She runs and she chases. Suki is a super-fit dog.

Suki runs.

She is a super-fit Whippet Saluki mix who loves to chase a ball on walks. She runs beside the man’s bike.

runs with a bike

Like many Sighthounds, Suki likes to be covered

They used to live in London. She was accustomed to all the city noise, lots of people and plenty of other dogs. 

They then moved to a small, quiet town near myself.  She encounters far fewer people or dogs and is gradually becoming reactive to other dogs.

On lead, she may now growl, lunge or snap at them if they come too close. When off lead she’s fine. She merely puts a comfortable distance between them. She’s not trapped. If she wishes, she runs.

Continue reading…

Screaming and Barking, They Pull Down the Road

Maggie screaming on walks

Mollie and Maggie

Being pulled down the road by two little dogs, one screaming and one barking in sympathy, is no joke.

Mollie and her sibling sister Maggie are absolutely adorable little Miniature Schnauzers, six months of age.

They have very few of the usual puppy problems that I go to. They don’t nip, they ask to go outside to toilet and they sleep peacefully when left alone at home – which isn’t ever for very long.

Although there can be disadvantages in bringing up siblings, a big plus is that they always have a playmate. They have a great outlet for their energy.

Maggie and Mollie have their own funny little ways! At night, when going out for the last time, they now go out separately. Unsurprisingly,  if taken together they start to play and won’t come in!

The first dog to be left indoors cries and, though the other one comes in willingly, the second one out then won’t come back in! This is the same whichever order they go out in.

The couple can manage the ‘coming in’ while they work on good recall by using a Flexilead in the garden (the only good use for one of those).

Crying when parted is at the heart of what we will be dealing with. The couple will work on treating the two little girls as individuals so they can be happy to be apart for short periods of time.

Happy to be parted for short periods is key.

This is particularly necessary for walking them.

Little Maggie is screaming as soon as she’s out of the door, pulling madly as she goes. She’s barking and screaming at any dog or person she sees and Mollie, who is generally a lot more confident, then joins in the noise.

The lady and gentleman want enjoyable walks, not being pulled down the road by screaming, barking puppies! The pups are now six months old and things won’t improve unless done differently.

Walks for now should be with one dog at a time only. Treating them as individuals will also help to avoid any trouble between the two girls when they mature. Already Mollie is a bit controlling of Maggie and tends to redirect onto her when they are aroused by something like a person coming to the door. She may also object if Maggie is being fussed.

The couple are prepared to take this slowly, one tiny step at a time.

They will shut Mollie in the sitting room with a stuffed Kong for a few minutes, whilst working in the kitchen, bit by bit, at getting Maggie to love her harness (both dogs are wary of the harnesses being put on).

Then they will swap the dogs around, working on Mollie in the kitchen whilst Maggie has a Kong in the sitting room. The more times they can do this in a day the faster the dogs will get used to it. They will stick to working with the dogs in the same order so they know exactly what to expect and that they will get their turn.

Next the lead will be added to the harness. The kitchen dog will be walked around the kitchen on a loose lead using the technique demonstrated by me.bristowmandm2

Bit by bit they can work towards walking out of the back door and into the garden with a quiet puppy. The dog with the Kong alone in the sitting room should be more settled by now. No crying, whining or screaming.

If Maggie starts screaming in the garden they will bring her straight back in. While she is walking nicely, they will feed her.

When ready, the little dog will be taken in and out of the garden gate – Mollie will get to this stage well before Maggie I’m sure.

They can then stand still just outside the gate for a few minutes while each puppy can smell, hear and watch the outside world. Then come back in again. Any screaming will result in turning around straight away.

When this stage is achieved, the next step is to start walking further away from the house.

Will Maggie start screaming?

If she does, they need to take things back a step or two with her and take it even more gradually.

Getting to this stage where the dogs can be walked separately and quietly just outside the house, on loose leads one at a time, is a major milestone.

We will then work out what to do next in order to take things forward so that eventually both little dogs can enjoy a quiet walk down the road together on loose leads.

Fortunately they have a nice garden and get plenty of exercise. For outings, the couple may try popping them in the car, taking them somewhere open and letting them free on long lines. Any screaming and this will be abandoned.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail, but I choose an angle with maybe a bit of poetic licence. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Maggie and Mollie. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good as the case needs to be assessed correctly. One size does not fit all so accurate assessment is important. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Help page)

Practise a different way of reacting. (Practice makes better, if not perfect).

