Your Trainer: Matt Feltham
Based in: Warrington, Cheshire
To us, Underdogs are dogs which have not had the beginning (or middle) to life that they need, or deserve. Whether this is through abandonment or neglect, lack of training in a previous home, being left to fend for themselves on the street or having spent time in a rescue kennel environment. Sadly many dogs experience more than one of the above!
The needs of underdogs can differ quite dramatically from dogs who have had a more model upbringing when it comes to training. Some may be mistrustful – having problems forming close bonds to people initially. Some may be undertrained, or even untrained – and may have had a lot of time to practice undesirable behaviours whilst in previous homes or in kennels. Some may have been effected negatively by the incredibly stressful and often under-stimulating environment of stray, pound, or rescue kennels – leading to assimilation to kennel life and routines, and even in some cases becoming totally shut down.
A new home and a new start should be about happiness, positivity and excitement – however many rescue dogs aren’t as ready or able to start this journey so enthusiastically due to their previous experiences.
Sadly, this means that finding a new home can be just the beginning of a long and winding path for these wonderful dogs and their new (and equally wonderful) owners. Dogs can often be returned to kennels days or weeks later due to training or behaviour problems; owners can lose sleep, patience and willpower as their dog struggles to settle into their new home; and owners can be driven to tears through the frustration of wanting to help their scared, boisterous, out of control or disengaged new family member become the happy, content and relaxed dog they want them to be.
This is where the Underdog Trainer comes in.
Having worked in several rehoming and rescue kennels and studied in depth dog behaviour and training, it was clear that there could be another way of offering training to these ‘underdogs’ – focusing not only on basic obedience and commands – although these are great for building control and confidence in both dog and owner. Instead, at the Underdog Trainer we look to a more holistic approach – helping dog and owner understand each other through words and body language, highlighting the importance of consistency and fairness, offering insight into effects of the dogs previous life and how this may impact its current one, and most importantly to offer the understanding, patience and expertise to help every dog live the life it deserves, and to give every owner the information and tools to make this happen.
We seek to train your dog in your home environment, helping to set routines and behaviours in the place where it matters the most – your mutual home! Once you begin to discover an understand more about how a dog ticks, what it is trying to say, and how to communicate with it in a way it really understands without the need for force, or often even your voice, you will likely be addicted to learning more and more and will never look back…I know I didn’t!
A little communication and understanding goes a long way, and never further than with a dog looking for a second chance. It always amazes me how resilient and extraordinary underdogs are, and I can’t wait to help you and your very own underdog take on the world.
Because, after all, we all love an Underdog!