Case Study

Frustrated greeter

Owner: Abigail
Dog: Bella
Breed: JRT
Location: Merriott

Bella was known locally as 'The demon dog' and walking her had become something that Abigail dreaded every day. The abuse she received from fellow villagers was really upsetting as she knew that Bella could mix happily with dogs she knew but launched into a manic barking and lunging fit at the sight of any dog she did not know well. Bella was also completely hyper active once out on a walk and would play at full tilt with her buddies once allowed off lead but had to be monitored carefully as she would run off to any strange dog and harass it if given the opportunity, she hadn't bitten another dog properly but she did do a little bump and nip and was particularly aroused by small dogs.

It has been a hard year for Abigail since she began rehabilitating Bella and she has often despaired of making progress but in every other way she is a delightful dog and Abigail was determined to help her be as good as she could. Abigail had to go on a business trip for 4 days and her husband was not happy at being left in charge of the 'Demon dog' and he was going to be out at work all day so she would have been home alone for too long. I happily agreed to have her stay with me as I was sure that with the influence of my dogs and some intensive training we could really crack the last remnants of her bad behaviour.

Abigail turned up to collect her after her trip and could not believe her eyes. Her hyper active dog who only a few days ago could not have been off lead near my small Chihuahua cross and indeed not off lead without tearing around like a thing possessed was pottering about the grounds of my pub with all of my dogs, thoroughly chilled out. She still maintains I must have used drugs or witchcraft! Abigail had always wanted a companion for Bella and we had both thought it would help her but now we were convinced. Soon after a 5 month old Beagle cross, Sam, was chosen from a rescue centre and after many meets and greets he came home. The very next day though there was trouble as the 2 dogs were playing constantly and Abigails husband was convinced it was never going to end and it was bad for Bella. Abigail had to agree that it was just too much and the rescue centre was asked to take Sam back. They couldn't do this for a few days so Abigail contacted me and asked me to assess the situation. I had already advised her to give them 48 hours to settle and not to be hasty but said I would need to see the dogs together to make a full assessment.

My assessment was 'He's gorgeous!' He really was a sweetie and they were having so much fun, there was not one ounce of aggression in their play and with some management and time outs they soon began to settle. My advice was 'keep him' and give them another 24 hours with some rules in place about over exuberant play. The next day I recieved a text to say all was calm in the household and he was staying, yippee! Bella is still a work in progress as regards strange dogs when she's on lead but Abigail is a confident handler with perfect timing and judgment and is delighted that she can now sit in cafes and pubs knowing that she can control her dog, something she had never dared to do. And Sam? Well, he's known as Perfect Pete and has not put a paw wrong. He is one lucky boy to have found such wonderful owners!


Testimonial: I would like to thank Paula for all of the support you have shown Bella and I. I can honestly say, if we hadn't come to see you, well, I don't want to say....I really do appreciate how you have helped us and shown me what a wonderful dog she is. Thank you.
Main Image: i phone 4 jan 011.JPG
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