Training for Dogs - Solutions and Support for You

Call Katharine on: 07369 251682

About Katharine

Hi I’m Katharine Brunsch and I am the trainer and founder of Canine Support. I’ve always been a massive animal lover, with numerous pets as a child and at 13 years old I finally got my first dog, a 6 month old rescue called Bonnie and have not been without a dog since. I have a BSc Degree in Exercise and Sports Science and after a career in the fitness industry I became a Police Officer. 
In 2015 my TTouch journey began, initially just to help my own dogs Jinx and Keto, but it was so amazing I was hooked. I have been trained by Robyn Hood (sister to Linda Tellington-Jones), Sarah Fisher (founder of Animal Centred Education and author of numerous books), Marie Miller and Lucie Leclerc.
I am a Tellington TTouch Practitioner One for Companion Animals. I am also a Your End of the Lead Coach after studying with Janet Finlay at the Canine Confidence Academy (author of Your End of the Lead).

I have studied with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) and have completed; 2 day Career as a dog Trainer, Perfect Puppy Foundation, Canine Body Language, Canine Aggression and Rehab, The Exercises with Steve Mann himself and also a 6 month course in Learning, Motivation and Reinforcement – Understanding and Working with Canine Behaviour.
I have also completed the Aggression in Dogs Master Course with Michael Shikashio and am the proud sponsor of the Yellow Dog Project.

In 2019, I was unfortunately medically retired from the Police following an injury on duty. I took some time off to recover and have realised I can continue my passion to help people, but through dog training.

 All my careers have been people centred, focused on helping people in some way. Although dog training is about training your dog, I know how important it is for the dog guardian to feel confident and relaxed as well. It can be very stressful owning a reactive dog, or a nervous dog, or one that is afraid of fireworks, the vets, etc and my aim is to improve your confidence with your dog and help you find ways to destress together. 

Why should you trust in me?

  • I don't just teach this stuff I use it with my own dogs. All my courses are inspired by the learning and experiences I have gone through with all my dogs over the years.
  • My aim is to support you with your dog training needs, whether your dog is reactive, a nervous rescue or rebellious adolescent.
  • I have helped many dog guardians to understand their dog and develop incredible bonds.
  • Learning needs to be fun and easy to implement for both dog and guardian and my courses are designed in this way.
Described below are some of my own dogs and the problems that they have had, take a look and see if you recognise any similar behaviours in your own dogs.

Keto the Bullmastiff

I got Keto at 5 months old, she wasn’t a rescue, she had just been returned to the breeder because she kept chasing the cat! Unfortunately, though we were on the back foot from the beginning because she hadn’t had any socialisation and had never worn a collar or lead. Luckily, I already had Jinx, my first Bullmastiff and so the pair bonded incredibly well.

The first four years of Keto’s life were fine, no real issues but what I later realised was that if she did feel uneasy about something, she would look to Jinx for reassurance. So when Jinx was diagnosed with Cancer, Keto started to change, her best mate could no longer reassure her. It probably didn’t help because I was a bit of an emotional wreck, worried about Jinx.

Keto began to get scared of loud noises, gun shots, thunder, fireworks, hot air balloons, things that had never bothered her before. Then she became reactive to anything that moved, people, dogs and bikes were her favourite. Suddenly I had 47kg of lunging, growling Bullmastiff on the end of a lead, which in itself seemed bad enough, but people could be concerned about her due to her breed when she was stood doing nothing. Add to that my personal emotional battle “the Police Officer with the dangerous dog!”

But Keto wasn’t ‘dangerous’ or aggressive, she had just become afraid of things and she had three natural instincts; fight, flight or freeze. Flight wasn’t an option when she was on the lead, so instead she would sit and watch the oncoming moving thing (freeze), before leaping into fight. And she didn’t want to fight, it was just her way of saying to the moving thing “go away”, which moving things invariably do – which reinforces the lunging behaviour!  

Luckily I found out about Tellington TTouch just before we lost Jinx. The physical touch side of TTouch involves circles, slides or lifts on the body, the pressure is very light and it is not massage. TTouch works with the body’s nervous system on a cellular level and if fear is held within the cells we can communicate with these cells to release fear. 

An example of how TTouch helped Keto was one day on a walk, a hot air balloon flew over us, the noise of the burner scared her and she pulled like a tank on the lead. We stopped and paused for a moment – she was in flight mode and wanted to get home. I did some TTouches along her body, which I repeated this several times, making sure I was relaxed and mindful in the movements. By doing this Keto was able to ‘click’ out of flight mode and looked around. The hot air balloon had gone and we walked with a loose lead all the way home.

