English Mastiff cross is well behaved and calm in the houseOlive is a cross between an English Mastiff and probably a Rottweiler. She is a lovely girl – gentle and biddable at home – perhaps a bit anxious sometimes. She is especially anxious around other dogs and due to her weight and power she has not had any walks now for eighteen months.

Her people have been pulled over, and uncontrolled she is a danger to dogs and people that she feels she needs to ‘see off’.

Giving her no walks, even if she has lots of exercise and a large garden, creates another problem. One sees city dogs who are so habituated to people, noise, traffic and other dogs that they ignore them completely. Outside the gate Olive will be on sensory overload with all the smells, sounds and passers-by, both humans and dogs. However much preparation is done beforehand at home, it would be unreasonable to expect Olive to be calm without a good deal of desensitisation.

The family will need to tighten up their leadership skills in the house – there isn’t much to do because Olive and her companion, an Akita called Tokyo, are very good dogs. She needs to have faith in her owners as the decision-makers and protectors. The technique of loose-lead walking will need to be perfected in a safe and non-stimulating environment – the garden. Olive then needs to be no further than just outside the front, standing still, sniffing, watching, with a handler who knows exactly the best way to react as soon as something starts to upset her.

She will need lots and lots of very short exposures to the outside world, very gradually increasing in intensity only as and when she is ready, with the support of a person who knows exactly how to react when a dog or person approaches.

Olive’s life will then start to become more fulfilling. Bless her.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.