They have had two-year-old Springer Spaniel Ben for one week now.  He is a beauty; polite and friendly.

I sensed that some of his quietness is due to being a bit careful and still finding his feet. Ben may well be a bit different when he has properly settled in.

He could become more confident which may well work in their favour where his explosion into barking and lunging when getting too close to another dog is concerned. Continue reading…

Working dog with no employment.

Bonnie is a working dog without a job.

She is a thirteen-month-old beautiful fox red Labrador.

I always ask my clients what their aim in having me would be if I had a magic wand. Which of course I don’t!

Bonnie’s owners said simply, ‘Happy walks with a happy dog’.

Working dog gun dogOne would think that Bonnie had everything in life a dog could ask for. However, the most important thing, apart from food and keeping safe, is missing.

A job. Continue reading…

Force, choke chain and control

force and choke chain unnecessaryForce and control may keep other dogs safe, but it doesn’t improve how beautiful Milo feels about them. The opposite in fact.

It’s always a treat for me, in my job, to meet a German Shepherd that welcomes me into his house! Milo is great with people.

The seven-year-old dog is the most gorgeous, friendly dog. They have come a long way in many respects having worked hard with his ‘manners’ and training since they adopted him four years ago.

However, there is one thing that simply doesn’t improve. That is his attitude towards other dogs when out on walks.

Continue reading…

Gun dog. Easing off the training, giving him choices.

Gun dog Black Lab Bentley is extremely well-behaved and polite, an absolute delight.

The young dog seems, however, careful. He follows anyone who gets up to walk about, looking worried. He can be jumpy.

Gun dog training

gun dogHis young lady owner is very conscientious indeed. She is keen to make a good gun dog out of him and is very disciplined with the training. Each family member helps her by walking him and they are well-trained too – very keen to help. All walks include training sessions.

The girl voiced concern that if she follows my behaviour route, Bentley’s training may go downhill.  I suspect that easing right back on the gun dog training and giving Bentley more choice will instead enhance their training sessions.

Continue reading…

Imbalance. Too Much Excitement. Too Little Enrichment

It was a total pleasure to be in the company of the two lovely Dobermans (or is it Dobermen?) – Doberman Pinschers.

Three-year-old Storm joined them six months ago. It’s hard to believe that he’s on home number four but he’s landed on his feet now.

His first year was spent as a ‘yard’ dog. From his behaviour in the house and with people, I would guess he hadn’t encountered the outside world in the first formative months of his life. That was the first imbalance in his life.

Outside their home is the problem.

Continue reading…

Leash Wrestles. Lead Grabs. Tugs Wildly

Five-and-a-half-month-old Harry leash wrestles; he tugs and bites it. It’s in one set of circumstances only.  At the end of his walk, when they they get to the entrance of the park, Harry goes into some sort of frenzy. Flying about nipping, he attacks the lead and tugs at it as he swings about, growling.

Recent change in behaviour

Always excitable and a jumper, he has only started this ‘wild’ behaviour where he wrestles the lead in the last couple of weeks. The lady is actually scared. Harry suddenly changes character. She feels like he’s attacking her. Continue reading…

Ignores Come when Called. Overwhelms Other Dogs when Out.

Ignores Come when calledNala ignores Come when called when she sees another dog to run up to and jump on! That’s their only problem really apart from some jumping up due to over-excitement.

Nala is an unusual-looking dog. Stunning, large and fluffy.  She is a very friendly mix of Leonberger and Giant Poodle.

They have worked hard with training the two–year-old. The problem isn’t severe – yet.  She has good recall mostly but she ignores Come when she’s called when they most need it. They are doing the right thing getting help before it escalates into anything more.

Continue reading…

Won’t Walk. Doesn’t Feel Safe. Not Naughty.

Fox Terrier won't walkThis is a puzzling situation. Often Harvey simply won’t walk.

The Fox Terrier is now eight years old and this began several years ago. He became even more reluctant to go out after their other dog died about nine months ago.

The lady and gentleman feel walks are very important, so much so that in addition to a morning walk and an evening walk, they have one of two dog walkers coming in during the day as well. Both were at our meeting which is wonderful. He certainly has plenty of humans caring for and about him!

Naughty?

They may have to drag or carry him out of the door. If he walks a little way to start with, he will then simply sit down. He won’t walk and refuses to go any further without some force.

The man referred to this as ‘being naughty’.

Harvey always pulls on the way back, very eager to get home. Continue reading…