Keto came with me to all the TTouch courses and so was in a great environment to learn how not to react to other dogs. Keto actually made some friends and was able to play with another dog, the first time since we had lost Jinx. Keto also got a boyfriend, Yogi who happened to be Marie Miller’s German Shepherd!

“Aggression comes from a place of fear and it is the dogs’ way of communicating and asking us for help” Linda Tellington-Jones.

The TTouch helped me to build a new bond of trust with Keto and she turned into the most amazing dog. We travelled everywhere together, even all the way to Switzerland for a skiing holiday.

This is just a small example of the problems I overcame with Keto, but if you have a reactive dog you can rest assure I know how it feels, but change is totally possible.

From my story, hopefully you can see why I think it is so important to support you as pet parents with your emotions and anxieties because it is such a big part of building trust with your dog. How you feel does affect how your dog feels too.

Chloe the Spanish Rescue

Chloe joined me and Keto, initially as a foster, but she was so sweet she stayed. Chloe was originally rescued from Spain with part of beer bottle stuck in her head and air pellets in her ears. She was petrified of humans and her default position was tail tucked between her legs, cowering and a look of “please don’t hurt me” on her face. 

After a few days with me I sat on a step outside with Chloe nearby, I threw a few tasty treats towards her, the beginning of building trust and a positive association with me. As she moved closer to me I managed to reach out and did a TTouch circle with the back of my hand on her shoulder.

The TTouch circle is a circle and a quarter and can be done by any part of the hand, but the back of the hand is the least threatening.

I took my hand away and paused to see what she did – nothing just stood still, so I did the same again, just one circle and paused. This time she took one step closer to me. By pausing between touches, this gives the dog choice, she could move away if she wanted to. I only did this for a few minutes, but I repeated it each day for her to get used to human touch and to see how nice it was. With a dog like Chloe there is no quick fix and positive association with humans takes time and should never be rushed or forced. 

The other issue with Chloe when she arrived was that she had to hand fed. The rescue had been hand feeding her because otherwise she wouldn’t eat. I tried every possible bowl, surface, plate I had in my house, but she still would not go near it.

Chloe came with me on a TTouch course one week and I tried some Ground Work with her. TTouch Ground Work involves objects and surfaces of all shapes and sizes for the dogs to investigate, eat from, walk over and sniff to build self-confidence. There was a flat piece of wood on the floor and I placed some treats on the edge of the wood for her to have. She gradually took the treats and placed one foot on the wood. She was rewarded with more treats – again building a positive association with objects.

That evening I put her food down in a bowl as I normally did, but this time she actually ate out of the bowl. Her fear had been with objects, not that she just wanted to be hand fed. We worked more and more with the Ground Work and ACE Free Work to build her confidence, the results were amazing. 

Remi the Bullmastiff

In 2019 Keto sadly passed and the house was very quiet. Chloe was still with me, but I have to admit I missed the slobber of a Bullmastiff, suddenly my clothes were always clean! So I got Remi, a retirement present to myself, an 8 week old bundle of joy. 

Have you had several dogs in the past and then got another one and suddenly thought “this dog is like no other I have ever had”! Well that’s Remi, the dog like no other, testing all my training skills, ability and knowledge to the max!

Remi wasn’t a very confident puppy for whatever reason so socialisation was a little tricky. Then I let her have a season – she was like the devil possessed! Which created a whole new world of bad habits for her. Just as we start to tackle the bad habits as her hormones calm down, she had a false pregnancy. Well the devil possessed was reincarnated times ten!  

Lockdown and social distancing issues because of Covid-19 have also not been helping us.

So what behaviours have we had to deal with?

Digging in the house, despite her persistence she hasn’t managed to dig through my slate tiled floor! Counter surfing, attention seeking, chewing, jumping up, jumping on the dining table (yes she’s incredibly agile, but the biggest problem was getting her back down to the floor safely because she was too heavy to lift off!), pulling on the lead, and a lack of focus on me to name a few.

In other ways though she’s awesome; Remi travels extremely well in the car, loves dog parkour and TTouch Ground Work and she’s great at digging in the flower bed when I need a hand. She’s super friendly, loves a game of tug and football and is incredibly bright when it comes to learning new things.