Posts Posts by: "Joy Matthews"
toilet training puppy

Please don’t rub your puppy’s face in anything! That’s gross and grossly unfair.  Plus, it may mean your pup associates your presence with ‘scary’ and ‘being told off’ so, pup may avoid toileting altogether when you’re around.  Worse still pup might resort to stealth-poops to avoid the ‘face-rub’; or…(Read More)

puppy training cheltenham

Getting a new puppy is exciting and daunting in equal measure – for both you and for the puppy. To make the start of your adventure together a success, follow those 12 steps. Empathy The most important thing you can do for your pup is to have empathy. Get the right mindset and ‘magically’ things…(Read More)

recall training cheltenham

Most people think that recall training their dog is about getting ‘Rover’ to run to you when you call … its NOT!  Your dog already knows how to do that.  Recall is really about persuading your dog to ‘give up’ something’ … something he’s enjoying (eg sniffing the bushes, chasing another dog; squirrel etc) –…(Read More)

dog trainer cheltenham

I meet lots of caring, committed dog owners … who unwittingly feed their dogs or puppies dreadful food.   Crafty manufacturers do not make it easy for us to decipher their ingredients labels. So, here are some pointers to help you analyse those labels and sort the good, the bad and the truly ugly! Dont…(Read More)

puppy biting

There are usually 2 reasons why puppies get ‘a bit bitey’: Over Touching Over Playing Over Touching Humans LOVE stroking dogs, especially puppies; they look gorgeous and their soft fur feels dreamy!  But whilst humans demonstrate affection through sustained eye contact, verbal praise and touching, it’s all a bit strange for your puppy; on…(Read More)

Separation Anxious dog

How does your dog cope being left alone? Canine separation anxiety is now widely recognised. If you’ve had an anxious dog or know someone who has, you’ll understand how emotionally draining it is for both dog and human. Seeing any animal in distress is heart breaking and, for the human, life seems to…(Read More)

dog training

Fitting in time to train your dog or puppy can be challenging – we all have busy lives.  So here’s a tip to save you time and give Fido the training he needs:  Simply turn your dog’s mealtimes into “Training Time!” 4 Reasons Why Meal Times Make Great Training Opportunities Meals last longer! Putting…(Read More)

puppy training cheltenham

Does your dog run off with the remote or your slippers?   Do you wonder why?  Wish you could get Fido to ‘give up’ the ‘stolen’ items? Here are a a few handy tricks to help you do just that! Consider WHY your dog is ‘stealing’ items. I put ‘stealing’ in inverted commas because its…(Read More)

Dog Training Leckhampton

Humans are verbal beings; we use words to communicate our thoughts.  And we use the word “NO!” to indicate we want a behaviour to stop.  For example: The dog is jumping up at someone – NO! The dog is about to take food off the counter – NO!  Since many dogs stop in their tracks when…(Read More)

dog training cheltenham

These Games Are Better!   What games do you play with your dog when you’re in the park or on a walk? Dogs are said to be ‘gods of frolic’ because they love playing games!  But they love it even more when they can make choices about how to play. Let me explain:  Most…(Read More)

dog trainer cheltenham

I was watching Graham Norton the other week and delighted that Will Smith was on (love that man!)  Mr Smith told various anecdotes, in his inimitable style but the one that lodged in my head was this: “Luck? There’s no such thing as ‘luck’. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation”  Here’s…(Read More)

dog trainer cheltenham

“When we are training our dogs we can often stay in our comfort zone, doing the things our dogs are already good at. Sometimes this is looked upon as showing off, but I think it’s often more a fear of failure.  Becoming skilled at something feels great and it takes guts to go back…(Read More)

Stop Jumping Up!


If your dog is an ‘eager greeter’ and jumps all over people, here’s a nifty training game to keep Fido’s paws firmly on the floor… Traditional wisdom says that to stop a dog jumping up, you ignore the errant behaviour ie you turn your back each time Fido jumps up.  That sometimes works…(Read More)

dog training cheltenham

Training your dog is a bit like learning a musical instrument.  Your timing needs to be good and how and where you place your hands is important.  Get those things right and you’ll be amazed how easily Fido picks up the ‘tune’.   These aren’t the only requirements for effective dog training but they…(Read More)

dog training cheltenham

Lots of people now train their dog or puppy using positive reinforcement – hurrah!  – and food tends to be our go-to item.  However, there is much confusion about the difference between the terms  ‘treat’,  ‘reward’ and ‘reinforcement’.   So, what is the difference?  Does it matter?  And can it affect the results you achieve with…(Read More)

dog trainer

Do certain things in your dog’s environment cause him to become over-excited, frustrated or anxious?  Do you struggle to get Fido’s attention? Teaching your dog to “bounce” can help change his emotional and behavioural response to triggers, and instead to calmly focus on you. Now doesn’t that sound like a more…(Read More)

dog training in cheltenham

Dogs put their noses to work every second of the day but this can be troubling to humans – particularly when dogs sniff places and things we consider taboo, like private parts – canine or human!  Dogs also like to sniff pee and poop … and all sorts of other stinky stuff.  But its more…(Read More)

dog training; dog trainer cheltenham;

