Billy a 3 year old Golden Retriever had become food and toy possessive in recent months.

When this was added to his boisterous, noisy behaviour in the home his owners found him difficult to live with.

The turning point came when he bit the owners gran when she tried to take an item from him. Billy was very possessive over his food and toys, with the owners unable to take them from him without much growling, intimidation and at least one other biting incident. He was difficult to walk, being a strong puller.

On attending their home, I carried out my assessment in the usual way and Billy failed to live down to his owners expectations! In the presence of a calm, assertive trainer who paid him no attention, he was placid and calm and he lay down in the lounge as if I wasn’t there.

Among other things discussed were Billy’s diet, which consisted of complete food, dog treats and left-overs from the family table. The owners are intent on replacing this with a more natural food without additives which should help with his excitable nature.

On discussing his general well-being, it came to light that Billy had an eye problem which could be a cause of frustration and irritability and his owners were encouraged to seek immediate veterinary
attention for that.

A proven interruption method to prevent excessive barking was demonstrated and virtual silence followed with Billy’s owner hammering on the front door in a vain attempt to provoke noise from him!

His owners were shown that many of Billy’s issues were as a result of a lack of consistency in the way they both dealt with him and appropriate control methods were demonstrated and practiced. A disciplined
exit and entry method from the house was also demonstrated together with heel work, which both owners carried out. The usual mad dash from the front door was replaced by a calm, measured exit and re-entry.

Subsequent sessions enabled the owners to approach Billy whilst he was eating and to remove his food without aggression or growling. Similarly, fun outdoor play with a ball on a rope put a stop to his toy possessiveness virtually immediately. Gran was also involved and advice was given to her on how to deal with Billy’s attempts at dominance should they re-arise. Despite previously badly bitten, Gran had lost none of her confidence, as can be seen by this photo!

“We couldn’t believe the difference in Billy in just one visit. I thought he would bark and show aggression at Peter, but he was calm and quiet. When we came to take him out for a walk, he was far more calm than normal. It was a very encouraging start. Since then, he has been a lot calmer and is really chilled out at home. He is much better when taken for walks and his barking when he hears someone at the door has drastically reduced. On the second session Peter showed how to approach Billy in an assertive manner whilst he was eating or playing with a toy and we were able to take items from him without fear on our part or aggression on his.”Yvonne and Kev.