SDOS Episode 46 – Why a Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog with Rachel Bean

SDOS Episode 46- What age should you neuter your dog and should you neuter him at all? My special guest Rachel Bean has the answers in episode 46 of the Superhero Dog Owners Show.

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Full Transcript:

Dom: Hello, everybody, and welcome to The Superhero Dog Owners Show. I’m your host Dom Hodgson, and I’m joined for episode 46 by my very good friend Alex the video guy Alex: Hello.

Dom: What are you laughing at my singing for?

Alex: I should be used to it by now.

Dom: You should be, yeah. So, it’s high summer … It’s not even high summer, Alex, really autumn’s almost here isn’t it?

Alex: Yeah, it’s getting here. I was down in Brighton last week, and it’s cold up here in comparison. It’s not even summer.

Dom: You just noticed?

Alex: Yeah. I’ve just become acclimatised to the northeast.

Dom: I’m starting to get cold hands in the morning and I really should sleep indoors, but she won’t let me in.

Alex: Out there with the dogs?

Dom: Yeah. So, we’ve been busy bees then, haven’t we?

Alex: Yes.

Dom: We’ve been to Ireland, you’ve been filming loads of stuff, I’ve been launching my pet business in the circle. And that’s something I wanted to talk a little bit about today.

Alex: Cool, yeah.

Dom: So anybody who’s a dog walker, a dog groomer, or a dog trainer, you’re gonna want to listen to this episode because not only do we have a special guest, a little interview with Rachel Bean coming up, but also I’ve been doing a lot of stuff over the last six months trying to educate pet business owners on their marketing. How to market their business a lot better, you know?

Alex: Yeah.

Dom: I’ve been running my business for six years now, and I started off not knowing anything about dogs or anything about business, and then I learned lots of stuff about dogs, and then I learned lots of stuff about business. And, unlike lots of people who have businesses, I actually implemented that information. And we managed to take this little dog walking business in Sun land to make it like the UK’s number one dog adventure company.

Alex: Correct.

Dom: We’ve got our best selling book, we’ve got online and offline dog training programmes. So I’ve put a lot of this stuff into practise and we’re gonna be teaching this at the first Poodle to Pit Bull pet business boot camp, which is on just in a couple week’s time, isn’t it? October seventh and eighth in Sunderland. So we’ve got a load of ambitious pet business owners coming up and I’m gonna be teaching them how to position themselves as the best in their area. Because, Alex, unfortunately the best, the most knowledgeable, the most helpful and useful dog trainers aren’t the ones who make the most money, you know?

Alex: Really?


Dom: Yeah, true. This is very true.


Alex: No, I know this.

Dom: The same for everything. Same for the best dog walkers, the best chiropractors, or dentists, or whatever. You know, I’m not saying you don’t have to be good, because without a doubt you have to be good at what you do. And if you’re not good, it’s really easy to get good by practising  and learning how to be good at the thing, you know? But, once you’ve learned how to be good at the dog walking, or the dog training, or the dog grooming, you really need to learn how to market your goodness, your greatness. And it’s much easier if you can educate everyone in your town that you are the one who they should choose over anybody else. That make sense?

Alex: Definitely, yeah. I think, like you said, I’ve known about this kind of concept for a while now, thanks to you, but before that I was definitely in the place that most people are in, which is like, “Isn’t there a direct correlation between how successful I am and how much money I make and all the rest of it? And then, how good I am at the thing?” And there is, like you said, to an extent, but it’s not about how good you are at the thing, is it?

Dom: No, no, it’s not. It’s how well known you are for being good at the thing, and what people think about when they think about if they want to hire a dog walker. I mean, are you the one that they think is the expert, is the premium, is the one that shines out above everybody else? And there are a number of ways you can market yourself to do that, you know? To raise your reputation and to make yourself more desirable. It’s like having a shiny dog toy, you know? It’s not always about the shiniest thing, it’s about what the dog wants. The dog could be more interested in a little scrappy bit of rope, or a bit of wooden pipe that you’ve got, rather than a shiny Kong. So you need to find out what people want, and then market yourself.

Alex: Really good analogy, that, I think. Yeah, I think that’s spot on.

