Beautiful Dog but Out of Control

English Bull Terrier on the stairsIf a picture could tell a story – this is it!

Sometimes I go to a situation where it’s hard to know where to start, particularly if the dog is jumping up and flying all over the place, desperate for attention – which she’s accustomed to getting in the form of being told off harshly and NO!

We sat down at the dining table and eighteen-month-old English Bull Terrier Millie was straight up onto it. The lady shouted at her to get down which she ignored. She takes very little notice of the lady who has to speak loudly and fiercely to get Millie to take acknowledge her at all. The lady absolutely adores her and it’s hard for her when her dog is so out of control.

It’s amazing what tiny pieces of cheese and a quiet voice can achieve!

It took a long while – most of the three hours that I was there discussing all the things necessary in a consultation – but by the end Millie was sitting down in the corner beside my chair. I did it by simply not trying to tell her to do anything. The lady herself now needs to be able to motivate her to willingly do things without using any force.

First, instead of dealing with the jumping and getting onto the table, I dealt with what we did want – with her getting off the table and jumping onto the floor. Soon we had a reliable ‘Off’ – rewarding with ‘Yes’ followed cheese as soon as her feet were on the floor. I showed the lady how willingly Millie did this when asked once and by then just waiting for her to comply, followed by a food ‘thank you’.

Then Millie came and just happened to sit in the corner beside me. I was waiting for this. I immediately gently said SIT to label what she was already doing and fed her cheese – saying SIT in a very pleased voice and feeding her, loving her, while she remained sitting. Each time she came back and sat I repeated this. It wasn’t long before she realised that just coming and sitting beside me was a lot more rewarding than jumping on me or jumping on the table.

Then towards the end, I had her sitting on cue (when I asked her). I was thrilled. It seems like a small step, but it’s a leap for Milly and for the lady who will continue with this work – starting in Millie’s special ‘sitting corner’ beside the table, speaking to her gently and using food.

The actual problem that has most been distressing the lady is that her black Labrador, Ruby, has had to go and live with her son. Ruby, now three years old, took an instant dislike to the puppy Millie from the moment she arrived. Eventually, at a year old, Millie turned on her. A massive fight ensued so one of the dogs had to go.

The lady pines for Ruby and badly wants her back. There will need to be a very different and much calmer, controlled atmosphere in the house if that is ever to happen.

While Millie is quite so stressed and excitable there is little chance of getting them back together, so reducing her stress levels is our first aim and getting her under some control – particularly self-control. She needs more suitable exercise and fulfilment which we will be looking into next time. We will eventually be working on various protocols with a possible reuniting in neutral territory being the final goal.

Fortunately Ruby is happy living with the son. Millie herself will be a lot happier when she has a bit more healthy stimulation and exercise, and learns what is wanted of her through positive reinforcement.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Millie. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dogs (see my Get Help page).

An Excitable English Bull Terrier

English Bull TerrierThe afternoon consisted of calm, affectionate moments with the lovely Ty punctuated with fresh attempts to jump all over me – which can be uncomfortable when a dog stands beside you on the sofa, licking your face and trying to nip your ear! Understandably nobody likes this, but if telling him off worked he wouldn’t be doing it any more.

The twenty month old English Bull Terrier didn’t have a good start in life. His first year was with two older, larger dogs and it seems he had to fight for his food and has injuries to show for it. He was very underweight when they got him.

When he was strong enough they had him castrated, a requirement of most rescues, and from that moment Ty, who had previously been absolutely fine with other dogs despite his early months, became fearful and reactive. Castration doesn’t always have positive effects behaviourally – the reduction in testosterone possibly taking away some of his mojo.

The very excitable Ty lives with the most easy-going Golden Labrador – Amber, age two. They get on famously. The couple’s excellent dog parenting that had worked so well with happy and well-mannered Amber has helped Ty a lot over the past eight months, but they are still struggling. His excitability means he’s a bit unpredictable. His jumping up is a bit crazy, his licking of people a bit manic, he barks at ‘everything’, he sometimes tail-chases when particularly frustrated and he is obsessed with balls. He has shown his wariness to one man in particular by snarling at him. On walks he is anxious around other dogs and they hold him tight – not trusting him. They do join a group ‘bully’ walk of a large group of local bull-breeds. Once the group is on the move, his lead comes off and he is fine.

