Hairy Tales Specializes in Behaviour Issues

Not all trainers are able to help with behaviour issues effectively. So what makes Hairy Tales so successful with behaviour cases?

What Kinds of Behaviour Issues Can You Help With?

Behaviour modification involves training to get rid of already existing behaviours that are unwanted. These can include things such as (but not limited to) the following issues:

Eradicating a behaviour that is already present is vastly different than teaching a dog new behaviours.

When dealing with behaviours that we want to get rid of in dogs, your average dog trainer will often not be well versed enough in dog psychology and behaviour to help completely get rid of the problem. This is especially true when we are dealing with more intense reactivity and / or aggression issues.

Eradicating a behaviour that is already present is VASTLY different than teaching a dog new behaviours. This is why basic obedience will often not be the answer when it comes to solving your dogs behavioural woes. 

It will often take someone who is highly specialized is understanding dog behaviour issues in order for you and your dog to get the results you are looking for. 

Dog Training Toronto | Hairy Tales | Award Winning Dog Behaviorist

When I am working with a dog that has behavioural issues, I am always looking at the entire picture to see what could be causing the problem, and how WE can change to help THEM. The key word here is "WE" meaning; it's up to the owner to make changes to how they interact with their dog in order for their dog to change. 

The Hairy Dogmother

The first most important step to any dog training, is improving the relationship with your dog. Dogs, like all social mammals (including humans), practice dominance hierarchy. Anyone who tells you otherwise has absolutely no idea about how nature works, and how social mammals cohabit.

Because dog packs are not stagnant family units like wolves, it means that they are constantly looking at the pack members around them all the time to see if they need to take a leadership / protector role in that moment. Dogs communicate primarily with body language and space, and for this reason, many people do not realize that they are sending the wrong messages to their dog all day long that the dog should be the leader / protector. When this happens, your average happy go lucky dog will likely just not listen as well to commands because, well, why should they? They are the boss not you! 

The major problem occurs when we have dogs who have fears and insecurities about things in our human world. If you have unintentionally told them that they are the leader / protector, they will be reactive and sometimes even aggressive towards the things that scare them.

This is where I come in, to help you understand what you might be doing to send your dog these messages, and to help your dog understand that it is not their job to protect themselves or you, in fact, you have their back and you are their protector. 

So what does behaviour modification look like?


Improving Communication & Relationship

Through teaching you how dogs communicate, Kristina will be helping you how to clarify your interactions with your dog so you are sending them the right messages.


Learning Techniques

You must learn from Kristina how to communicate what is and is not acceptable. Then you must apply this and teach your dog the rules and boundaries clearly and consistently. 


Practice, Practice, Practice!

Once you have the knowledge, skills and tools from Kristina to improve your dogs behaviour, you are to practice every single day. Practice makes perfect!

This is often very different than what most other trainers will try to use to get rid of behaviour issues, which is generally obedience training, corrections or counter conditioning. Without a change in relationship, none of these methods will get rid of the root cause of the behavior issue. If you have already been to other trainers, this might be the missing link. 

What kinds of training tools do you use?

This really depends on the dog and human involved. Again, we don’t use a one sized fits all method, and so each dog and human duo will need something different depending on the behaviour and how intense they are. What is for sure, is we almost always need to switch from the current tool, as most dogs come in completely desensitized to their current walking tool (harness, collar, halti, or whatever else they are on).  By switching the equipment to something new, it allows the owner to have more communication for a few days while the dog is not used to the sensation of that new tool. It’s like getting new shoes. We are always a little weirded out at first because it feels funny, and we aren’t used to it.  We always try to use the least aversive tools possible that gets the results we need to improve the behaviour.

***PLEASE NOTE: Do not switch equipment before meeting your new trainer as this could cause your dog to become desensitized to the new tool if you are not using the right methods and techniques to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Do you use e-collar training for behaviour modification?

We can, however this is not the first go to tool of choice when we are working with unwanted behaviours. E-collar training requires a lot of time and work before you can actually use it as a corrective tool for unwanted behaviour.  If its something you are interested in, it will take some time before we get there to use it in this way. More information on e-collar training can be found here.

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  • Working with Kristina has done wonders for my dog’s on-leash reactivity to other dogs. Before meeting with Kristina, my dog was very reactive - barking and becoming very anxious at the sight or sound of any dog. Taking my dog out in public had become a stressful and anxiety inducing affair for both me and my dog. Across three sessions, Kristina showed me how to set up more consistent boundaries at home for my dog and manage my dog’s behavior on leash. After each session, Kristina shared detailed notes and was available for follow up questions - she was always considerate and approachable. My dog showed a ton of improvement after two months of consistently applying Kristina’s lessons and now, at the three month mark, has virtually no signs of reactive behavior. She can calmly pass by other dogs on the same sidewalk, is unfazed by other dogs barking at her, and confidently enjoys herself at the dog park. My relationship with my dog is so much better after working with Kristina. Thank you very much Kristina!

