Thinking-Dog has been so successful for both me and Lottie, that I'm always recommending Fern to my customers at work (Pets at Home), emphasizing the use of gentle and force free methods.
From the start Fern told me, that you get the dog you're meant to have. At that time, I'll admit I questioned why I was meant to have a stubborn, bolshy and reactive staffie puppy, but almost 3 years on I can see why. She's truly saved me in more ways than one, and I her. Thinking Dog methods created a bond between us like no other."
Rhiannon Harrison, Lottie (Staffie) Lincoln
Fern has been such a great help in helping us train Coco. When we first got Coco we really struggled to know what to do as she was so fearful of other dogs and pulled terribly on her walks.
Our sessions with Fern helped us immensely and Coco clearly enjoyed them too. She loved learning, as did we, and she has become a much calmer and happier dog since the training began.
She now enjoys her walks very much and is brilliant on the lead. The change has been incredible and we learnt skills and games we still use now, which Coco really enjoys.
Really cannot recommend Fern highly enough. Fantastic dog trainer. Thank you so much Fern for all your help.Terry, Caroline and Coco. xx
Terry and Caroline Chamberlin, Coco (Boxer-x-staffie), South Hykeham
Hi Fern. My whippets are all making progress thanks to your superb on-line interventions. The techniques and methods you advise are positive and so right for my dogs.
In addition, your understanding of the issues I have faced when out with one of my dogs is second to none and I really appreciate the time you have spent in explaining carefully and fully to me what I need to do to resolve these.
Finally, I have to say that your methods work ! So, satisfaction for me and happiness for my dogs makes a great partnership. A big thank you!
Lynn Rixson, Costa, (Chihuahua), Fleur (Chihuahua), Fleur, (Whippet), Toby (Whippet), Grace (Whippet) via email.
Fern helped with Bella, who we used to call our little 'spoiled' Shitzu.
She was a very nervous dog, who barked at any dog, big or small. In tiny steps, Fern not only educated Bella to not be threatened by other dogs, but she also educated us to train her correctly and gave us some extremely helpful and effective tips along the way.
In a lot less time than expected we could take Bella to our local dog-friendly café.
We never thought Bella could get to where she is today, and she wouldn't be if Fern wasn't there with her amazing methods, patience and support.
John and Pauline Pinkney, Bella (Shitzu)
Fern came to us to teach us how to stop Rocky’s unwanted behavior.
Fern's knowledge about dogs, her calmness and patience, made us progress very quickly in training our teenage Labrador and how to handle difficult situations.
She always makes us feel at ease and we’re feeling now very confident to continue our training with Rocky when Fern is not there. Also, the training notes and advice we received from her after each session help us keep on track. She always gets back to us very quickly when we have questions in between sessions.
We quickly realised that she was not just training the dog, but also us humans, too! Unfortunately, we didn’t get any treats!
We cannot recommend her enough. We have now moved on to group sessions and always look forward to our training with Fern.
Sandra and Paul Petty, Rocky (Chocolate Labrador)
Starting out our journey to help Dodge was a daunting task for us. We didn't know where to begin or what questions to ask, however from the get-go Fern was by our side supporting all 3 of us.
With Fern we have seen a remarkable transformation in Dodge, because with all the help and guidance she has given us, we have learnt how to read his signals and he has learnt to trust us when he's facing the big wide world and to know it's not as scary as it seemed before.
We were at a point of not being able to take Dodger on walks or even outside the front of the house without the potential of a stressful situation involving other dogs occuring, but thanks to Fern's incredible techniques we are now able to have controlled meetings between Dodger and other dogs including some of our friends and some of Fern's personal herd, which is something we never thought we would be able to do!
We trust her implicitly, would recommend her to anyone we know and feel now she is not only our 'dog trainer' but also a part of our little team as a friend.
Sophie, Tom and Dodger Harrison, Dodge (Lurcher)
Fern answered my plea for help in February 2017 after several very stressful, unpleasant walks with my fearful, reactive , rescue dog, Teddie.
Living in the city, people and other animals produced a display of anxiety-related aggression from him. Fern's relaxed, professional guidance has helped me build a relationship with Teddie built on trust. After only 5 months he is a calmer boy, much less reactive and capable of thinking things through.
The advice from Fern has been, and continues to be invaluable. Thanks to Fern my boy is getting there faster than I thought possible.
And a bit about Teddie:
After being dumped on a charity with bad skin , wobbly legs and very frightened, Teddie is the foster dog that arrived in our home and never left. He is a tiny dog with a big personality and even bigger behavioural issues, fearful, reactive and bossy. With Fern's help and hard work Teddie is becoming a calmer, less reactive boy, who is able to concentrate on the task ahead. He loves his training sessions, and even responds to Fern's voice on the videos when I watch them back, with "his head on the wonk"
Ruth Villers, Teddie (Chihuahua x Shitzu) Lincoln
'I just wanted to say a big thank you for showing me how to walk Lenny this morning. I had tried different methods but as none of them had worked I had given into using a halti.
Now, with watching your method I do feel a lot more inspired and I went out with Lenny this afternoon doing just what you showed me to do and it did work! I think sometimes I was looking for a quick fix and it is nice to know that, as you say, there really are no quick fixes but just persevering!'
