DOGS are animals and not just furry people.

That’s the message from dog whisperer Marcelle King, 53, who helps dogs in Bournemouth and Poole with behavioural problems.

Marcelle believes that the pet industry is partly to blame for the problems as it encourages pet owners to see pets as “furry children” rather than animals through the marketing of doggie outfits, birthday cakes and even nail polish.

Marcelle of Dacombe Drive, Upton, Poole, uses body language to communicate with dogs.

She uses her own rescued Afghan hound Barry to help train the dogs after the style of American television’s Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan.

Marcelle, who specialises in helping dogs with nervousness and aggression, uses positive motivation rather than shouting at dogs to get them to behave.

“People I help call me the Poole and Bournemouth dog whisperer but really it is just an in-depth know-how of why a dog is behaving the way it is and how to put it right,” she said.

“Dogs understand body language not speech.”

The modern lifestyle also contributes to behavioural problems in dogs, said Marcelle.

“People don’t always give enough thought as to what a dog’s needs are or even what the breeds they choose were originally bred for.

“People are living in smaller premises, going out to work and have less time to give to their dog. Dogs become bored and when that happens they acquire unsociable habits. And owners don’t take a pack leader position, which is something that a happy dog really needs.”

One such example was an 18-month-old gun dog which was boisterous and nipped members of the family.

The problems were solved after the owner demonstrated to the dog that he was pack leader rather than it.

Another dog was terrified of cars and would begin panting and shivering when it had to travel.

The problem was that when the owner tried to reassure the frightened dog, she was unwittingly sending it the message that it was being rewarded for its behaviour, said Marcelle.

She said: “I had him jumping in and out of the car within the hour. The owner was fearful and the dog was picking up on that.”

Marcelle can be contacted at or ring 0782 333 1984.