Spotlight on Bournemouth: Meet Denise Nuttall, a behavioural expert helping reactive dogs in Dorset

Today we’re talking to Denise Nuttall who’s based in the Bournemouth area. She is a Trainer & Behaviourist and this is her story.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into dog training.

It all started when we got a six weeks old puppy dalmatian, Amy. We had never trained any of our previous dogs and had never had a problem.

Amy taught me I didn’t know a whole lot about dogs.

She became aggressive and suffered with Separation frustration. I decided to learn more and started to do some courses. An interest quickly became a passion and a vocation.

I ended up doing two degrees part time ( a Bachelors and a Masters) and after a lot of work am a registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist and Animal Training Instructor listed on the Animal Behaviourists and Trainers Council (ABTC) register.

I’m also a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC), a full member of The Canine Behaviour and Training Society (TCBTS) and a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Do you specialise in a certain behaviour?

Yes, inter-dog aggression and early puppy socialisation.

What one word would you choose to sum up your training style?


Do you have dogs yourself?

Yes, Lily our nearly 7 year old dalmatian. She works with me helping dogs that don’t like other dogs to overcome their worries.

She’s a kind and gentle soul. Clever too! She has passed the Kennel Club Good Citizens Awards all the way up to gold. She also does display team work.

What do you think are the most important qualities for anyone working with dogs?

Kindness, patience, desire to learn about learning theory, endurance, determination, good coaching skills, be supportive of both dog and owner.

You need to love people in this job, don’t do it if you only love dogs.

What’s the most common type of problem you see?

Inter dog aggression.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about dog ownership?

To understand that dogs have emotions and it is emotion that drives behaviour.

What advice would you give to a frustrated dog owner who is having major issues with their dog?

Sit back and breathe.

Come off the dog training forums and internet because for each person who knows what they’re talking about another three don’t. Seek the advice of an ABTC registered professional.

It’s a bit like plumbing. Try to fix it yourself and you could spend a fortune clearing up the mess afterwards. Seek advice from an ABTC registered professional at the first signs and things are usually sorted out very quickly and won’t cost a fortune.

How do you relax and recharge after a long week’s work?

Umm, my week never ends! But in the evenings I love to watch a great crime drama or a great movie.

Finally, what is the one thing you wish all dog owners knew?

I wish they knew what socialisation should be.

Too many think it means they should take the pup up to the local dog field and get it to “ play “ with other dogs. If owners do not know how to read canine body language, then they should socialise their puppies with help of a professional.

Most people think they know body language but only focus on the tail. Even a wagging tail may not signify a happy dog. You need to look at tail position and speed of wag.

Most people think a bow is to play, but it isn’t always. It depends how it is done. Tail position and directional orientation may tell a different story.

There are dozens of small signals that are totally ignored.

Socialisation done correctly will mean the pup feels safe and is enjoying the experience. If you can’t read body language, how do you know if the pup is having a good time?

I believe the reason inter dog aggression is such a problem is because people don’t socialise their pups with other dogs properly. Try to get your pups into professionally run early socialisation sessions under the direction of a registered dog behaviourist or trainer.

Want to work with Denise?

Like what you hear? You can get in touch with Denise here:

Business name: Paws in Hand Dog Training and Behaviour

Contact details: Phone Denise on 01202 861340 or mobile 07764 250554

Areas that are covered: Bournemouth and Poole area

About Denise Nutall

Based in Bournemouth, UK

Expert in reactive dogs

Al Elliott

Hi there, I'm Al and I'm the founder of this site. I just wanted to thank you for stopping by, and if you like what you see, please share this with your friends using the share buttons above! (Oh, and if you want us to feature you and your dog in our next article, send us a message via Facebook: )

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