Its been a while since I emailed, however, this week was the crucial one for us as Iain went off on his golfing trip to Spain on Saturday, leaving Jed and Kira with myself.As you knew I was a bit nervous about taking them out on my own, however, it has been a joy! Jed is just so much more attentive in general, and on the walks, he comes when called every time now and doesn’t ignore us if there is a better smell elsewhere! He has also lost his habit of pulling, constantly checks when he is on the lead to see where I am going, and no longer tries to anticipate what might be around a corner.
I feel confident enough with him now to let him off the lead when there are no strange dogs insight as I can rely on him to come to me if I spot another dog in the distance so that I can put a lead on him – that’s a major step forward. He will also walk to heel off the lead when I ask him too. Great! A neighbour walked with me and both the dogs yesterday, and commented on how well behaved and responsive they both were when off the lead. Taking them out of the house is much improved also, they wait and follow me both going out and coming in, and even stop and wait to allow me to lock the door!
He is much improved with other dogs, although it is fair to say there is still a bit of work to do there. He is generally now easily distracted from other dogs and doesn’t lunge and pull at them the way he used to. He does tend to bounce once or twice on the spot but without pulling and is easily removed from the situation and comes away, which is a massive improvement, but still needs a little more work by us. I wouldn’t yet think of leaving him off the lead if another dog was close by, and perhaps that is something which I will never be happy to do – time will tell. His front door behaviour is also improved though still needing a little work. I think fundamentally that he has now learnt who is in charge, and is relaxing – that is very obvious when we walk around corners or bends as he pays attention to me, rather pulling forward with alert ears to find the potential threat which might be waiting for him…
Kira is also doing so well, she is completely reliable with other dogs, and when she is off the lead – that’s a big help as it means if other dogs approach when I am alone I can leave her off the lead, and concentrate on Jed. I actually feel rather proud of her behaviour when we are out on walks!
So Mike, what can I say; from waving Iain off with a brave face on Saturday, and feeling very nervous and not quite sure how I would cope, I am feeling really very confident and loving the fact that both dogs now respond and behave so well. The training has brought Jed a long way forward, and I can’t thank you enough for the experience and knowledge you have passed on to us. It has been and will continue to be quite hard work at times, however as far as we are concerned it is completely worth it to see a calmer, happier dog, and we will continue with it. I have always known that part of the issue was my lack of confidence in my ability to handle him, and I am so grateful for the techniques which are so much improving my relationship with him.This week has been a real test, and I think both Jed and I have passed!
Once again, so many thanks to you – walks are again a pleasure rather than the minefield they were turning into.
A further wee update – we took Jed to the Islands on Sunday for over an hour, it was the first time for quite a few weeks with holidays and other things. The improvement in him was really noticeable, he didn’t lunge, pull, growl or bark once. Still very interested in the other dogs and a bit excited, but so easily turned away from them to stay with me as I just kept walking with him and took him a bit off the path, and so much easier to get his attention back to me. Compared to the first times we went there, when I am sure that to other folks he appeared quite aggressive with his behaviour, I think he simply appeared to be a friendly, slightly excited/keen dog on Sunday. I handled him the whole time, and it really did my confidence wonders too – I felt properly in control of him.
I really can’t find the words to express how much this means, and simply saying thank you doesn’t seem enough, but I can assure you it is meant so very sincerely!