We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the United Kingdom version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Home >  Latest Articles > Change of heart

Change of heart
Your Dog

Change of heart

Posted Sunday, May 10, 2015   |   680 views   |   Family & Home   |   Comments (0) Dog trainer Jordan Shelley tells Andrea McHugh why he’s turned his back on dominance-based training techniques.

It has been three years since dog trainer Jordan Shelley appeared on BBC’s ‘The One Show’ to demonstrate how his Cesar Millan-inspired methods could train a food-aggressive Jack Russell Terrier in just one session.

The dog was so aggressive that children in the family had resorted to wearing Wellington boots to protect themselves from attack.

Jordan took drastic action and ‘fixed’ the dog’s behaviour by constantly challenging him with verbal commands and assertive body language. The dog eventually gave up and ran away from the food bowl to the safety of his bed. The next night, Jordan appeared on ‘The One Show’ for a follow up feature with the dog sat next to him, appearing very docile.

The family seemed quite happy and furthermore, there was not a pair of Wellington boots in sight. The producers hoped this would be the start of a regular dog training feature but, in truth, it signalled the start of a nightmare for Jordan, who found himself on the receiving end of hundreds of complaints from animal lovers claiming his training methods were outdated, bullying, and stressful for the dog. Even worse, Jordan became the subject of an RSPCA investigation.
POSITIVE TRAINING
At just 21 years of age and faced with such a barrage of criticism, Jordan could perhaps have been forgiven for going into lock down, but that’s not Jordan’s style. Within days he had booked a flight to America, accepted an invitation to stay with top trainers Ian and Kelly Dunbar, and attended their Sirius Puppy Training classes.

He attended Ian’s science-based conference ‘Training with feeling’, and went to the annual conference of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (ADPT). In effect, Jordan embarked on what he described as a ‘real learning curve’ to discover kinder, more effective positive training techniques.

Fast forward three years and so complete is Jordan’s transformation that he recently received an ambassador award from the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) in recognition of his achievements.

“When I look back, I shake my head in disbelief,” admitted Jordan, who has three rescue dogs.

“I looked at my dogs and felt terrible. I realised I’d been continually correcting and suppressing behaviour when it was not necessary. I felt so guilty because I know now that we can’t expect dogs to understand what we want from them — we need to teach them.

“I’d left school at 16 to work in Spain. I worked as an assistant in a veterinary surgery, which in many ways was my dream job.

“I’d always been interested in dogs and their behaviour, particularly those that came into the surgery and were struggling because they didn’t want to be there and didn’t like vets. “I was a fan of Cesar Millan and I also met two ex-army dog trainers who told me that my approach needed to be tougher. I was young and thought they were experts, and so I believed them.

“Sadly, when I was 19 my dad died and as I am the oldest of four children, I moved back to London to help the family. I started working as a dog walker and then as a trainer.

“One day, I met a TV producer in the park who was impressed with my dogs. Within months I ended up doing a pilot TV show but unfortunately before the project was completed the producer died. “With the experience I gained I went on to work with another producer to make a second pilot, and it was edited and extracts of this were shown on ‘The One Show’.

“I realise now that my training methods were very old school but at the time I was shocked at the public’s reaction, and it was a very diffi cult time in my life. There were journalists outside my door and some really negative stuff was written about me.”
MOVING FORWARD
However, there is a wise and courageous centre to Jordan Shelley, which makes him refuse to back down from life’s challenges. “It was always important to me that I did the right thing by the dogs, and I recognised that if so many people and trainers were saying I was wrong then there had to be a better way.

“I’m always open to learning new things and when I see that something is better I’m happy to change. Once I learned the science behind Ian’s training methods, I immediately saw how much better this was for the dogs. “So many interesting and skilled people have given me their time and expertise, and I’m very grateful.

“Today, I only use positive reward-based training methods, because if you don’t you run the risk of suppressing behaviours, which can be very dangerous. My aim now is to build a bond with the dogs so they want to work with me and I can help them.

“I still go to Spain and regularly work with dogs and puppies that have been abused. I get great pleasure from trying to help them. “I’m not actively seeking more TV work, but life can be funny so let’s see what happens, as I still get approached about it. “For now, I’m seeing clients all over the world and attending as many conferences and behaviour workshops as possible. “I really want to keep learning and helping to spread the word. We need to reach as many people as possible, particularly those who still believe dominance-based training is the way forward. I know for certain that it isn’t.”

For more great articles like this get the Your Dog Magazine FREE SAMPLE ISSUE issue of Your Dog below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - Your Dog Magazine October 2017 Replica Edition included
£2.99
Or 299 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only £ 1.67 per issue
SAVE
44%
£19.99
Or 1999 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only £ 1.83 per issue
SAVE
39%
£10.99
Or 1099 points

View Issues

About Your Dog

Your Dog is the UK’s best-selling, most-loved monthly dog publication – essential reading for any dog lover and owner.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Your Dog today.

Most read articles this month


Ghost towns!

Ghost towns!

Abandoned towns, empty cities, uninhabited villages… You can find ghost towns all over the world. Here are a few famous ones. [Please note, the complete article comes complete with a glossary box, an audio file, and exercises.] More...
48 hours in Venice, by land and water

48 hours in Venice, by land and water

From the pages of Italia!, Sara Scarpa takes us on a tour of her native Venice, following a route that accentuates the close relationship the city has with the water that surrounds it… More...
How to make a Paper Tea Cup with Crafts Beautiful

How to make a Paper Tea Cup with Crafts Beautiful

Old books are the inspiration for Clare Youngs' dainty papercraft creations in the most recent May issue of Crafts Beautiful... More...
How do digital magazines work?

How do digital magazines work?

Digital magazines can seem like an alien experience for devoted magazine fans. Where will you be without that new glossy magazine smell? The sound of the page turning? A quiet half hour to just devour the latest news and views on your favourite hobby? More...
STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

Adam Osborn reviews Blocks Magazine More...
STAFF PICK: Autosport

STAFF PICK: Autosport

This week we ask our Marketing Executive Jimmy about his favourite digital magazine. More...
7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

Whether it’s a busy schedule, life commitments or simply a lack of motivation, it can be tough to stay on track with your exercise regime. Your Fitness magazine asked Jim and Fiona Crossley, the founders of F45 Kingston (f45kingston.co.uk), for their tips on how to keep up with your training and achieve your fitness goals. More...
 3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

The shades are out, the sunscreen is on and all you need to complete your summer chill is the best ice cream! More...
STAFF PICK: Olive

STAFF PICK: Olive

Felicity Mikellides reviews Olive magazine More...
How To Make Sugarcraft Elephants with Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft

How To Make Sugarcraft Elephants with Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft

Taken from the February issue, sugarcraft superhero Lindy Smith of Lindy's Cakes made these amazing little elephants to adorn a Mandala cake. Here's how to make them! More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points