Golden Labroador on sofa with EBT

Ty with Amber

I feel the unpredictability and excitement need working on at home before they will make much headway when out. It’s not like there is one single problem, though their main wish is to be able to enjoy walks and trust him to come back to them when other dogs are about.

If Ty doesn’t pay attention to them at home, he won’t do so when out. They will work hard at getting and holding his attention – using food. They will be surprised how much more motivated he will become when they use tiny bits of tasty real food as reinforcement. If he doesn’t come immediately or do as asked at home, then he certainly won’t come back when out on walks.  Again – it’s a matter of motivation. If he doesn’t see them as his protectors at home, then he won’t do so when they are out. Everything is interconnected.

Excitement builds up. The jumping, licking, nipping and so on should simply not get results, but when he’s in this sort of mood his excitement should be redirected onto something more acceptable that will help to calm him – like an item to chew or some foraging for food outside.

Walks will only really improve when he learns that they go nowhere until he is calm – so this will take a lot of patience and waiting so he’s no longer so excitable when they leave. They will now help him to gain his confidence at whatever distance he needs to be from other dogs he sees in order to feel comfortable.

He’s a young dog. They have come a long way already and it can only continue to get better.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Ty, which is why I don’t go into exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet that are not tailored to your own dogs can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page).

Guarding Food and Bowl

English Bull Terrier guards his food bowlI wonder what started Reggie’s guarding behaviour as it’s hard to see how it fits in with the rest of his personality.

The 4-year-old English Bull Terrier is only guarding food related items. He doesn’t guard toys or anything else.

He is an interesting character. Apart from guarding food he is affectionate and gentle. He can also be very demanding, especially in the evenings when he occupies himself with anything that he knows will get a reaction, whether it’s knocking over a flower vase, pushing over a full mug of tea, or fiddling around in a corner where there are cables.

It took a while for Reggie to stop trying to jump onto me, and he just checked again several times during the evening. Mostly he settled beside me – something very unusual with visitors. There was no reprimanding. I simply showed him by my response what I didn’t want and, more importantly, what I did want. He understood.

Strangely, although Reggie is happy to set off on a walk, he’s not gone far before he wants to come home again. He is a heavy dog, and if he goes on strike he’s very difficult to move.

He normally takes little notice of other dogs, though what prompted them to get in touch with me was the other day he attacked a smaller dog – something unprecedented and seemingly for no reason. The dog was on lead, Reggie wasn’t. Reggie refuses to go for walks

Reggie is a dog whose day revolves around his own wishes and much of that is food driven! I know his humans won’t mind my saying that he carries too much weight. He is given treats simply for looking at the cupboard and asking. They all share their food with him while they eat. He may even lunge to snatch something out of their hands like a bag of crisps.

I have created a ‘recipe’ for them to follow to resolve his obsessive behaviour around his food.

They have been tipping his food on the floor so there is no bowl to guard. He goes at it before it’s even hit the floor – like he’s afraid he will lose it. He wolfs it down but freezes and shows the whites of his eyes if anybody goes anywhere near.

The key is to convince Reggie that his humans are ‘givers’, not ‘takers’. We will first get him used to receiving food a bit at a time in an empty bowl.

To stop possible guarding of any one location, they will put the bowl in a different place each time. To avoid possible guarding of a particular vessel, they will use a variety of bowls and pans.

We also considered whether the marble floor which resulted in his bowl sliding around may have encouraged the pushing and guarding of the bowl itself, so bowls will now be placed on a mat.

After several weeks probably, they will move on to placing all the food into the empty bowl.  Next they will fill the bowl before they put it down and gradually teach him some impulse control so he doesn’t dive in too fast. They will walk about and they will stand still – regularly dropping good stuff in. Instead of taking the bowl away from him, they will call him away and out of the room before lifting it. Ultimately they will be able to take up the bowl in return for something else – chicken maybe.

When Reggie knows that people near his food mean better stuff is always added and when access to all food will be under the control of his humans and not himself, he will stop all this I’m sure.

I believe that all dogs should be left to eat in peace, and that a lot of guarding behaviours have been triggered by humans ‘training’ their dogs to have their food taken away from them by interrupting the meal. It somewhat predictably often has the opposite effect.

Our ‘slowly slowly’ strategy is much the same with Reggie’s walks. He will start with many short sessions near home where he is happy, and only very gradually, a few yards at a time, will they take him further afield – always coming home before he’s had enough.

