Following yet another miserable walk with Abi, my 14 month old German Shepherd dog, I could only describe my mood as one of utter despair. My legs were bleeding as her massive strength had pulled me over when she lunged after another dog. My wrists were painful from being tugged here and there, but the biggest problem was the feeling of humiliation and failure.
Due to Abi’s behaviour towards other dogs was so hostile, I couldn’t realistically expect her to receive a warm welcome at the local dog classes. So I turned to You Tube to see if I could discover any training tips. Fortunately Nigel had added an impressive short video on how to walk a dog on a loose leash. Although I live some distance from London, I decided to contact Nigel to see if he would be willing to spend a week training both Abi and me. This request was slightly different from the services he usually provides, but I think he could sense my desperation and agreed to help.
Nigel commenced the week by educating me on why dogs behave the way that they do, drawing from studies of their natural behaviour in the wild. With this new knowledge, I could now make some sense of what causes Abi’s nervous aggression and anxieties. By implementing some simple changes to the way I deal with Abi in the home, this would then have a positive impact on her behaviour across the board, including the miserable walk experience.
My over-riding impression of Nigel was his gentleness, patience and strong, but quiet presence with Abi. The little rascal didn’t want to willingly concede her lofty position as ‘leader’, but as the week progressed, Abi became calmer, less demanding and finally was demonstrating good manners both in and out of the house.
Incredibly, Abi now walks to heel… if she tries to edge ahead; I follow Nigel’s instructions by stopping, turning back a few paces, and then continue onwards. It hasn’t just been about the walking though; Nigel also addressed the way she reacts to other people and dogs, the lengthy barking episodes, the jumping up when greeting visitors and he has given Abi the opportunity to relax. I have been absolutely delighted with the outcome and am grateful to Nigel for improving the quality of both Abi’s and my life