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 ahead. 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 off 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 an 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 was 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.

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