Hanni Hanni - “ Leader Of The Pack ?? ”

Over a period of approximately 3 months I had noticed that Hanni , my 5 year old Labrador Retriever Dog , was becoming increasingly Disobedient at home and during walks . When we were out he constantly refused to come back when whistled or shouted and he was beginning to show aggressive tendencies towards other dogs , although these never physically resulted in contact ( fights ) .

One day whilst out walking this behaviour came to a head . I had slipped Hanni from his lead and let him wander a few yards from me . All was well until he noticed another couple of dogs further up the forest track . He started growling , hackles raised and was making as though he was about to charge of after them . I whistled and then shouted for him to stop with no success . At this point I made a grab for him to stop any further progress .

He then turned his head , bared his teeth and made an attempt to “ Bite” me . Although no contact had been made it had given me enough concern to seek advice and guidance from our Veterinary Surgeon .

During the initial consultation it was suggested that Hanni and I should be referred to an Animal Behavioural Psychologist , Mr Mike Grantham , to ascertain if there was any underlying reason for this totally out of character behaviour .

After the initial contact with Mike over the phone , where we discussed the behavioural problems , an appointment was made for him to come to the house and meet with us .

On the day of the visit Mike was able to see Hanni “ the family pet ” in his home environment . We discussed when the problem first arose , Hanni’s background and upbringing . During this Mike was watching and taking down notes on Hanni’s behaviour around the house .

We then went out to one of our usual walks were Mike again watched myself and Hanni and how we reacted to each other . Practical advice was given on how to get Hanni to return by coaxing / encouraging him and rewarding him instead of Shouting & Whistling . I found this part of the visit extremely enlightening and informative as I had no idea how much my wrong reaction to Hanni’s behaviour could have such an adverse impact on him .

It came to light as a result of Hanni being brought up as a “working dog ” , and the resultant standard of training required for this , that when his behaviour deteriorated what I thought were the correct methods for re-training were in fact to harsh . This mixed with Hanni trying to assert himself as “ leader of the pack ” at home resulted in a very unhappy relationship between owner and dog .

After a few weeks of re-training Hanni has returned to the loyal companion that every owner would be proud to have . The transformation was completed recently when he passed an assessment to become a Pets As Therapy dog . We now visit Nursing homes and Hospitals on a regular basis where residents and patients have the opportunity to stroke / pat him .

In my opinion admitting that you have a problem with your dog and seeking advice and guidance from someone such as Mike is going to benefit the relationship of Dog and Owner equally . I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of Mike Grantham as his approach is highly professional and it is a delight to meet someone who cares and takes a genuine interest in their work .

Gary Glass