BRONWEN – GERMAN SHEPHERD
BRONWEN’S female owner called me, clearly almost as a last resort with regard to her 6 month old
puppy’s aggression towards other dogs. She reported that she had been this way almost since day one. She had attended breed specific training classes where her disruptive behaviour led to them being banished to a corner of the room with the instruction to give her treats and keep her quiet.
A local clicker-trainer had given up on her, telling the owner she should return her to her breeder. Her owner clearly did not want to give up on her dog, but it appeared that she was slowly starting to think that she may have to.
I attended their home to assess Bronwen, a beautiful puppy who is totally friendly and balanced with human beings. Using one of my Rottweiler bitches as a stooge, I asked her owner to walk her in the lane outside whilst my bitch remained at the side of the lane.
Immediately Bronwen caught sight of my Rottweiler, her demeanour changed and she became a snapping, snarling, fixated, red-zone biting machine intent on dragging her owner across the road and I was bitten on the leg in the process.
Within five minutes after some firm, but non-harsh interruptions to this unacceptable behaviour, myself and Bronwens amazed owner were walking our dogs beside us up and down the lane with no aggression whatsoever. I then took both dogs and walked them together along the lane as if they were old friends.
I had identified that this aggression was fear-driven rather than dominant aggression. She was suspicious of every approaching dog and her owner had become more and more apprehensive, which fed itself down the lead – literally the classic vicious circle. Clearly, this wouldn’t be the end of the problem and there followed a number of sessions in public areas where dogs were always encountered. Over a period of a few weeks, slowly we increased Bronwen’s confidence (and her owner’s) and we were able to allow her to run free off the lead to play with other dogs she would meet.
This would not always be totally without the odd sign of aggression from Bronwen, but the overtly aggressive behaviour was diminishing by the day. Her obedience work was improving all the time and slowly we built up her respect for her owner. This is still a work in progress, but this dog is so much further on from the day a few short weeks before, when her previous trainer said she should be returned to her breeder. Here are her owners comments as we approach the end of her training with me.
“From a very early age (8 weeks) Bronwen was showing signs of nervous aggression towards other dogs. German Shepherd training classes proved futile as she was too intent on displaying this aggression rather than learning basic rules of obedience.
Similarly, one-to-one clicker training did not tackle the issue at hand, but instead encouraged her dominance, almost allowing her to show aggression without correcting it firmly. Having been told I was to send her back to the breeder as she was a ‘lost cause’ I searched for a trainer who was experienced in this field and found Peter.
Peter immediately replied to my request for help and reassured me that Bronwen’s behaviour was correctable. His initial assessment was thorough, professional and gave me huge confidence that
she would improve.
After just one hour she was walking happily alongside one of his own Rottweilers and after just four sessions I felt confident enough to let her off the lead in public, watching with pride as she played alongside other dogs. Having previously believed that she would never be able to socialise in this way I was thrilled, and still am, to know that this is possible and that it has been achieved so quickly.
Peter’s confidence and no-nonsense approach has worked wonders and the results are incredible. We now have the most wonderful dog who will provide us with years of pleasure. I would thoroughly recommend Peter to any dog owner who is either experiencing similar problems or simply wants to be able to relate to their four-legged friend on a closer level.” Sophie.