He has a life of too much fussing, too much food, and too little to occupy himself in terms of healthy stimulation. Change this, and most other things will fall into place.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Reggie, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dogs can do more harm than good – most particularly where any aggressive behaviour is concerned. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page).

Another Dog that Growls and Barks at People

he growls and barks at peopleAnother puzzle insofar as it’s impossible to work out just why miniature English Bull Terrier Vinnie’s behaviour changed so drastically three years ago.

The growls and barks began upon his reaching maturity

A couple of things may have contributed to it. They moved house to somewhere a bit more busy, and Vinnie, now four, was reaching sexual maturity. I do find that some dogs who had previously been relaxed with other dogs and with people may change in adolescence or upon reaching maturity.

Vinnie growls and barks aggressively at people he doesn’t know coming into the house.

When I walked in he sounded quite scary. He has not yet bitten anyone and his owners didn’t describe the noise as fierce and warning but as barking ‘in an excited, naughty way’. It didn’t sound like that to me.

He also growls and barks at people and some dogs when they walk their usual walking routes near to home.

He’s a different dog away from home

Another part of his mystery is that at the lady’s mother’s house he doesn’t bark at people at all. Nor does he on holiday. Neither does he bark or stress when in the car and people and dogs pass by.

When he goes out for walks Vinnie drags his heels. He ‘will only walk one particular route’. He is reluctant to move – worse for the young lady although at home he follows her about. The gentleman puts pressure on him if he dawdles.

Then, at a certain distance from the house, Vinnie perks up and starts to take an interest in the walk, only to revert to his noisy growls and barks at people when on the way back and in sight of home.

More and more puzzling. If either the lady or gentleman takes him out alone, he doesn’t bark much although he still shows reluctance. When they walk him together he growls and barks at people he sees.

My best guess is that it’s to do with being protective and territorial. He shows none of the usual body language signs associated with fear or anxiety, and is very easily distracted with food.

Really scared dogs or really angry dogs are unlikely to eat.

What does the behaviour actually do for him?

Whatever the reasons, our plan is based around the principal that reinforcement drives behaviour. Dogs don’t do something for no reason at all.

We can try to look at what is actually happening rather putting interpretations on it. Just the specifics. We look at what result, in his mind, he gets out of the behaviours. That is what needs to be changed and alternative incompatible behaviours put in their place.

People often don’t realise that they are unintentionally giving their dogs most attention for doing unwanted behaviours in the form of commands and scolding. He growls and barks at people and he gets a result. They will give him much more attention by way of encouragement and reward for desired behaviours.

PS. I spoke to colleague, behaviour trainer, author and close friend of mine Lisa Tenzin-Dolma about this puzzling case and she feels that it’s the house itself needing to be examined. They could look into its history. Could it perhaps have been built on landfill? Would the radon levels be worth checking? The couple are going to do some research. One must bear in mind that a dog’s senses are many times more acute than our own. One other strange thing came to light. A previous owner some years ago had been stabbed to death across the road. Believing in the psychic may be a step too far for some, but who knows.

Ten days have gone by: “We feel that Vinnie is listening to us more and is quicker to respond to us as well as seems calmer, we are very surprised to be honest as we feel everything we have done has been very easy and was expecting it to be harder some how but we have been doing just about everything you suggested. i feel that we have also changed and are calmer and reward Vinnie much more which he is responding to”.

Refuses to Walk. English Bull Terrier Won’t Walk

English Bull Terrier refuses to walkThis is English Bull Terrier Indie and he is now two years old.

Ever since he was a puppy he would, throughout a walk, frequently put the anchors on. He refuses to walk. This starts a few yards from their own drive. He would simply lie down and ‘refuse to budge.

Indie is well known in the area!

Forcing him to walk

Believing that they should not be beaten, that he should not ‘dominate’ them, his owners would then drag him until he was forced to move forward again.

With one of the daughters he would sometimes go on strike and lie on his back in the middle of the road. There was simply nothing she could do while the cars had to drive around them.

The relationship between the dog and his family has deteriorated because he refuses to walk. It’s largely fuelled by anger at being ‘defied’ by him which has led to quite a confrontational relationship with the lady in particular. Indie is a constant trial to her now.

The dog gets all his attention from being ‘bad’. It has now got to the stage where the lady is at odds with her family. She feels so angry and upset with him, at her wits’ end, that she would be happy to see Indie go.

