Dog Psychology, Behaviour & Training

Connors Legacy Dog Behaviourist

 Dog language, psychology, behaviour and training.

Helping you to


Helping people to understand dogs since 2009

Threebestrated for the second year in succession 

Promoting Responsible Dog Ownership

with Colchester Council since 2011

Connors Legacy Dog Behaviourist was established in 2009 and has thrived solely on its reputation.

We have been asked to return as advisors on BBC Radio and featured repeatedly in local and national newspapers. We have also been asked to return as advisors to various TV production companies, local authorities, and dog charities around the world via social media.

For the second year in a row, we have been named one of the top three dog training companies on Threebestrated.

Over the past decade, we have been proud to have assisted thousands of dogs. We specialize in domestic, rescue, and reactive dogs that have any behavioural or training needs. A list of services is available below.

We help owners understand their dogs' behaviour by using the dog's own visual language, modern dog psychology, and up-to-date reward-based training techniques. With over 40 years of experience, we strive to comprehend these truly amazing creatures, assisting you in making sense of the plethora of often dangerous theories and training methods that are still available online and taught by other trainers and behaviourists in your homes, training fields, or classes, and even on TV today. We only use up-to-date, reward-based, positive training methods and will always continue to learn about these truly remarkable companions so that we can impart this knowledge to those who need it most – you!

What to expect from our service.

A behaviourist will be sent to your home address to discuss your concerns and assess your dog's behaviour within the home. The behaviourist will help identify concerns through your dog's body language to highlight specific areas that may cause confusion or stress to your dog, and suggest ways to reduce these concerns. Using Current psychology we offer up-to-date basic reward-based training, advanced specific training, and cognitive behavioural therapy training methods that help change unwanted dog behaviour caused by various emotional states. Additionally, we provide assistance with training specific behaviours useful to the home using modern dog training methods based on positive rewards.



Dogs should not be labelled as difficult, uncooperative, stubborn, mischievous, headstrong, or obstinate for not obeying instructions (not commands). Most undesirable behaviours exhibited by dogs are a result of confusion that is caused by human actions, reactions, or a misunderstanding of how to, or when to engage with behaviour.

If a dog is not complying with instructions, it may be because of their current emotional state or simply because they do not understand what is being asked of them. In case of aggressive or reactive behaviour such as pulling/lunging on the lead or barking at the door/other dogs or people, it is recommended to seek help from a professional dog trainer/behaviourist who has experience in changing a dog's thoughts, feelings, and behaviour without directly stopping the unwanted behaviour. This includes working with the dog inside the home, where they're more likely to learn because they have fewer distractions and less reason to feel anxious, fearful, or any other emotion which affects their behaviour outside the home.

We can help you learn as much or as little as you want to about your dog's psychology, behaviour, language, positive training methods, and dogs in general. It's important to remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to dog behaviour, and you need to earn your dog's respect and trust. We don't recommend dog boot camps, so-called "quick fixes" training tools like pinch, chain, prong, or e-collars, and aversive training techniques such as yanking, checking, or using pack theory. These approaches are often dangerous and lead to more confusion, anxiety, and fear, causing unpredictable or unsociable behaviours due to the extra stress they create. Instead, we give you help to understand reward-based positive training methods to set your dog up to be more positive, confident, and happy just by helping your dog learn and thrive. 20 minutes of teaching a dog something new will help to tire a dog more than taking the dog out for an hour.

We understand that finding the right training methods for your dog can be a confusing and overwhelming task, particularly when there are so many conflicting opinions online. Unfortunately, some trainers and behaviourists still use outdated and harmful pack leader methods that can negatively impact your dog's emotional and mental well-being. It's important to note that just because someone has a large social media following or positive reviews, it doesn't necessarily make them the best choice for your dog. In fact, most of what we might find on TV or online is outdated theories and the methods can be more harmful to your dog's psychology because they prevent your dog from expressing themselves and hinder their ability to communicate their needs effectively.

How does your dog ask you a question?

If your dog has a question the only way they can ask it in a manner most of us are likely to understand is to show the question. Unfortunately, most people are likely to recognise this behaviour as unruly, unwanted or unpredictable and try to stop this behaviour with a "no", and/or tell their dog off, or physically or manually try and control this unwanted behaviour, which should only be used in emergencies. The more we use our hands to control a dog's environment the more a dog will use their hand to help control their environment and their hand is their mouth!

Help to understand the current UK legislation regarding dog behaviour, both inside and outside of the home is offered at the bottom of this page.

