Destination market deeping. As I drove the 50 miles plus, I went through Stamford to arrive at my destination. I love Stamford with its antique shops and curious other retail outlets. Of course with me writing this will indicate this was a one to one dog behaviour consultation I was going to perform with a dog called Alfie, a golden Labrador retriever!
I parked my van at the back of the property and looked through the gate to spot a golden Labrador barking and running towards me. That would be Alfie then! I could immediately tell that although there was a slight territory warning being given of in the way that Alphie was barking, the meet and greet would go smoothly. A quick sniff of me through the gate I entered the property via a extensive and glorious garden leading up to the rear of the house. I made my introductions to the owners and we started the consultation.
Just A Few Issues, Behaviours Then Alfie.!
The list of issues I was called into help with I have included in this blog. Do any of these ring any bells with yourself and your own dog? I couldn’t help but think of the film Marley and me. Below is the extract from the email correspondence with Alfie’s owners.
Some issues we would like to address:
He barks a lot the simplest of noises outside will get him barking and he wants to go outside to investigate.
He doesn’t like it when we are on the phone in the kitchen or watching TV. His response is everything from a whimper to a full on barking session.
If we leaving him downstairs in the kitchen in the evening, he will bark and paw (scratch) the kitchen door.
My wife wants to do ironing in the kitchen but has to feed Alfie a good size chew to allow her to do the ironing. Now when he sees the ironing board he knows it is chew time!
He eats his poos. We try to deal with this by clearing up in the garden as soon as he has performed, although this isn’t 100% effective.
He has growled ( blood curdling growls!) at us and made snapping actions when pulling him off eating one of his poos.
We like to integrate him into the whole house but we cannot take our eyes off him when he is allowed in the house. He chewed my daughters new shoes yesterday.
We let him on the sofa chairs in the sitting room but would prefer him to lie on the carpet. Until about 6 months ago he would growl at us if we tried to remove him from a sofa chair.
He eats stones but again have reinforced a bad habit by offering a treat from him to drop the stone.
He eats anythinig we buy for his basket. This includes basket mat, dog cushion, fluffy toy ducks, animals, tennis balls and basket itself!
He has a real hollow hard bone and a nylon dog bone that he chews.
He loves playing fetch with anything but doesn’t fully return and drop.
He does sit and he does down on command. ( also does other commands with an expectation of a food reward!)
He barks to go out, but often is only outside for a minute before wanting to get back in. ( He thumps on the back door)
He will walk along side off the lead, but is capable of shooting off if he is in a field of sugar beat or sees another dog. ( he does not respond to commands in these situations)
We would like to improve his “road manners”. we live in the town and fear if he got out of the house off the lead he would be vulnerable.
We would like to train him to fetch and return correctly. Mainly because he loves playing this game!
Easy To Spot The Key Points
Although this list above would look like it would take forever to work through! To a professional dog behaviourist like me I could quickly extract the key information hidden within the email to a lot of Alfie’s behaviours. Can you spot the key points?
Everyone Meant Something Different To The Dog
The family unit consisted of a few children and adults and it was interesting to establish what each one of them meant to Alfie in the way of separation anxiety and attention seeking behaviours. The results where some what a little bit of an eye opener. We had fun to establish this as I got the family to leave and re-enter the environment we were in. After addressing some more of the issues listed, it was time to go for a walk and help with the loose lead walking problems. Now if you don’t own a Labrador then take it from an expert, this breed is strong and usually wants to greet everyone if dog obedience training is left undiscovered!
Dog Walking Setup Changed
We made changes to the lead set up for Alfie to walk on and we set of for the walk round Market Deeping to see how the changes would alter Alfie’s behaviour. No more dragging to sniff at every thing with every step, no lunging towards other dogs, of course the big one no more pulling his owners. I would describe the walk as a marvellous loose lead walking demonstration. Alfie took to his new setup straight away and relaxed with every step.
We Had Fun With Some Gundog Training
On return to Alfie’s home environment we used the back lawn to conduct some basic gundog training. This incorporated me showing Alfie’s owners how to have fun around retrieving especially, blind retrieves. Alfie beautifully carried back the gundog dummy and with a little extra training started to bring them straight back to his handlers, instead of the usual not coming near episodes. Well done Alfie..! Something the owners wanted Alfie to do!
Alfie Loves Recycling The Bin Contents!
As we wrapped up the consultation it was mentioned about the bins. Alfie loved going through the waste bin to seek out food scraps etc. A little work by the owners and very soon Alfie should be corrected of this obsessive behaviour.
Need help with your dogs behaviour? Have a dog displaying behaviours like Alfie? Click the contact link at the top of the page to get help.
You will be able to read Alfie’s update soon in my testimonial page.
Why not try my fun and sociable dog walk held every Saturday! Read the blog on this fantastic, fun and sociable event on this site.