Dom: Yeah, so I’m not gonna go into the details of how you can do this, because this is a dog training Podcast, but if you are a pet professional and you want to learn more about how to market your business so that you can make more money with less stress and fewer headaches, then you should go to and you can sign up for my free 33 ideas. And within those ideas, I’ll teach you all about premium pricing, premier positioning, AE20, how important follow up is, how to raise your prices without losing clients, all these different things. This is just the free information that you get when you join. Then, if you want to learn more, there are ways that you can work with me, and we’ve got an inner circle for that now as well. But, yeah, that’s it. So, a little bit of a heads up on what else is going on with the business.

Alex: Yeah.

Dom: Because, we love the dogs and we’re passionate about helping people have a relationship with their dogs, but I’ve kind of … It’s just funny how your life goes and how your business develops, you know? I think I’ve learned all these dog training skills that I’m kind of trying to pass on to people and simplify and help people a bit more. And some of the business stuff too, you know? I’ve done really well with my business. Still got a long way to go, but I’m doing really well.

And I guess I’m kind of sick and tired of seeing people clouting about on social media, and sharing pictures, and worrying about putting watermarks on their dog walking pictures, and thinking that’s gonna be enough to grow their business. It’s not gonna really help you at all. You need to learn about lead generation, and followup, and premier position, and all these kind of things. These are the fundamentals that are gonna really transform your business.

Alex: Definitely.

Dom: But, anyway, enough about that. Somebody who has an awesome business, a really awesome business, is my very good friend Rachel Bean.

Alex: Indeed, yes.

Dom: Rachel’s second time as a guest on this show. She came to the house, didn’t she?

Alex: Yes, for a chat in the house.

We had a bit of a chat about what she does, and how she helps dogs, and things that dog owners can do. This time, we did a master class for the Superhero Dog Owners with inside my dog training inner circle. And we decided to shoot a little bit of a Dom Podcast as well, didn’t we? So that Rachel could share some of her wisdom too. So, without further ado, Alex, please push the button.

Hi, everybody. So we’re back out in the park, and this time I’ve got one of my good friends


Rachel, she’s back again on the show. Hi, Rach.

Rachel: Hello.

Dom: She’s joined me for a walk, we’re not stuck in the sitting room this time. We had a lot of good questions, Rachel, last time you came on the show and people liked that you had to say, they found it very useful. So I thought we’d get you back again, and we’d talk a bit more about your role as a vet nurse, ask you a few questions about that. And I know you want to talk a little bit about neutering, people have been asking about neutering. You know, when to neuter a dog and stuff. And a bit about pain and behaviour as well.

Rachel: Yeah, yeah, sure.

Dom: So, thanks for joining me. And the lovely Wisp..

Rachel: It stopped raining.

Dom: It has, yeah. It makes me look like a big softy, doesn’t it? So, your role as a vet nurse, Rach ..

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: What’s a vet nurse do in the surgery and stuff?

Rachel: The main role is to keep communication between client and vets, as well, to help with that. But the other things that we do medically are anaesthesia, radiology, pharmacology, well pet clinics, surgical things, so looking after all the instruments, putting all the packs together, looking after the dog while it’s under anaesthetic, and recovery as well, so watching them recover.

Dom: So you’re kind of the chief caregivers in a way, aren’t you?

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: For the patient and the dog. Rach, there’s a bit of a push at the moment by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to promote the role of the veterinary nurse, because not a lot of people know what we do. Sometimes they just think we’re sweeping up floors and sitting or reception.

Dom: Yeah, definitely.

Rachel: We’re not, actually.

Dom: A lot more to it than that.

Rachel: Yeah. It’s quite difficult to qualify as a veterinary nurse, as well.

Dom: Yeah, I was just gonna ask that. What kind of process do you go through, then?


Rachel: You have to have a minimum of five [inaudible 00:08:55]. So you have to have math, English, and sciences to even start the course. And you also have to be working within a veterinary practise to get a training place, and the training is usually three years. But there’s a four year degree cost now, as well.

Dom: Right. And how long does that training take?

Rachel: It’s three years.

Dom: Okay, yeah, so it’s quite lengthy.


Rachel: Yeah.


Dom: And, is there still a big demand for vet nurses? Is there a shortage?


Rachel: There is a shortage.


Dom: Yeah?

Rachel: Yeah, I think because of the difficulty, and qualifications, and monitoring the nurses training a lot of practises are dropping out of being a training practise because of what it involves, time and commitment. So, the amount of nurses going in and qualifying is dropping. And also, a lot of nurses are starting to locum.


Dom: Okay, which is?