Phone or Text Bill Now +44 7989473131

Understanding Common Behaviours

There are several common behaviours that dogs exhibit, which are often misinterpreted by humans. These behaviours include pulling, lunging, excessive barking, reactivity towards children and other people, chasing vehicles, runners, bicycles, or other animals, and more. It's essential to remember that the key to addressing these behaviours is to change the emotions and thoughts that surround them, rather than trying to stop or change the behaviors directly. Attempting to stop the behaviour using punishment or various methods and gadgets available on the internet and TV can create confusion, animosity, frustration, anxiety, and fear in dogs if their underlying thoughts and feelings are not understood. It's important to note that most of these feelings are not even related to the unwanted behaviour.

Lead training is a great example of this. There are numerous tools and methods available online that supposedly help correct this behaviour, but they often cause further confusion. If these methods are adverse or used incorrectly, they may escalate the issue rather than solve it. Furthermore, using these methods may cause the behaviour to stop, but they will only cause the feelings to manifest in other areas, making the dog unpredictable.

Dogs are not unpredictable if you understand their visual language. Ear, eye, head, tail movements, speed, and body posture are all relevant to emotions. Neurological concerns can often be recognized through specific body language, such as scraping the back of their front paw on the ground as they walk. Aggressive behaviour such as growling, snarling, lunging, air snapping, barking, and nipping are all used to control their environment and to indicate that the dog is not happy with specific changes in that specific environment at that specific moment. These behaviours are used to prevent more severe reactions such as biting. Therefore, if your dog is biting or exhibiting any unwanted behaviour, it's essential to look into what is causing these reactions and address the underlying confusion or concerns.

Lead training issues usually stem from problems inside the home, often before you even attach the lead. These concerns may manifest in other areas of behaviour, such as barking at the door, following a member of the family around the house, becoming very clingy, or being reactive to other dogs/people in the home. Even something as simple as putting a lead on your dog can cause behavioural problems while out on a walk. Many people may think that their dogs are a problem on the lead but behave perfectly off-lead. This confusion stems from the dog's anxiety while on the lead, which is caused by confusion before leaving the house and often manifests into behavioural problems when letting your dog off-lead.

Many unwanted behaviours exhibited by dogs are just dogs asking questions. Your reaction to these questions is relevant to how your dog will ask the next question. Punishing or scolding your dog, yanking on the lead, or tapping them will only cause your dog to trust and respect you less and create animosity towards the person or thing that got them in trouble. It is essential to understand that dogs will continue to ask questions regardless of how you react. Often, these questions are visual, and you may have missed them. For example, dogs may pull their ears back against their head, narrow their eyes, and/or lower their head as a calming influence to others, and all three of these are often witnessed just before or during petting.




Regardless of the behavioural concerns we offer you help to understand the psychology that causes unwanted behaviour and the best reward-based training to help reduce the confusion which surrounds all behaviours. Helping owners to look at different aspects they may not have thought of, in the hope of helping to reduce the inconsistencies that lead to further unwanted behaviours. Most unwanted behaviours are related to an oversight on our part because there are so many conflicting theories available free online and on TV, and many trainers and behaviourists are still teaching outdated theories today that we can often become very confused and miss the obvious.




Connors Legacy Dog Behaviourist has been built on reputation by those we've helped in the past and they recommend us again and again.

The following are a selection of quotes from the many testimonials offered by owners about the help and service they've received from Connors Legacy Dog Behaviourist 


"I can honestly say if it were not for Bill I dread to think where Kai would be now"!


"I can't recommend Bill highly enough. He has changed our lives and I will always be grateful"!


"He has never met my dog yet his tips work amazingly so really would recommend him"!


"We feel very secure now that we know a lot more about dog behaviour and their way of thinking"!

"His training methods are so much more ethical than the typical trainers"!

"Thoroughly recommend him whether you live near him in Colchester or far away"!

These and more can be found on various review pages on the internet where people have kindly written about us or shared our website.

R.I.P. My Special Boy

Even though I didn't think I needed you at the start, your paw prints are still left on my heart. Although one look in your beautiful brown eyes and any denies of my love would only be lies.

You were named after my mum and dad's last resting place but your loss was much harder to face. You made everyone feel happy and loved regardless of your look, you gave everyone so much more than you took.

