Logan started training classes with an APDT member at 13 weeks old and was a star from the beginning while in the class. I did mention to the trainer on the first night that he did play-bite an awful lot. I have had a GSD before and other dogs, but never had one that mouthed as much as this. We did everything the trainer advised but the problem just got steadily worse with Logan jumping up and grabbing any part of us he could. We asked the trainer to come out for a one to one consultation. We revised what we were doing with him, but again nothing seemed to help. By this time he was getting big and while he didn’t break the skin, he definitely hurt when he grabbed us, normally leaving bruises.
The training classes finished when Logan was about 5 months and at his worst. We were trying to sort out what was becoming a major problem ourselves and getting nowhere fast. At about seven months I phoned the vets for a referral to a behaviourist and was given Mike’s name and number. We live just outside Aberdeen so I did think Mike was maybe too far away but decided to phone anyway. Thank goodness I did.
I was impressed by Mike’s knowledge and down to earth attitude.
Mike arranged to travel to our house where he could see exactly what Logan was like. Mike came down and met all of the family and took a lot of notes. He advised us on ways to change Logan ’s behaviour immediately and within a day or 2 had sent us a comprehensive report that we could refer to. Mike’s methods are kind and very effective. He would phone to see how we were getting on and he definitely knows exactly what he is talking about. I just wish we had contacted him earlier, because by the time we phoned Mike, Logan ’s behaviour was totally unacceptable and I really did not like the dog (well maybe when he was asleep). Luckily, Logan likes everyone he meets and thinks every dog he meets, will want to play with him, so although he was a nightmare with us, we could see that with the right training he could be a fantastic dog. Logan’s behaviour started improving as soon as we implemented Mike’s methods which were both kind and fair, but also effective.
We did travel up to see Mike twice more over the next couple of months ( Logan is one stubborn dog), and Mike advised other things to do with Logan to convince Logan that we were in charge and not him.
Logan no longer try’s to grab us, or jump up and basically accepts that we are in charge and not him. I cannot thank Mike enough for all of his help, advise and support.
I really do not think we would have Logan now, if we had not found Mike as I don’t think we could have carried on they way things were going.. I would not hesitate to refer someone to Mike for any kind of problem with their dogs, as far as I am concerned he is a miracle worker.
Thanks again Mike for turning a nightmare situation into a family with a lovely dog.
Pauline & Ray Philip
Update August 2007
Logan has been getting along extremely well after implementing Mikes training techniques regarding his jumping up and grabbing. But of course Logan wouldn’t be Logan unless there was some other way he could get me to start pulling my hair out again.
Logan’s recall has never been the best. Well lets be honest here, his recall had developed into me standing around waiting for him to decide to come back. It came to a head when he decided chasing rabbits was great fun. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that all dogs love to chase rabbits, but where we live there is absolutely NO place to walk that does not have a very good chance of seeing rabbits. Also playing with other dogs made him totally deaf, to the extent that he would follow the other dog and its owner for a good 5 minutes before maybe, coming back to me.
One of our walks was through the local park and into the woods behind. This one morning he was on the leash through the park and I let him off in the woods. He went to the toilet and then immediately took off running. I couldn’t even see any rabbits but he obviously had seen something. To make a long story shorter, I totally lost him for about 20 minutes and he eventually came running down the drive of a house that backs onto the woods, saw me and took off again through the park. At the end of the park he ran into someone else’s garden who has a domestic rabbit in a large round run, fenced off with chicken wire. He proceeded to circle the run to try and get the rabbit. I was convinced that I would either collapse in the park chasing after this crazy dog, he would get this rabbit, or instead of coming out of the garden and back into the park, he would go out onto the main road and be hit by a car.
When I eventually got him back, which took about 30 minutes I was shaking like a leaf. Logan had been totally out of control. He was a danger to himself, a danger to me (I was convinced I would have a heart attack chasing him) and a danger to other people. If anyone had seen this maniac of a dog running towards them I’m sure they would have had hysterics.
My choice was to phone Mike or for Logan to NEVER be off the lead again. It had really frightened me how out of control Logan was. I of course phoned Mike that morning and made an appointment to go up and see him.
Logan, myself and my husband spent the afternoon with Mike discussing what had happened and then taking Logan out for a walk. Mike instructed us in some special training techniques which he explained in detail how to implement and maintain. We practised while we were with Mike and have been carrying out his instructions since then.
That was a few months ago. Logan will now come back as soon as he hears the whistle whether there is a dog or a rabbit or anything else. Our walks are now a pleasure because I know I can get him back when I need to. If Logan was a child I would have described him as having ADHD. He was on full burn the whole time he was out for a walk. I am now relaxed out walking and I honestly feel that Logan is also more relaxed.
Mike worked his magic again. Logan not only seems happier and more relaxed on his walks, but he actually has MORE freedom now, because I’m not constantly thinking I better put him back on the leash ‘ just in case’.
I can’t thank Mike enough for once again rescuing us (and Logan) from a behaviour which would have just got worse and worse.
I keep thinking that because Logan has now turned 2 he should be calming down. I’m sure he is, but Logan being Logan will no doubt keep us on our toes.
Thanks again Mike, from all of us.