Canine behaviour can be complex and the reasons for the ways that dogs behave can be difficult to unravel sometimes, but “Dog Secrets” is nevertheless an ironic title. Dog behaviour is like any other discipline in that if it is studied and practiced you can acquire a greater understanding of it. Also like other disciplines, the depth of study and practice are integral to the understanding.
David Ryan was a police dog handler and Home Office accredited instructor for twenty-six years, helping to lead the revolution in professional dog training out of the “push, pull and shout” methods used since the Great War.
During that time he trained dogs from seven stone German Shepherds to one-stone-wringing-wet Cocker Spaniels, including general-purpose police dogs (the ones with the teeth), drugs, weapons and cash detection, explosives search and firearms support dogs. He has competed in police dog trials and participated in police dog displays, and introduced breeding and puppy rearing programmes.
He was the first police dog instructor to be awarded Southampton University’s postgraduate diploma (educational level 7) in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling, with distinction; the first to be accepted as a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, serving as Chair; and the first to be certificated as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist by the independent Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour and a founder member of the Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians .
David has worked as a veterinary referred companion animal behaviour counsellor and a lecturer on Newcastle University’s MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare. He instructed Police Dog Legislation Officer’s Initial and Refresher Courses in canine behaviour.
David appeared as a legal expert witness in canine behaviour in civil and criminal cases and was an independently verified member of the UK Register of Expert Witnesses. He was instructed in cases involving alleged pit bull terriers, dogs alleged to have been dangerously out of control, and civil cases of negligence.
David was one of only four experts in canine behaviour requested to appear before the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee to provide oral evidence on the subject of dog behaviour to their inquiry into Dangerous Dogs: Breed Specific Legislation at Portcullis House, Westminster, influencing their subsequent report ‘Controlling Dangerous Dogs’.
David retired from practice in 2022, but continues to share his extensive knowledge and experience as an author and lecturer.
More by David
David most recently contributed Chapter 2 – Dog Behaviour, to ‘Companion Animal Behaviour Problems, Prevention and Management of Behaviour Problems in Veterinary Practice’, written and edited by the most prominent experts in the field, and available in all good bookshops, online and in digital formats.