Rachel: Going out and working at different practises for a few weeks, and then doing another practise. Like a locum doctor. Because you get paid more, and so that’s leaving the other practises short of full time nurses. So, it’s kind of a catch 22. So, I could work as a locum nurse every day, three times over if I wanted. There’s a massive demand.

Dom: Interesting.

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: I get a lot of people asking questions with puppies, and people have been asking questions on the show actually as well about their puppies. Neutering, you know? Whether to neuter or not, girls and boy dogs, when they should be neutering. Obviously, it’s a very personal decision for the owner. And there’s trainers, and there’s vet nurses, and there’s behaviourists where we can only kind of advise and say what we would do. No two cases are the same. So, where do you stand on that? What would be general advice that we could give regarding neutering?

Rachel: I mean, neutering we have to promote because we’re caregivers. So, we have to try and educate the dog owner, which is the best option for them. So if they have a smaller dog, then neutering early would be an option. I’m a big fan of neutering after the first season, and letting the male dogs mature a little bit. Usually the sign is that the dog’s starting to cock its leg, so testosterone is being produced, which promotes secondary male characteristics such as aggression and things like that.

Dom: Yeah.

Rachel: But then, we can have problems with dogs with hypersexuality, and territorial marking, running off after bitches, trying to mark the children, that kind of thing. In which case, yeah, but some dogs just don’t do that.

Dom: No.

Rachel: Then the bigger the dog, maybe leave it a little bit later, especially the male dogs, for maturing. And after the first season for female dogs.

Dom: So we’re looking at at least a year?

Rachel: Yeah. The hormones are important, and maturation of the bones, and the sealing of the growth plates, and things like that.

Dom: So overall on balance, would you say that, obviously we’re in favour of neutering, but you should leave it a decent amount of time, maybe a year or so, certainly for the bigger dogs, and after the first season for a bitch.

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: Yeah, I think that’s …

Rachel: And take it each case by case, and owner by owner as well. Because, you know, the owner might have children that [inaudible 00:12:07], have a male dog next door, or a female dog that’s in season next door, and things like that. So, it could be taken case by case I think.

Dom: Yeah, definitely.

Rachel: And I think the experience veterinary nurses gain, is there’s, they go through practise, they should be a little bit more apathetic to people’s situations and not just say black and white, you know?

Dom: It depends on a lot of factors, doesn’t it?

Rachel: Yeah. You need empathy in talking to people and understanding.

Dom: Definitely, I agree with that.

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: All right, really interesting, Rach. Thanks for that. What about, we touched off camera talking about pain and behaviour. We talked about it last time, about if the dog’s having bad teeth, and how they have quite high pain threshold, and it’s not in a dog’s nature to let anybody know when he’s not feeling very well, you know? So, for pet dog owners, what should they be aware of when it comes to knowing if their dog’s not very well, and how that could manifest itself in a change in the dog’s behaviour.

Rachel: Usually, there’s quite a sudden change in the dog’s behaviour. And that will be a big indication that something’s not quite right. Whether pain, or they just don’t, you know, feeling unwell. Anything from [inaudible 00:13:20], a bladder infection, which is really common in dogs, down to an older dog maybe getting after a tick and is a bit growly when people come near it, and things like that. But usually, there’s quite a sudden change, or quite a quick change.

Dom: And I know as a trainer, and you’ll know yourself as well as a behaviourist, when people are coming to you with, “Well, my dog’s just started to do this.” The first thing you say is, “Have you had him to a vet? Is there anything particularly physically wrong with him that we don’t know about that could easily explain that?”

Rachel: And I think it’s really important as well, because I’m registered with the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association, is that one of the requisites is that we get veterinary referrals. So, each person that rings me with a behaviour issue such as aggression, especially, and separation anxieties, and things like that, we 100% get a vet referral. Because we need to involve the vet, because generally once I’ve seen the dog and I’ve checked the owner, I will send them back to the vet to say, “We need a blood sample on this, thyroid test, x-rays, whatever.” So we need the vet’s permission in treating that animal, and it’s within the Veterinary Surgeons Act … I don’t want to be in breach of the Veterinary Surgeons Act by treating an animal without the vet’s permission. It’s really important.

Dom: Yeah, it’s really important, yeah. And just to touch on that as well, for the pet dog owner I suppose, if their dog did suddenly develop a behaviour problem, quite often they’ll be able to get that treated under insurance as well, wouldn’t they?

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: Not just a physical problem, but a behaviour problem as well. They could get their behaviour problem paid for through the insurance.

