances will be invalidated. On a professional's website and often after their name you will see letters depicting their credentials. Here's a handy guide to help know how qualified your chosen person is. This is not all the post nominals (there are a lot!) 

* BA or BSc: Bachelors or Bachelor's in Science

* MSc: Masters of Sciences

* CPDT-KA: Certified professional dog trainer - knowledge assessed

* CDT: Certified Dog Trainer

* CAB: Certified Animal Behaviourist

* CCB: Certified Canine Behaviourist

* CAT: Certified Animal Trainer

* CBCC: Certified Behaviour Consultant Canine

A recognised professional will be more than happy to answer all questions you may have.


If a person is conducting work unregulated, they have no accountability and may do untold damage to dogs' mental and physical wellbeing. All fully qualified professionals will be regulated by one or more of the following bodies:


* The UK Dog Behaviour & Training Charter (The Charter)

* The Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC)

* The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT)

* The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)

* INTO Dogs

* International Companion Animal Network (ICAN)


All these self-regulatory bodies are at the forefront of behavioural science, ensuring that every professional has a code of conduct, using methods tried and tested. Most importantly, they ensure that aversive methods are not used and are actively working to get them banned.


One thing we have discovered at Pluto's, is most caregivers choose the positive approach, but are inadvertently using aversive trainers. Many unregulated people will not be open about their techniques and will work independently with your animal, looking like amazing results when you have them back, but in fact fear-based methods have been used. Look out for these red flags when seeking outside help.

*Dominance/alpha/pack training (anything loud and confrontational)

* Balanced training/structured walks

* Headcollars (face Halti)/figure of 8

* Collar only/short leads/slip leads

* Shock (e-collars)/spray/prong/vibration/choke/smart collars

* Physical corrections (lead yanking/popping/hitting)

* Poking or trying to "simulate a mother dog's bite" with fingers

The main 'tell' of aversive, coercive, or fear-based training is to ask yourself - "Will this make my dog happy?" or "Would I do this to a child?". If the answer is no, don't use it!

If you are ever unsure of a technique or tool, Pluto's is always available to offer free advice.




Glossary of Pet Professionals

This page is a collaboration between Pluto's and these wonderful professionals listed below.

Through continued partnerships and alliances we will eradicate unregulated people and aversive methods once and for all!


Canine Bond Dog Behaviour & Training

Donna Bond: Canine Behaviourist

  • Canine Behaviourist with ISCP level 5 diploma (ISCP.Dip.Canine.Prac) 

  • Full member certified canine behaviourist with INTODogs

  • Certified Family Dog Mediator

  • Pet Professional Network (PPN)

  • Dog welfare alliance (DWA)

  • 121 support for dogs displaying:

    • Nervous, anxious behaviours

    • Sensitivity / reactive around other dogs 

    • Support for New / Rescue dogs

  • 121 coaching support teaching life skills in and out of the home for puppies and dogs, advise and guidance on equipment, recall, loose lead, socialisation, enrichment



  • 07717 843116

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Know Your Dog Behaviour & Training Sally Lewis: Canine Trainer & Behaviourist

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  • C.C.B - Certified Canine Behaviourist (INTODOGS)

  • C.A.T - Certified Animal Behaviourist (ICAN)

  • Certified Family Dog Mediator

  • Published author – ‘Empowering your dog through choice’ ISBN 9798848510829

  • Specialising in aggression, frustration, anxiety, fear, and stress-based behaviours



  • 07824 512885

Leaps and Hounds

Lucy Aalders: Animal Trainer & Behaviourist

  • C.C.B - Certified Canine Behaviourist (INTODOGS)

  • C.A.B - Certified Animal Behaviourist (ICAN)

  • C.D.T – Certified Dog Trainer (IMDT)

  • Puppy school courses

  • Adolescent school courses

  • 121 for all age groups

  • Challenging behaviour

  • Recommended by several vets, Dogs Trust and RSPCA


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Pawfect Fit Dog Training

Julie Shepard: Canine Trainer

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  • C.D.T. Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT)

  • Specialist in 121 training

  • Small group training classes (max four dogs)


  • 07790 541592

Speak Dog with Ruth Haynes

Ruth Haynes: Canine Trainer & Behaviourist

  • ISCP.Dip.Canine.Prac

  • Level 5 Canine Behaviour with the The International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour (ISCP)

  • UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter

  • Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

  • ICAN (International Companion Animal Network)

  • Certified UK Sniffer Dog Instructor

  • Certified All Dogs Parkour Instructor

  • Certified International Dog Parkour Association Instructor

  • Canine Hooper UK certified instructor


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Train Positive

Andrew Hale: Animal & Canine Behaviourist

  • BSc, ISCP.Dip.Canine.Prac

  • Behavioural Consultant for Animals in Distress and Pet Remedy and British Isles Grooming Association

  • Runs community guidance page on Facebook and YouTube 'Dog Centred Care'

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