/* There is a non-breaking space here */
Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Training Services FAQs

  • I started studying to become a Guide Dog Trainer in January 2012

  • I qualified as a Guide Dog Trainer in 2013 with the University of Chester*

  • I qualified as an International Guide Dog Federation recognised Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in 2018**

  • I have a BSc in Zoology, 2:1, from the University of Reading 2011

  • I am an Approved Dog Trainer with the Dog Training College

  • I am a Full Member of the Pet Professional Network

  • I am Dog First Aid trained via Dog First Aid Training

  • I am studying to gain ABTC-ATI status (the Animal Behavior & Training Council)

  • I volunteered 2.5 hours a week from September 2014 until early 2016 supporting Puppy Classes, Improver Classes, and Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Schemes Bronze & Silver with Pets in Practise

  • I have run Green Paw Dog Training since February 2022

Chester is first university in the UK to offer Guide Dogs degree | University Of Chester 
** Frequently Asked Questions - International Guide Dog Federation (igdf.org.uk)

I use a science-backed and ethical approach known as positive reinforcement training, other terms often used are Force Free and Game-Based Training. This method focuses on rewarding desired behaviours and using management techniques and changes in your dog's environment to reduce unwanted behaviours. I use this style of training for the following reasons:

1. It's Science-Backed:

Scientific studies consistently show that positive reinforcement is an effective and humane way to train dogs. It is based on the principles of learning theory, emphasising the association between a behaviour and a positive consequence. 

A couple of papers to get you started:

  • China L, Mills DS, Cooper JJ. (2020) Efficacy of dog training with and without remote electronic collars vs. a focus on positive reinforcement. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:508. 10.3389/fvets.2020.00508 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  • Herron et al. (2009) Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 117 (1-2): 47 [10.1016/j.applanim.2008.12.011]

2. It's Ethical :

Positive reinforcement is considered ethical because it avoids the use of aversive methods or punishment. Instead of instilling fear or anxiety in your dog, it focuses on building a trusting and positive relationship between you and your furry companion. This also dovetails nicely into my wider ethics around nature and sustainability as ethical training methods more often involve eco-friendly products, respect for natural canine behaviors, and responsible pet ownership practices; encouraging an holistic approach to the well-being of both our pets and the environment.

3. It's Fun:

Dogs, like humans, respond well to positive experiences. By associating good behaviours with rewards, you tap into their natural instincts and motivations, making the learning process enjoyable for them. This method not only teaches your dog what you expect from them but also strengthens your bond. Dogs thrive on positive interactions, and using rewards fosters a sense of trust and cooperation.

4. It's Effective:

Positive reinforcement creates lasting behavioural changes. Dogs are more likely to repeat behaviours that result in positive outcomes, making the training process more effective and sustainable over time. A paper that digs into this is: 

  • Hiby, Elly & Rooney, Nicola & Bradshaw, J. (2004) Dog training methods: Their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare. 13. 63-69.. 10.1017/S0962728600026683. [ResearchGate]

In summary, positive reinforcement training is a scientifically supported, ethical, and effective way to train dogs. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss this in more detail, feel free to ask!

Ethical Dog Training cannot come with a guarantee of your dog becoming your dream dog in every way. As living creatures, dogs have their own personalities and dislikes. Dogs will respond to training in different ways, but a training programme is never going to turn a quiet and introverted dog into a dog who just loves strangers running up into their face and space. 

I do guarantee that anyone who follows my advice and plans will have increased understanding and communication with their dog, plus the knowledge of their dog's 'why', and how to help shape change in their dog's behaviour. 

Some punishment-based training may come with a guarantee that appears to have worked. However, this is often not as it seems. If I forced you to hold a poisonous spider and made a threat that your screaming would cause it to bite you, you wouldn't scream. However, this isn't because you now are comfortable around spiders. It's because you are terrified of the consequences. The next time you see a spider, you are likely to be more afraid of it, not less. You are also more like to lash out at the spider (kill it), rather than leave it alone. Imagine how risky this could be with a fearful dog who has been terrified into appearing like they are okay, when they aren't. 

Green Paw cannot guarantee your results, but we can guarantee that you will get supportive and informed training assistance. 

Payment and Cancellation FAQs

Training Services

Initial Support Visits (your first visit) is payable by card when you book it in via my website. Further ad hoc support visits are booked the same way.