Scientific Studies

Scientific studies now suggest that Pack Leader theories are no longer relevant within domestic dogs today. The original studies surround grey wolves from different packs interacting with each other within a zoo-like area. They were observed arguing with each other over resources because wolves protect their resources from other wolves and eventually one emerged triumphant.  By using an fMRI scan on dogs whilst they are awake and mapping how their brain works, scientists have concluded that dogs think very similar to a human child of between three to five years of age more than anything related to a wolf. 

Modern studies now suggest that telling a dog off or drawing their attention to what the dog may be doing wrong will always have a very negative effect on dog psychology and how the dog interacts with those who caused the negative reaction, and these negative thoughts dictate unwanted behaviour. Ideally, we should always try to control a dog's environment more than their behaviour. If a dog is behaving in a manner you are not comfortable with then this is likely to be related to confusion. Distract from any unwanted behaviour and ask for something the dog is confident with and reward with food.

Are you aware that trainers in New Zealand have taught rescue dogs to drive a specially adapted car around a track using science-based methods? And three years later in 2015, 3 UK rescue dogs (pictured above) were taught to steer an unadapted light aircraft through a figure of eight in the sky via instructions only. This was taught on the ground using the same scientific-based methods and transferred to the aircraft. These positive methods are the same methods all dog parents/owners, trainers, and behaviourists should be used to help train or retrain behaviour.

A dog behaviourist looks at the dog's body language to help understand the psychology, thoughts and feelings shown on the outside, and help to understand what is happening in their brain. Only then are we able to offer the most comfortable and rewarding cognitive behavioural therapy training programme to help repair any lack of confidence or help to reduce the anxiety, fear or confusion that dictates the unwanted or unpredictable behaviour!

Complete Help and Advice Using Modern Scientific Methods

Behaviour Specialist

*Specific Assessments

*Expert Witness





*Rescue Dog

*Resource Guarding


*Puppy Training

*One to One Training

*Group Training

*Classroom Training

*Online Training

*Clicker Training


*Lead Training

*Assistant Dog Training

*Scent Work Training

*Obedience Training

Dog Psychology, Behaviour, and Language

We help you to understand dogs through their body language and psychology because how your dog thinks and feels dictates their behaviour. We also help with the best positive training methods which help to reduce the concerns, or questions which dictate unwanted behaviours. 

And so much more

Please contact Bill on 07989473131 for more information, questions, or enquiring about any training listed or not. 

*Travel costs always apply

Let's get in touch



Prices vary depending on the behaviour, psychology, and training needs.

Assessments cost £50* unless a rescue code is offered (**obtained from the rescue) then this is currently reduced to only £35.

The price of a full CBT session is only £150* per hour, using dog psychology and up-to-date cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, to help reduce the psychological effects of PTSD, fear, anxiety, and other emotions which cause unwanted, and often unpredictable behaviour.

Don't let the price be the reason your dog doesn't receive the help required, please contact us to see if we can help, many concessions, payment plans, and offers are available.

**Ask your dog's rescue to contact us via text on the number at the top of the page with their charity or not-for-profit number, and they'll be issued a reference number for you to use.

*Travel costs always apply at £1.50 per mile from central Colchester (min 10 miles), this cost is currently inclusive of the return journey, but is likely to change as the changes in fuel costs rise.

Help is also available online via various sources and group sessions but the cost of these training sessions is subject to overhead costs and relevant capacity.

Other costs for specific assessments, expert witness, or other training not listed, are also subject to the relevance, so please contact us directly for further information on anything not highlighted or mentioned here. 

Canine Visual Language

To help understand how a dog is feeling we must first take the time to understand their body language.

The best way to know a dog is happy isn't related to a wagging tail. It's the smile on their face!

A calm and comfortable dog is likely to have their ears relaxed in the middle of their head, as in not forward or back, their eyes narrowed in an almond shape, as in not squinted or wide open, and their mouth open in a relaxed manner with a smile on their face. 

A wagging tail is used by a dog to draw attention, much like someone waving at another person to try and draw the other person's attention. That said, the speed of the wag, the height and specific parts of the tail movement can be used to help highlight various aspects surrounding emotions.

The faster the tail wags is a good indication of heightened emotions such as over-excitement, anger, and confusion. This can also highlight excessive anxiety and fear, specifically if it's only the tip wagging. If the tail is likely to be uncurled when the dog is relaxed, then the tighter the curl when they're not relaxed is a good indication of the amount of tension involved with their emotions.

Dogs can also wag more on one side than the other to highlight their positive or negative frame of mind. If you are able to recognise this then your dog's left is the negative side and their right side is the positive side. These sides are also relevant when the tail isn't wagging. 