Misunderstood

Having put so much work and love into our dog, having done our very best, we can feel exasperated, let down and angry. It becomes a sort of downward spiral as we increasingly try to gain control. The relationship with our dog can become a shadow over our lives, making us feel helpless and unhappy.

What I saw was an intelligent and misunderstood dog that was seldom given the chance to please. He was frequently being corrected – crossly. His attention came either when he was insistent and demanded it, or when he was doing something they didn’t like.

Over the months their efforts to ‘control’ him have led to him growling and snapping. This is mostly when someone has physically tried to move him or when he is protecting a valued resource. This could be a huge bone or the daughter’s boyfriend.

Whereas the people would say NO as he tried to leap onto someone on the sofa, I gently clapped my hands and pointed at the floor with a gentle ‘Indie Off’. I knew that he would come down straight away and he was rewarded with ‘Good Boy’. With Indie it’s a question of showing him what he should do – not what he shouldn’t.

Refuses to walk, so no walks at all

He’s crying out for attention but is getting it for all the wrong things, like when he refuses to walk. Because of the problem on walks he now has little exercise or happy stimulation.

A mix of gaining his willing cooperation in all aspects of his relationship with his owners should change his life. They will do this through encouragement, reward and praise rather than force and confrontation. We created a cunning plan to get him walking willingly – making sure that if anxiety is anything to do with it that it’s treated appropriately.

This will make his owners happy too – especially the lady.

I bought a T-shirt at the Victoria Stilwell seminar I attended last weekend printed with ‘Kindness is Powerful’. That says it all really. But what is kindness? It’s not doing everything a dog demands and giving it control over you (spoiling it), and then despairing when it won’t cooperate when you wish it do to do something. Bonding comes through understanding and patience, not the use of force.

English Bull Terrier Obsessed With Balls

English Bull Terrier Archie taking a break form chasing ballsArchie’s life, from the moment he wakes in the morning, revolves around balls. He fixates on them. He has dens in the garden where he lies, staring at them.

From the moment the lady appears in the morning Archie was banging a ball into her legs until she starts to kick it about. She ‘has to’ play ball before anything else. The gentleman refuses to oblige so the whole behaviour centres around the lady. When they have guests, the gentleman talks to them while the lady kicked balls around the garden. She may throw several balls at once. We sat in the garden and I could see at least six.

It may sound ridiculous written down, but this has crept up on her gradually and to her seemed quite sensible. She is doing it out of devotion to her dog, concerned he’s getting enough exercise and stimulation.

We soon saw what happened if she ignored him! He was digging holes in the lawn, running off with bits of wood, digging up and playing with plants – anything in fact that might get attention. And it did!!

I put him on a long line and we worked on calling him away from these things and to us, rewarding him as he came (he had no choice because I drew him gently in each time) and before long he was lying spark out in the sunshine. We discussed harmless and more constructive occupations he could be offered to give him some healthy alternative activity.

To start with the lady was looking very tense. It was her belief that her dog needed constant stimulation and that she was being cruel to ignore him. She was living in constant guilt – even feeling guilty if she leaves him for a couple of hours though they have evidence that he’s perfectly OK.  When they are out they have a web cam to watch him.

As she began to see things more from Archie’s point of view the lady visibly began to relax. She was beginning to see that by the constant playing and activity she was simply winding him up. Wherever she was Archie wanted balls, not the lady for herself but as a ball thrower.

On walks he would sometimes become so excited that he would circle and leap and bite at the man. It’s like he was being constantly wound up with a big key and was over-wound. There is a school of thought, encouraged by Cesar Millan (it’s possible in order to make good TV we don’t see a balance), that in order to make a dog good you have to exercise the hell out of it. Whilst I agree there are many dogs who get far too little exercise and stimulation, there are only a few breeds designed for sustained activity.

Anyway, they are going to put Archie out of the way and they are going on a ball hunt to remove all balls! There is going to be no more ball play for quite a while and then it will only be with a ball they produce and that they put away again afterwards. Meanwhile, they will try a frisbee – one Frisbee – or a ring which they won’t leave him with. Then they will look at more constructive and less stimulating pastimes for him – natural things like chewing a bone or even a sand pit for the terrier in him to dig in.

He is a really lovely natured dog, who without this constant stimulation, fuss and worry will grow into a wonderful well-balanced adult dog.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog. Please just check the map and contact me.
 