Training your dog is really about teaching him or her to make the ‘right’ choices in life.  The term ‘Choice Architect’ was coined by Behavioural Economists, the bods who analyse how to arrange products on supermarket shelves to influence what you and I buy.  But the concept applies just as well to dog training… YOU…(Read More)

dog trainer cheltenham

Are you finding training your dog or puppy challenging?! Here are two words to make things easier for you… S-L-O-W   D-O-W-N S-L-O-W D-O-W-N And I mean slow everything down:  The speed you talk to your dog, the speed you walk…(Read More)

How do you get your dog to walk nicely on lead, without pulling? Honest answer: It takes practise; like any skill.  And, lead walking can be a particularly tricky behaviour to perfect for 4 main reasons… It’s Not Natural! Walking on a lead is not natural for dogs; there’s no equivalent in the…(Read More)

train your dog

Teaching your dog to focus on you is the mother of all behaviours.  You need that before you can teach anything else, otherwise your words (or pleas!) simply become white noise. The good news is that focus can be trained and once you have your dog’s attention, anything is possible.  Here are a couple…(Read More)

Have you ever watched a dog owner in the park saying to her dog (with increasing angst): “Fido Sit;  Sit Fido; SIT … SIT … SIIIIIITTT! ” The owner repeats the word ‘sit’ endlessly and the dog simply seems to ignore it.  But is that what’s really happening?  Is the dog being ignorant or ‘stubborn’ or…(Read More)

If you want your dog’s training to really improve, think about how you use “The 3Ds” –  Distance, Duration, Distraction.  The 3 D’s come into play in every dog or puppy training exercise and the better you manipulate them, the more effective your dog’s training will be.  Here’s a quick guide to…(Read More)

Fresh, whole foods – provide valuable nutrition to your pet and serve as a tasty snack/treat. Small bites of cheese, ham, chicken work well.As do raw almonds and cashews (for bigger dogs) and raw sunflower seeds (for smaller dogs). homemade dog treats by Gemma Organic fruits and veg…(Read More)

dog training in cheltenham

Humans LOVE talking to their dogs!  But are words the most effective way to communicate? It may seem a glib point but your dog doesn’t speak English; in fact he or she doesn’t speak at all!  Body language is your dog’s natural communication tool.  That’s why, if you watch some of…(Read More)

separation anxiety dogs cheltenham

I was working with a lovely client and her 10 week puppy when she asked: “Do dogs like belly rubs?  Because when I take my puppy to work, the staff like petting him but in response, Rover often throws himself on his back, showing his tummy and starts squirming about.  Do you think…(Read More)

Some Dogs Are Incapable Of Learning.   What twaddle!  If a dog isn’t learning a behaviour the likelihood is we haven’t communicated the task effectively.  As a dog trainer, much of my time is spent teaching owners to ‘talk dog’ ie how to use their body, gestures and voice to give clear – and consistent…(Read More)

Question: When a dog wags its tail, does it mean the dog is: Happy? Anxious? Ready to attack? On the alert? Answer:  It depends!  It could be any of the above (and more) depending on the style of the wag and the rest of the dog’s body language. Most of us think that a…(Read More)

Let’s talk about dogs, humans & emotional baggage … Picture from Picture the scene: You’ve dashed from work, braved rush hour traffic and arrived – a little flustered – at Puppy Class.  You apologise for being late and scuttle in to find your seat. Then you rustle frantically in your bag to get…(Read More)

cat behaviour

You might be wondering why Joyful DOGS has a blog on Cats?! Well, many of our dog behaviour clients also have felines in the household and would like help improving the relationship between the two! So here’s an intro to Cat Behaviour Basics… Cats are excellent at giving subtle but clear signals to say…(Read More)

If you watch two dogs meet for the first time, you’ll often see them walk towards each other in a slight arc, curving towards each other, rather than approaching head-on.  But have you ever wondered why dogs do this? ‘Curving’ is a cunning strategy dogs use to create space!  A curved approach is…(Read More)