For those moving to Training Programmes, I will invoice you for either the full amount or 50% up front (your choice), which is payable via bank transfer. For those splitting across two payments, the 50% balance is due after four weeks.  

Online Memberships and Products

Payments are made online via my secure card processing company, Stripe. For memberships, these move to auto-renewal on a monthly basis (12 payments per annum).

Training Services

You will need to give four working days’ written notice to terminate a training programme. This can be via email (info@greenpaw.org.uk), WhatsApp or text message.

Please note, you will need to pay for all services already delivered at the point of cancellation. For example, if cancelling before the third session, you will need to pay for the first and second session already delivered.  

Online Memberships

Cancel by emailing info@greenpaw.org.uk.

You are allowed to cancel your online membership within the first 14 days from the date of purchase for a full refund providing you have not yet used your membership details to sign into the Membership Site.

Beyond 14 Days

After the initial 14 days or your first sign in, no refunds will be issued. However, you can cancel your membership at any time, and access to the membership content will be available until the end of the paid billing period.

Refund Process

Refunds will be processed within 7 working days of the cancellation request. The refund will be issued using the same payment method used for the original purchase.

Online Products (eBooks, Training PDFs and Plans, Instant Training Videos)

If you buy any Digital Material, you are purchasing a digital PDF file which you will receive via email automatically and/or you will be directed to a webpage containing the download link once your payment has been processed. You can then download and save to your device. As you receive this file instantly you will not be entitled to receive a refund so do check that you are purchasing the correct product or service to meet your needs. Your other statutory rights to a refund remain in place in the usual way. 

Sustainability FAQs

Green Paw has been built with both pet owners and the planet in mind. During the set up of the business, I have made the following decisions to reduce start up emissions and embed sustainability into the core of what I do:

  • Second hand van to avoid production emissions and mining

  • Fully electric van to avoid fossil fuels

  • Electricity supplied by Octopus, which only offers renewable electricity

  • Phone tariff with Ecotalk, who put all profits into protecting nature with the RSPB

  • Second hand phone to avoid production emissions and mining

  • All uniform is either second hand or made from organic cotton, supporting fair trade and sustainably sourced

  • All washing at 30 degrees unless sterilisation required

  • All cleaning products are non-toxic and vegan 

  • Poo bags are made from plant-based plastics rather than fossil oil-based

  • Toys are either second hand or made from recycled materials (Beco)

  • All treats I purchase are thoroughly researched to determine ethics versus impact versus value, and I continue to test and research new treats regularly. I prioritise B-Corp where possible. 

  • Going paperless for admin

  • Any physical marketing is on 100% recycled cotton excess from the t-shirt industry and/or paper

  • I am plant-based for the environment myself

  • I am offsetting all remaining carbon footprint/Greenhouse Gas emissions

I have utilised three different free tools available for individual and SME (small and medium enterprises). Due to the lack of detail held within these tools to make them user-friendly, I have opted to choose higher levels at every stage to ensure I have over-estimated rather than under-estimated my carbon footprint. 

Use of the median and based on the level of detail used, I have calculated my business' annual carbon footprint at approximately 6.6 tonnes CO2e (Small World Consulting (sw-consulting.co.uk)).

Thanks to my second-hand electric van and clean Octopus electricity, I calculated my annual transport emissions to be 1,508 kgCO2 GHG (as a worst-case-scenario), which is around three times less than if I had an equivalent diesel van. This was calculated using the Carbon Trust's 'SME Carbon Footprint Calculator' (Tools - SME Climate hub).

I have chosen to offset my emissions via donations to World Land Trust (WLT) who will use the money to protect existing established 'forests that store harmful carbon dioxide (CO2)'. 

I am opting to offset via charity rather than a market-based offset scheme due to the controversy around whether these schemes can cause damage to indigenous populations and merely 'shift' deforestation to elsewhere. Ethical Consumer recommends, 'If you do DIY offsetting, you can choose to give to a conventional charity, and possibly circumnavigate a lot of the bureaucracy of the official offset market.' (A Short Guide to Carbon Offsets | Ethical Consumer) So this is what I have opted to do. 

I aim to further reduce my carbon footprint over the coming years.

A yellow Labrador looks over their shoulder at the sunset behind