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Saving Reggie The Border Collie

If you follow my blog regularly you’ll have seen me talk about what I call fluffy bunny dog trainers with trick treat training techniques. Put an aggressive animal in the hands of these people and the results can be disastrous.

I first heard about Reggie at the beginning of February, by which time he had acquired quite a back story. A highly bred Border Collie from working stock, the first mistake was to think he would be a good domestic pet. The owners were living in fear of the dog and his increasingly erratic behaviour. With no purpose or structure, Reggie became aggressive and territorial, guarding the fridge, freezer and cooker as if they were his flock. The owners contacted a local trainer for advice on how to deal with this behaviour. Unfortunately, the dog trainer appears to have had no expertise in dealing with aggressive dogs but agreed to see him anyway.

When Reggie exhibited his aggressive behaviour as a result of the stress of being handled by wary and inexperienced trainers, their response was a disaster. A video taken of the event shows the petrified dog being forced into a crate with a long pole. An experienced dog behaviourist would understand that the last thing an aggressive dog needs is treatment that will heighten the animal’s anxiety. The inability of the trainer to deal with this situation is summarised by their response. They recommended that Reggie should be destroyed.

This is where I got involved. I talked to the owners and was shown the video footage, so I already had a good understanding of Reggie. I deal with aggressive dogs all the time; they are a challenge but with consistent training, huge progress can be made. In just a couple of months of working with me, Reggie is now a well behaved and balanced dog.

The near disaster here was that a perfectly healthy dog was on the brink of being destroyed because of an over ambitious, inexperienced trainer. Always research your dog trainer well. Can they handle their own dogs? If it says on their website that they keep their dogs on leads to control unwanted behaviours, that’s a huge warning sign to walk away. It’s not a game – these people should not accept the challenge of dealing with an aggressive dog – it’s your life they will be changing. The Dangerous Dogs Act can now lead to imprisonment if your dog is dangerously out of control, as well as your dog being destroyed. Don’t take that risk, only use as expert.