Ever wondered how your dog sees life? We tried to imagine – anthropomorphism warning! Here’s what our resident ‘expert’ told us on why maybe it’s the humans that need a bit more training … Gerry, 4yr Collie Cross “Walkies!” Ahh, that word is music to my ears.  Fresh air, a cornucopia of smells, a…(Read More)

Dog training GL50

But how?  As a Trainer, I often get asked for help to improve a dog’s behaviour. Whatever you’re trying to teach your dog – from lead walking to recall – the foundation skill is getting your dog to focus on you … and then to keep their focus with you, which can be tricky! Speaking…(Read More)

Dog training Cheltenham

How is it that dogs just seem to ‘know’ when their human is returning?  Is it a sixth sense? In her brilliant book “Being A Dog” Alexandra Horowitz suggests that it is indeed a sense … a kind of scent-sense!  And, she believes that two forces are at play: The distinctness of our individual smell…(Read More)

positive reinforcement dog training

It’s fair to say I’m addicted to dog training.  But that doesn’t mean I always get it right with my own dog!  Like you, I’ve made mistakes.  So, I’m sharing some of my errors in the hope it might help you avoid them! Rushing When I got my rescue pup…(Read More)

trick training for dogs

Let me start by asking you a question… Have you ever moved house and found yourself opening the (new) kitchen cupboard only to remember the plates (or whatever you’re looking for) don’t ‘live’ there?  Frustrating right? And how long did it take you to master going to the new spot? – Be honest now…(Read More)

Picture the scene: your dog has just ‘performed’ but before you’ve been able to grab a poop bag, Fido is furiously scratching long, deep rivulets in the ground just milimetres away from his deposit, just like this dog here.  So, why do dogs do that? Furry feet, scented paws! Professor Alexandra Horowitz  (an eminent…(Read More)

dog trainer cheltenham

Does your pooch have a tendency to snaffle Christmas goodies?   This handy little chart – courtesy of – tells you what festive foods are ok for your dog to get his (or her) paws on; and also what to keep out of reach.  Remember that onions and nuts (bad for dogs) are ingredients…(Read More)

Adolescent Dog?


Welcome To The Age Of Objection! As adolescence hits and hormones take hold, your adorable pup begins to morph into the hound from hell!  Recall becomes a thing of the past as Fido finds his (or her) independence; dogs of the opposite sex become irresistible and getting your pooch to respond to even basic cues…(Read More)

This workshop is all about teaching your dog a reliable recall.   Walking with your dog should be a relaxing way to spend an hour or two … but if your dog doesn’t come when you call, then walks can become stressful rather than stress free.  This workshop gives you games and techniques to help…(Read More)

Turid Rugaas, a Norwegian Dog Trainer and Behaviour expert studied dog body language and noted that dogs often display ‘calming signals’ to deal with situations they feel uncomfortable in.  Her book ‘On Talking Terms With Dogs’ is a fantastic insight into understanding our dogs better.  Here’s a sneak peak at a few common calming…(Read More)

Bowl & Recall is the perfect way to train your dog to come racing back when you call! It taps into your dog’s natural chase-drive so your dog will love it … and you’ll love the results! Click the video to see how to play…(Read More)

dogs can bite

But they’d prefer not to!   Here are 10 tips to help prevent you or your children being bitten by a dog. Read the signs. Watch your dog’s body signals Licking, yawning, shaking as if wet. A dog does these things if they feel unsettled. Give the dog chance to get away, settle down…(Read More)

In general, it seems dogs are more accepting of unfamiliar women than unfamiliar men. But why? It might be tempting to think it’s because the dog has had bad experiences with men. And while that may be true in some cases, often there’s a more prosaic reason for it! It’s simply that…(Read More)

Well, it’s all about how dogs take in their environment. As humans we see the world through our eyes… but our dogs ‘see’ the world in scent; they give and receive information through their noses.  Think of it as dogs sending each other “pee-mails” instead of emails!  Sniffing another dog’s bottom is…(Read More)

Tick treatment for dogs

If you’re concerned about the chemicals in conventional ticks, flea and worming treatments then here are 2 NATURAL remedies that work! Billy No Mates – to keep away fleas, ticks and mites Verm X – worming treatment Both products have a strong odour – not unpleasant but strong!  It’s what keeps the parasites away.   So,…(Read More)

Call 07717 894414 to find out how Joy can help you train your puppy