This doesn't mean the right side is good and the left side is bad because a dog which is showing unwanted behaviour can have their tail to the right, remember its positive and negative. Dogs without tails will show similarities through quick flicks of the relevant ears.

A higher wag usually indicates excitement, whereas a low wag usually indicates confusion, although the closer the tip is getting to the body would usually indicate a fear level, whilst wagging or still.  

To blame a dog for any unwanted behaviour shown is more about our own shortcomings as a pupil, and/or a teacher. A dog is always learning and their behaviour is dictated by changes within their environment, at any specific moment.

We should never expect a dog to know what is expected of them, regardless of how often the dog has been in that environment. We are more likely to assess our environment using our eyes and ears, whereas a dog is more likely to assess their environment using their nose.



What did you say?

Most dogs don't understand our vocal language as words much the same as us trying to understand their vocal language, but they do come to understand our consistently similar sounds, tones, body language, body chemistry, and behaviours. Our own vocal tones, body language, and behaviours are dictated by our thoughts and feelings and dogs are no different. Teaching a dog basic, consistent visual instruction, such as hand signals for each individual instruction (not command!) will help to reduce much of the confusion, and frustration that leads to many unwanted behaviours.

Don't give a dog a reason not to like humans!

Could you imagine the amount of frustration that builds, if the dog is only told 'no' constantly, or suddenly yanked this way or that way? What about the lack of respect or animosity that is likely to build if the dog suddenly feels pain or discomfort when they're trying to ask a question? Can you imagine the amount of frustration that builds if the dog is ignored when trying to ask or explain a question?

Never ignore behaviour!

It's vitally important to remember to never try to stop, change or ignore any behaviour without first changing the thoughts and feelings, confusions that surround the behaviour or cause the behaviour in the first instance. Ignoring unwanted behaviour is only likely to create more confusion and in turn cause further unwanted behaviour. If you need to get involved with a behaviour please consider walking away and calling your dog, however, this needs to be taught before your requirements because a dog will not learn when stressed. Calling your dog to the fridge and offering a reward from the fridge will help the fridge to become the same as the Ice cream van for a child.

Never say 'NO!' or tell a dog off!

All dog behaviour is dictated by the dog's own thoughts and feelings, saying 'NO!' is basically telling a dog that you don't care about their opinion. A dog suddenly growls and they're told 'NO!', how much respect do you think the dog is going to have for those who said 'NO!', let alone the animosities that are likely to build towards those who got them told off?

Why does my dog growl at my children?

A dog will growl to highlight that they're not comfortable with specific changes, at that specific moment, in that specific environment, and this is only offered because all the visual language that a dog offers before the vocal language, which means the same thing has been ignored. The dog will often recognise a young child as a puppy and will often try to teach the child the same way they would a puppy. However, if the dog is then told 'NO!' then the dog will blame the child for the dog being told off. The animosities which build are one of the biggest causes of dogs reacting to children.

You are not a pack leader!

The pack theories surround wolves and not dogs, dogs do not think like wolves!

The original theories surrounding a dog's behaviour were based on inaccurate data surrounding captive grey wolves, the inaccuracies of these original theories caused all pack theories to be disregarded and debunked. The brain inside your dog's head, which dictates the dog's thoughts and feelings works similarly to a young child's brain and the emotions which dictate a child's behaviour are very similar to the dogs.



You are a parent to a young human child more than a wolf, and look out for the obvious repeated questions such as 'Are we there yet?' 'are we there yet?'. Obvious to most of us but not to the child and definitely not to the dog!

We will help to expel many outdated theories & myths that only help to confuse us and our dogs which often creates unpredictable behaviour in other areas. Behaviours such as....

A wagging tail should not be thought of as an indication of happiness because dogs also wag their tails when they're confused, angry, anxious, over-excited, fearful, and so on.



The best way to know you have a happy dog is through their smile and other aspects of the canine visual body language that go towards helping to confirm this. We will help you to recognise various aspects surrounding the canine visual language that will help you to understand how your dog is feeling in every environment or situation. We also help you to understand and use basic dog psychology and remind you of the importance of using simple common sense which many of us can forget whilst confusing ourselves with the many aspects surrounding dog behaviour, to help you to understand and communicate so much better with your dog. We help you to understand and only use modern, scientifically proven reward-based behavioural therapies and techniques, only use up-to-date psychological theories, and current reward-based training techniques, as well as current canine language theories and only using positive training.

