Look at that face, butter would melt! I didn’t always feel that way about him. Sonny is a rescue dog, I don’t really know his history, but whilst he is a generally friendly and engaging dog he did still have issues. Two incidents in the first year I had him made me consider sending him back. Firstly, his recall was a bit hit and miss, I suspect he was actually just coming back to me when he wanted, not when I wanted. This behaviour finally culminated in him doing a runner on me and disappearing for two and a half hours, then returning covered in mud; I was not happy by any stretch of the imagination! I started working with Mike on improving Sonny’s recall. It takes patience and persistence and a willingness to gently but surely move your dog’s behaviour towards a point that you want to be, and away from the old behaviour. Mikes techniques are not difficult but they are effective if you keep at it. As Sonny became more settled his recall gradually improved to a point now where I can take him for a walk and let him run as his wants to, but still be confident that I can get him back on command. The second incident came nearly a year after I got him and was mildly unexpected. He decided he didn’t like the cut of the postman’s jib and nipped him. I was mortified, and apologetic of course, who knows what Sonny was thinking; the point was I didn’t want him to think it again. I spoke with Mike and he came out to help. He showed me a really simply technique to get Sonny to sit quietly whenever a stranger visited. Again, with patience and persistence, it worked to the point where the relief postman actually commented on how well behaved he was. With rescue dogs, it does sometimes feel like you are peeling back the layers of some their negative experiences they may have had. You just have to be patient and accept that it takes times, but Sonny was definitely worth the effort and we are both very grateful to Mike for helping me to help Sonny understand better what I need him to do or not do. Sonny is definitely not going back now, I wouldn’t be parted from him for the world as he is a delight to have around.

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