Very Scared of People

Rudy looks more English Bull Terrier in the photo but you can see the pale Husky eyes16-month-old Rudy looks more English Bull Terrier in the photo but you can see the pale Husky eyes. A beautiful dog and quite unusual looking. Because of this he attracts attention, and human attention is what he can’t handle.

Like so many of the dogs I go to, his start in life was far from ideal. From the time he left his mother and litter mates at 8 weeks old and until he was four months old, he was shut in a room all alone for hours on end, before being returned to the breeder. The most valuable weeks of his life for socialising and happily encountering many different things including lots of people, had been lost. My clients then took him on.

Rudy is terrified of people coming to the house. He barks and hackles, but is also ready to run. He may empty his bladder if approached. He has never bitten. He barks constantly when anyone he doesn’t know well comes to the house – so much that nobody can speak. Unfortunately this has led to a lot of shouting which simply makes things worse. Very unusually for him, he quietened down for me very quickly and we were able to talk after a few minutes, which goes to show how, if the visitors use the right signals and body language, don’t approach or stare at him and stay seated, if his owners too keep quiet and calm, he can be helped. He is watching me in the photo, fairly calm – but that would change quickly if I were to suddenly stand up.

The other major problem is that he is so dependent upon the presence of the lady in particular that for a year they have seldom gone out. The couple are almost prisoners in their home because they can neither have visitors nor go out and leave him.

So we have two big problems to deal with, fear of people and fear of being left. It is going to take a long time because each must be dealt with in tiny increments, a step at a time, with a lot of patience, and definitely NO SHOUTING!

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

How to Behave Around Dogs

English Bull Terrier-Staffie mix, a surprisingly small and very attractive little dog.Today I visited an English Bull Terrier-Staffie mix, a surprisingly small and very attractive little dog. Ivor was found as a stray about eighteen months ago at one year of age, and he now has a lovely home. Indoors, apart from being somewhat over-excited and jumping up when people come to the house, he is absolutely fine. Out on walks it’s like he doesn’t know how to behave towards other dogs. He came with scars and it’s probable his experiences of other dogs during the important formative weeks of his life were intimidating.

Because of the excessive pulling, screaming, flipping over and freaking out when they encounter other dogs, they have tried all sorts of gadgets of ‘force’ I would call them, contraptions to make Ivor unable to lunge. These include a prong collar (disapproved of and unavailable in this country), and various types of lead including an elasticated slip lead and ‘no-pull’ harness.

There are at least three dogs that Ivor is OK with, so things are probably not as bad as they seem. Just imagine how he feels when he’s out. Before the walk starts he’s wildly excited – probably not pure joy but apprehension as well, as we might feel before a bunjee jump! He charges out, pulling his strong young male owner who uses his strength to correct and control him. Ivor must be very uncomfortable indeed as EBTSTaffiehe pulls on the short lead – especially if on the prong collar. He will resist the pain and become even more frantic, some of which will understandably be an automatic response to pull away from the discomfort. The lead is constantly being jerked back and he’s scolded. What a tense situation. Then, trapped on lead to a person who is getting frustrated, he sees a dog. He’s in no state of mind react appropriately, is he.

Don’t get me wrong, this little dog is dearly loved and everything else they do is kind and gentle, but the behaviour of their dog on walks, especially with pulling and ‘aggression’ towards other dogs, can drive people to despair as they try everything they can to find a solution. A dog that’s not had the right start in life needs special understanding which most people simply aren’t equipped for. He needs to be taught how to approach other dogs appropriately.

I have found over and over again that for people who are prepared to start from scratch and put in the time and effort, the walk can be transformed. Ivor needs to learn to be tuned in to the person walking him. To achieve this, the humans need to work at becoming relevant and rewarding to be with – and to be trusted to make the right decision around other dogs.

It is a step by step process, which only falls apart if people won’t spend sufficient time on each level before attempting the next, resulting in the chaos of meeting another dog too soon and unprepared. There is simply no quick fix unless it is, basically, an instrument of torture and mostly these only work short term and make things far worse in the long term. Applying certain TV programme techniques can be dangerous.

‘Socialising’ is something that can’t be done with a reactive dog. You can’t force socialising onto a dog. The first step is for the dog to simply accept other dogs nearby without reacting – then build from there in a controlled fashion.

