Case Study

Inter dog aggression and more!

Owner: Claire
Dog: Poppy
Breed: JRT
Location: Mudford

Poppy was a very bouncy but very loving 18-month JRT whose owners had done little early training and were struggling to control her on walks and integrate her with another elderly dog, Jasper, also a JRT.

Poppy spent her first year living away from home with one owner and coming back to Somerset only at weekends. A job change meant she moved full-time into the family home – much to Jasper’s disgust! The two scrapped over food and bickered over beds and toys, while walks became a nightmare: Poppy quickly discovered the joy of open fields with wildlife-filled hedges and turned deaf almost as soon as she was out of the door. But she was also very nervous of other dogs, running away or snapping, and was starting to show aggression towards visitors.

A few months on she is very much calmer. Once the owner got down to some proper training, Poppy proved to be a very quick and eager learner. But she is still very much a “work in progress” and not to be trusted off lead; despite enormous improvement in her recall, she would still give chase across three fields (counties?!) if allowed. The owners continue to work on recall, as well as maintaining the peace at home; Poppy is learning it is not her job to “guard”, and has successfully chewed her own bone without trying to steal Jasper’s. 


Paula taught me the difference between dog aggression and dog fear, and showed me how to respond calmly to Poppy’s anxiousness.

Paula’s encouragement was invaluable, as I’d lost all confidence. It’s so hard to see the little victories because dog behaviour can be so subtle; for example, Paula pointed out the fact that Poppy is “checking in” with me on walks, which I hadn’t noticed. Now I can see it as well, rather than just thinking she’s ignoring me completely.

I’ve found it hard to move at the dog’s pace – dog training books imply the stages of training are all of equal length, and without help I’d be rushing on to the next stage and losing patience and heart when it didn’t work.

I’ve learnt a lot from joining different “packs” of dogs and owners; it’s very comforting seeing other people’s dogs behaving badly! Seeing how other owners behave can show you a lot about your own faults.

Poppy’s behaviour is very much improved, even if I’m still working on being more interesting than a squirrel!

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