Rachel: There’s two organisations, behaviour organisations, that are authorised to do that and ours is one of them, the CFBA. So, a dog trainer in the village hall couldn’t do that, couldn’t claim their fees off the pet insurance.

Dom: Yeah, brilliant. Really interesting, Rach, thanks for joining me for this little walk. We’re gonna go into much more depth within the inner circle this month. Rachel is joining me for, we’re gonna have a much longer chat now about pain and behaviour with your dog and how your dog being in pain could affect his behaviour, and how you can recognise the signs. And we’re gonna go into that in much more detail, talk about it for a while. So if you want to know more about that, then you should definitely join me in the circle where you can get all that information, as well as everything else that we’ve got in there as well. But, for today, I want to say thank you very much Rach, and where can people go again, Rachel, to find out more about you?

Rachel: My general website is

Dom: Brilliant. Thanks very much, and we’ll put that in the show notes as well, so you guys can check it out. Don’t forget to go on their canine first aid course as well, check Rachel’s schedule out. It’ll be up there, won’t it?

Rachel: Yeah.

Dom: Yeah, and then people can find out where they can get a local one and get some really useful information that they can put into practise if their dog has a cut paw or anything like that. So, thanks again, and thank you Rachel.

So, Alex.

Alex: Yes, Dom.

Dom: How awesome was that?

Alex: That was really awesome. I enjoyed that.

Dom: She’s bloody brilliant. I’ve been knowing Rachel for years, she’s been coming up here doing canine first aid stuff, and she’s got a new canine first aid, new and improved, course, a bit more comprehensive. Which she came up and she premiered up here where we are too. So if you want to learn more about Rachel Bean, you should check out her website, which is

Alex: Excellent.

Dom: And, the unique thing about Rachel, is that not only is she a brilliant vet nurse, she’s a dog behaviourist too. So she’s able to tie all this knowledge together when she’s running the courses and stuff. So she’s highly, highly, highly recommended. And dog health’s something that you kind of take for granted I think. You know what I mean? When your dog’s well and then when they turn, getting older, their teeth start, you know? And you think, “Oh, God. I wish I had done something about this.” I think the key is preventative isn’t it? With a lot of these things.

Alex: Yeah, rather than waiting for something bad to happen, and then ..

Dom: Yeah. It’s much easier to not let your dog get fat than it is to try and get the weight off him, you know? Much easier to clean his teeth, even if he doesn’t like it, than it is to, certainly gonna be cheaper than it is to get the teeth pulled out or whatever. So, yeah, prevention. Same with us humans too.

Alex: Exactly, yeah.

Dom: We’ve both been stepping it up a little bit with the exercise, so we’ve obviously been thinking about it.

Alex: Yes. I don’t know why though, I don’t need to exercise.

Dom: We’ve been doing more thinking than doing, that’s the problem. But we started it, we have to do it now as well.

Alex: Exactly. Yes.

Dom: So before we go, I think I forgot to mention before. I’ve actually got a new book out,

Alex: Amazing. Yes.

Dom: So on the theme of what we were talking about before, with the grow your pet business fast stuff, this is a book specifically for dog walkers, to help them to grow their business. The book’s called Walk Yourself Wealthy, and you can get it on Amazon Kindle, or you can get it from It’s a short book, it’s like 12,000 words or something, so it’s about a quarter of the size of my last book, but it’ll give you, share with you five marketing secrets that you need to know and implement if you want to be seen and known as the premium dog walking service in your town.

Alex: Yeah, excellent.

Dom: And, like I said, I’ve done this myself with my own business, so it’s doable. Anybody can do it, but hardly anybody does.

Alex: Tried and tested.

Dom: Yeah, definitely. So go to to check out the book, which we shall be recording the audio version of very soon.

Alex: We will indeed. And having some laughs along the way, no doubt. Like last time.

Dom: No doubt, indeed. So, on next week’s show we’re gonna be sticking with the health theme a little bit, and we’re gonna be talking to Renee [inaudible 00:18:58]. Renee is a dog trainer from the states, and she’s got an interesting keep fit with dogs programme.

Alex: Oh.

Dom: Yeah, so I’ll just leave that one hanging there and we’ll get more information directly from Renee in next week’s episode of the Podcast. So that’s it from me.

Alex: That’s it from him.

Dom: And if we don’t see you through the week, then we’ll see you through the window.

Meet the Author

Dom Hodgson