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

Excitement When People Come to House

Sleeping EBT

Lenny

Over time I have realised certain patterns in dog behaviour difficulties. For instance, it is more unusual for a dog who walks casually and peacefully on a loose lead to be scared or aggressive towards dogs it meet on walks.

Another is that most dogs with problems relating to stress in the house mostly also have problems out on walks.

Staffie Lyra looks away when I point my phone at her

Lyra

English Bull Terrier Lenny and Staffie Lyra are exceptions to this – and it applies to both dogs, which points to it being more to do with the owners’ own behaviour than their dogs’, and is testament to their owners’ better guidance skills when outside on walks.

Lyra is extremely agitated, anxious and excited when ‘outsiders’ come into the house, (you can see her looking away when I pointed my phone at her for the photo). Initially she flies all over the place barking, and then she redirects her frustrations and energy onto Lenny, licking, chewing and goading him. He is a much calmer dog but may eventually start on her also.

It took Lyra a long time to settle down when I was there.

It’s the ‘at home’ PG (Protection and Guidance) Leadership that needs attending to. This sort of interaction which is the equivalent of human quarrelling, pushing and shoving needs to be nipped in the bud, not by using scolding or commands but by splitting them as another dog would do. They simply need to learn not to do it, and Lyra needs an acceptable replacement activity on which to unwind. It would be quite bad manners for humans to be carrying on like this when people came to the house!  It may initially mean waiting for quite a while with the dogs in another room before Lyra in particular is sufficiently calm to be brought in. They also need more visitors, ‘guinea pigs’, so people visiting becomes more commonplace.

One month later: “Since your last visit our house is so much calmer, you have given me the skills & confidence to be a good leader/parent to my dogs & they are much happier now as a result of it. Visitors who have come round have ALL commented at how calm Lyla is, in fact my 4 year ‘dog phobic’ niece came on a dog walk with us on Sunday- their was NO barking & they just walked along as normal practically ignoring her.  On the walk we went to town, sat outside a coffee shop & had a drink & biscuits – the dogs remained calm & just sat down quietly…. we then all came into the house where my niece fed the dogs a biscuit each.  The dogs remained calm & did not jump up or bark…VERY IMPRESSED!!
Also even the barking at the window etc has now been controlled by the ‘Thank You’ technique, and the barking when we come home from work is now minimal or non existant. I have been singing your praises to anyone who listens”.
 I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.
 

Wound Up English Bull Terrier

Reggie2Reggie is seven months old, but to look at him you would never think he was little more than a puppy.

He has been hard work from when he arrived at eight weeks old. He is one of the most frantically hyped-up and restless dogs I have seen for a while.

Adolescent Reggie is on the go non-stop. Jumping up, roughly grabbing clothes and barking, digging the carpet, panting, drinking excessively, barking in their faces and constantly looking for mischief. His gentleman owner has some control because he is confident and gets angry, but the lady who is less assertive is being bullied by him. They have a little girl who needs protecting from the charging about and leaping all over people and furniture, so he is in his crate a lot of the time, because there simply is nothing else they feel they can do with him.

Reggie’s personality and genetics must be contributing to this, because the family have neither overly indulged him nor over-disciplined him. He has been carefully checked over by the vet. They have done everything they can. They have read books and taken him to classes, but as he gets older he gets worse.

Having someone with experience to actually come and see what is happening and to offer solutions geared specifically to their dog in his own environment is sometimes the only way. It is often impossible to apply what your read – and besides no two sources say the same thing.

We spent the evening working on his behaviour whilst looking into ways of calming him down in general. Training classes failed big time because he was so hyped up that he spent the time barking, jumping up and grabbing the lady – he even bit her leg, grabbing the lead, and chasing and nipping other dogs.  He is already a very strong and large dog for the breed.

Using a psychological behavioural approach throughout the evening I showed him that jumping and grabbing me was not rewarding in any way. Bit by bit you could see him actually choosing the desired behaviour for himself. At the end of a tiring evening, instead of being shut away in his crate to bark and cry as usual, or jumping at me whenever I moved, he was lying spark out in the middle of the floor – even ignoring us walking around him – see the picture. .

It’s like he was completely exhausted and finally relaxed because patiently and kindly we had been giving him boundaries in a way that he understood and he actually wanted to please.

A big burden had been lifted from him yesterday evening. Bit by bit over the next few weeks he should become a different dog if they are consistent and patient.

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