Scooby is a 4-year-old male Border Collie dog. He has been our family pet since he was 6 weeks old. Scooby has always been a very lively dog, enjoying lots of exercise, long walks in the forest every day. He has been a great pet for us, if somewhat of a handful, and has given us much pleasure and company. He has endless energy and character.

However, his behaviour was gradually becoming a problem. He did not handle at all well on a lead, continually pulling. He would walk to heel off the lead but this would require continual commands to stop him from running off before being allowed to.

He would often not return to you especially if distracted by something. However, the most serious problem we had with Scooby was that on occasion he would display serious aggressive tendencies towards certain specific people.
Generally, this was on his own turf and no harm is done to anyone but the catalyst for us came when a gate was left open and Scooby got out of the garden and chased down the road after someone, totally unprovoked, barking & growling. He did not look like our family dog at this point, rather he looked a vicious, frightening animal.

It was at this point that we contacted Mike at Rewarding Dogs. Mike chatted to us on the phone and arranged to come & spend an afternoon with us and Scooby. I soon realised that, in fact, we were not going to be training the dog so much as training me! Mike spent some time especially with me showing me how to behave assertively and confidently with Scooby, not necessarily using any command but using extremely effective body language. Simple things like making Scooby wait to be invited in through the door instead of charging ahead has had a huge impact on his behaviour.
Mike devised a programme of training for us to follow, including much use of body language as well as exercises on a long line. Within a very short time, we noticed a considerable difference in Scooby’s behaviour. He was much more relaxed, almost as if he realised that at last someone was taking control and not leaving it to him to defend the home and sort out problems!

It is now over 4 months since we first met Mike and we continue to make progress with Scooby using the tools and exercises he gave us. We are aware that, as a breed, Collies can be problematic, but Mike has given me the confidence to deal with & enjoy Scooby. There is still some way to go with him and it is up to us to maintain our position with him and be vigilant to his “moods”. Mike has made us realise that Scooby needs a firm and constant leader to allow him to relax. I am extremely glad that we made contact as I don’t think we could have kept Scooby as a family pet for much longer the way we were heading!

Shona Osborne