A barking dog.

If we were to say 'NO' to any dog whilst we're trying to stop the dog from doing something we believe they shouldn't be doing, like barking at the front door, or up at the windows barking at the postal worker, or even in the garden barking at the bird, none of which your dog is allowed to do under current legislation since 2016. By trying to stop this behaviour all we're likely to do is cause a dog to believe those on the other side of the door/window/fence got them told off and this thought can often manifest into trying to keep those people/dogs/animals away from them so there is less chance of the dog being told off again.

Although it's very important to remember that the dog will not recognise they're doing anything wrong, because they're working with those thoughts in their mind, most humans are likely to consider the dog is showing unwanted behaviour and this is against the law under current legislation. Ideally, we should call the dog and/or ask for a sit, in the hope of helping to distract this unwanted behaviour, but more importantly, help the dog to understand what you would prefer in replace of this unwanted behaviour.

Stay away because you get me in trouble!

The thoughts and feelings that cause a dog to want to bark this way often manifest into further unwanted behaviour outside of the home such as on lead, or within unfamiliar environments. Many of us are likely to try and control the behaviour by again saying 'NO' or by pulling the dog closer to us which only gives the thoughts and feelings reason to escalate further again which in turn causes the behaviour to do the same. Pulling up or back on a lead will often cause a dog to show a more threatening stance within the dog's visual language and this alone will often cause dogs to bark.

If you have a dog, or dogs who react in any way then please seek professional positive behavioural assistance as soon as possible to help reduce the stress the poor dogs are under. Please look at our Understanding Common Behaviours section below for assistance with lead training or understanding other common behaviours.

Connors Legacy Dog Behaviourist

is committed to helping rescue dogs within rescue centres and helping dogs when they're adjusting after they find a home, in the hope of the home becoming their furever home.

Many rescue dogs were originally puppies, who became confused, frustrated, anxious, fearful, confused and overexcited within their home before being given up to rescue centres worldwide. Many of these emotions could have been avoided with the correct knowledge before being given up to a rescue.

We work with rescue centres up and down the UK and various centres

worldwide, helping with specific psychological, and behavioural therapies and training methods that help change the thoughts and feelings that dictate undesirable or unpredictable behaviour.

These dogs are in more need of our help and most of this work is offered free or at a substantially reduced rate. 

Some Current Legislation All Dog Owners Should Know

Over 20 pieces of legislation apply to dog ownership in Britain. This guide will help you understand some of your responsibilities, but it should not be considered legal advice. Always research the legislation yourself as this may have changed since this website went live.

Controlling your dog in public or private dwellings


It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:

  • in a public place
  • in a private place, for example a neighbour’s house or garden
  • in the owner’s home

The law applies to all dogs.

You can report a dog that’s out of control.

Some types of dogs are banned.

Out of control

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:

  • it attacks someone’s animal
  • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal


You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years or fined (or both). If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.

If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine (or both).

If you allow your dog to injure an assistance dog (for example a guide dog) you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years or fined (or both).

Public Spaces Protection Orders

Some public areas in England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) - previously called Dog Control Orders (DCOs).

In public areas with PSPO's, you may have to:

  • keep your dog on a lead
  • put your dog on a lead if told to by a police officer, police community support officer or someone from the council
  • stop your dog going to certain places - like farmland or parts of a park
  • limit the number of dogs you have with you (this applies to professional dog walkers too)
  • clear up after your dog
  • carry a poop scoop and disposable bags

You can report dog fouling to your local council.


If you ignore a PSPO, you can be fined:

  • £100 on the spot (a ‘Fixed Penalty Notice’)
  • up to £1,000 if it goes to court

PSPO's in your area

Local councils must let the public know where PSPO's are in place. Example If dogs are not allowed in a park, there must be signs saying so. If the council plans to put a new PSPO in place, it must put up a notice and publish it on its website. The notice must tell you:where the new PSPO will apply if there’s a map and where you can see it

Report a dog

You can report a dangerous or out of control dog to: 

  • your local police force
  • your council’s dog warden service

  You can also report dog fouling to your local council.

Further help to understand more of the 20 UK legislations which apply to you as a dog owner and your responsibilities can be found here:

Dog laws UK | Blue Cross

Almost everything learned in the past surrounding dog behaviour and training has changed over the last decade or so. Helping to keep up to date with all the current changes happening within the science community surrounding dogs.

Current Academic Year 2023/24

Applied Canine Behaviour and Training

University of Hull