Lorraine and Lenny (Cocker spaniel) Lincoln
'Four weeks ago we became the new owners of a 4 year old gun shy working cocker spaniel called Monty. He’s gentle and very good-natured, but has never had much exposure to people, and is consequently quite nervous and shy. He moved from a rural environment where he was often in a kennel, with other dogs in other kennels, to a domestic environment with two people who instantly loved him, but wanted try and make this massive upheaval as unstressful as possible for him.
'Fern came to us a day or two after he arrived, and was able to give us invaluable information on how to develop a bond with Monty to help gain his trust, and to build his confidence. She encouraged us to go at his pace, rather than our own, and showed us how to begin to read his body language. This has helped hugely in learning when he is stressed or anxious, and enabled us to adjust our behaviour accordingly. Fern’s calm, thoughtful and reassuring approach to both us and Monty helped us all through the early days.
Four weeks on, the change in Monty is very apparent. Although Monty bonded with Kev very quickly, he was much slower and more nervous towards me. By putting into practice the skills and techniques Fern showed us in those early days, we are able to communicate with Monty in a much more informed and natural way, and the result is a very happy, loving, and slightly mischievous little dog, who communicates well with both of us.'
Bernice, Kev and Monty (Working Cocker Spaniel) Lincoln
'I am so grateful that you took the time to talk with me the other evening. Thank you very much. The tools that you have described to me have already really helped me and Dougie. It is such a help because what you have explained to me means that neither Dougie or I get upset or stressed. I watch Dougie very carefully and when I see stress/fear signs I go through the process you explained. It is quite a skill isn't it....and absolutely fascinating.' Anna and Dougie, lurcherxwhippet via email and phone
Fern is a very intuitive, supportive person who has helped me with my dog Seren. I know that when she met Seren she knew how frightened and unhappy she was and that Seren knew she knew and trusted Fern to help her.
Fern has helped us both and in one year our lives are transformed. Fern explains the reasons for behaviour, gives you the tools to know what to do in every situation and will also show you exactly how to do it.
We followed a personalised plan which has been life changing. We still have a way to go but I now have a happy confident dog. Thanks Fern.
Bridget Robson, Seren, Border collie x Bearded collie, Lincoln
The programme hasn't just taught our whippet how to be happier and calmer - its helped our whole family! The approach is gentle and works at a pace dictated by your dog.
It requires consistency and commitment from the owners but it has been worth it to see our dog, who struggles with many aspects of the big wide world, leading a calmer, less stressful life.
Thanks Fern - you are pawsome"
Kirstie Mawhinney, Ziggy, Whippet, Northumberland
"Having co owned a training kennels and successfully trained dogs for many years. I suddenly had a dog I really struggled with. A dog that just didn’t have any self control, or confidence, who would go from sleeping to 100 in seconds of waking! He knew what heel meant, but could only focus on the end result....getting in that field or wood to play! Playing with other dogs was too much for him, as he played too rough, and wouldn’t listen to the other dog when they told him "No”. He knew what was accepted in the house, but again couldn’t control his excitement. He would scream on the way out on his walk.... People would stop and look at us as if I was beating him, but all that was happening was he was so excited to be on his daily walk! He would be pulling, jumping, screaming, sometimes pulling the led out of my hand.
We had been to training classes, every week, three times a week. He went for a day’s training with a local trainer. Who told me to just rehome him! We tried two other trainers, but still got nowhere! I was resigned to just dread walking him, and having a hyper dog, as he became more and more scared of things, and more dog reactive. Still unable to control himself and be calm. I tried every miracle lead/harness/head collar. Used every bit of training knowledge I had. (I previously had GSD, GSP, Rotti, ESPs and trained, assisted training customs and excise dogs.) I just couldn’t find a way through to this dog!
In desperation, after he had "had a go" at two dogs within a couple of days I decided we needed help before he got himself, and me in big trouble! I Googled and found Fern Ember Behaviourist. Having called her and chatted for quite a while, I came off the phone feeling hopeful. We arranged an appointment after Christmas and in the meantime Fern sent some leaflets for me to be starting with, and a questionnaire to fill in. This was really helpful as she had some information about him before arriving on the day.
I have to admit the day before I did begin to wonder would it be more money spent with no result! I am so pleased to say I was very, very wrong!
Fern spent almost three hours on our first session. Meeting outdoors made it more relaxed for my dog.
She spent time just letting Dobie get to know her, and at no time put him under any pressure. She was so laid back and gained his trust. Fern’s was of training has taken me a bit of getting used to. Her emphasis is calm, creating a thinking dog.. a dog that makes its own choice to do the right thing. Dobie soon clicked on to what was expected.
Within the session Fern worked on calmness, being able to walk on a loose lead, being calm before walking out of the front door for his walk. The reward for being calm was small, but very tasty treats. By the time Fern left. I had a dog that was just that Calm for the first time going out of the door. All done by watching his body language, showing calm, and rewarding him.
Although Fern’s way of training is similar to my old way of training I have learnt so much from just our first session. People have asked why I needed a behaviourist. Well every dog is different and needs different approaches. No one ever stops learning, and I know I have had a steep learning curve in the last 3 weeks, putting all I have learnt into practice. He isn’t perfect, but now corrects himself when loose lead walking. I have learnt to read his body language better. We actually have fun and work together, no longer dreading his time on a lead!
Whether you are a novice, with your first pet dog, an experienced trainer, or behaviourist who just wants more knowledge and different ways to help dogs Fern and Thinking-dogs is for you!"
Karen Milne, Dobie Doberman and Purdy, German Shorthaired Pointer, Lincoln