    Henry Choi Avatar Henry Choi
  • I called Kristina shortly after bringing home my new puppy, a 9 month old rescue from Egypt. When I felt overwhelmed, she helped me to better understand his behaviours (and their underlying motivations) in order to help us live a happier and more balanced life together in a new environment. I really appreciate her check-ins and detailed "homework" to keep us on track and continuing to work on our bond. Kristina's guidance and expertise has transformed my relationship with my dog.

    Valerie Avatar Valerie
  • My 2 yorkies used to love each other, but two months ago they started fighting every day, it was a stressful situation at home. Kristina was the second trainer to try to fix this dog agression situation. She solved 70% of my problem in ONE DAY. Check the picture of my yorkies, they are together in the same room without killing each other!!!!! It happened literally 2 days after we started doing what Kristina told us to! I am looking foward to the next session, I am really confident that they will become the most polite dogs in the world

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    Nicoli Ueta Avatar Nicoli Ueta
  • Before we consulted Kristina about our rescue dog Stella’s leash reactivity, we couldn’t take her for a walk without her barking/lunging/snarling at LITERALLY EVERYTHING. We’re talking — we leave the door of the condo building and it was non-stop snarling at everything she could see. People, cars, bikes, dogs. If you could name it, Stella was trying to bite it. After just the initial consultation session with Kristina and being given homework on relationship building/the correct tools (and being taught how to use said tools), we saw a considerable improvement in Stella’s leash reactivity and her leash walking manners. It’s been 3 weeks since our first session, and today Stella walked so casually in a loose leash position, I thought I must’ve brought the wrong dog home from the groomer. She does not bark at people and cars anymore (sometimes she’ll tense up at cars, but we can redirect her now). Her threshold for seeing dogs without reacting has considerably improved and we can even walk by many of them on the sidewalk without issue — a massive improvement from seeing them even across the street and reacting. I don’t feel scared to take her on walks anymore and my confidence as a handler has also greatly improved. AFTER ONE SESSION!!! Aside from Kristina’s expertise in training, my partner and I are extremely grateful for how gracefully Kristina communicates with us. Kristina never shamed us for not knowing better or not already seeing Stella’s signs of guarding (which is related to the reactivity issue). She never made us feel badly about Stella’s behaviour issues. She teaches in such an easily understandable way. We have another session with Kristina booked soon, and I imagine we’ll sign up for more in the coming weeks/months to continue to help Stella live the best life she can. I can honestly say that it’s probably the best money we’ve ever spent. Highly recommend!!!

    Taylor Medeiros Avatar Taylor Medeiros
  • Working with Kristina has made a major difference in our home. Our older dog came to us incredibly fearful and anxious. The strategies and homework we did with our training has helped him really come out of his shell and develop confidence. Our younger dog can be reactive but after each session we see improvements in behaviours. Overall we have seen a lot of improvements in both our dogs and I’m really thankful for all we have learned from Kristina.

    Chiara Tari-Arnold Avatar Chiara Tari-Arnold
  • Kristina has been a constant resource in my now two-year old puppy's life - both my pup and I love working with her. She's patient, kind, and always willing to go beyond your session to offer advice or help. I've enjoyed working with her and will continue to use her help whenever there is something that needs adjusting. Thank you Kristina from all of us!! 🙂

    Corine Hiebert Avatar Corine Hiebert
  • Milo and I are so lucky that we have found Kristina. She is very knowledgeable and helpful. Milo ignored me all the time and always pulling me on the walk. Now, after two sessions, he has no pulling at all. Walking has never been this easy and relaxing. More importantly, the training sessions help me a lot to understand Milo’s behavior. Will definitely recommend Kristina to everyone who is seeking for help with your pup! And we will keep our sessions with her!

    Kailin Zhang Avatar Kailin Zhang
  • I am so happy with Kristina. My previous dog trainer retired and found Kristina by Google reviews. The Google reviews are correct - Kristina is excellent and perfect energy for us. Supportive, kind and fantastic at explaining things. We are making huge progress with Gwenny already. Highly recommend Kristina

    Rossi Ayres Avatar Rossi Ayres
  • Kristina is a very experienced trainer who also provides thorough notes after each session, which is one reason I find her fee very good value. After just one session, I was able to make substantial progress with my two-year-old rescued terrier. She also checks in between sessions, which I appreciate. Overall, she obviously has a deep love of dogs and is very conscientious about helping their humans understand their pets’ behaviour and how best to change it where necessary. Call me and my dog very satisfied customers!

    Issa Avatar Issa
  • I was so grateful when I received a referral to Kristina after we adopted our sweet pup from Redemption Paws. It has been so wonderful to work with Kristina throughout our pups training journey. Kristina is clear in her communication and instructions. Everything was always explained clearly which helped me to understand my dogs behaviors. After each session Kristina would send a summary and homework for us to practice. It really helped me to be able to reference back to these emails throughout the training process. I've contacted Kristina anytime a new concern or behavior comes up, and each time she has supported me to quickly address it. I feel empowered and prepared to deal with any challenge that may arise in the future with my pup. Thank you Kristina, you have helped me to become a confident dog owner! If you have found Kristina don't hesitate to book- I know you will also feel grateful you found her!

    Courtney Nunn Avatar Courtney Nunn