I just want to say how thankful I am that we met. You have changed mine and my dogs (Buddy) life.
I had 2 years of almost crying myself to sleep every night as I couldn't give my dog the life he deserved.
To recap, Buddy was the friendliest dog ever and loved to say hello and play with all the dogs he met We used to be up Warley woods every day. Then, at 18 months old... he started to jump on dogs and pin them down. I had no idea how to handle this and ended up paying out quite a bit to various 'dog trainers' !!?!?! They happily took my money but none of them helped Buddy at all. All of this amounted to me keeping Buddy away from other dogs for almost 2 years and having the most stressful walks ever
THEN WE MET YOU
I was amazed that you were not phased by Buddy's behaviour even when he jumped on Echo as soon as they met. I clearly remember you telling me that Buddy's problem was fixable, I could have cried there and then. You advised a muzzle and weekend walks in the pack.
My heart lifted immediately, and we walked every weekend. It was wonderful for me to see Buddy with other dogs, and despite getting into trouble (quite) a few times, his behaviour began to lessen in it's intensity each week.
One of the greatest things I learned (from talking with you) was the reasons for why Buddy was acting like he was. I now understand that what he does is perfectly acceptable within the canine world. Unfortunately because I had handled the situation so wrong in the beginning, his behaviour had escalated far beyond what is acceptable (he became unbalanced)
I watched Buddy closely and I started to understand him more and more. I learned about his triggers, and his body language etc. Walking with you has allowed Buddy to be
re-balanced by a calm leader and a pack of dogs. What better way for a dog to learn.
Buddy was upholding his side of the bargain, and now I needed to step up to the mark.
Most of what Buddy was learning from the pack was being undermined by me.
Walking with the pack, as well as being great fun, gave me the confidence to trust myself and Buddy. I've had a few hair raising experiences (usually brought on by me being nervous) but we have gone from strength to strength, and we now go to many parks and Buddy meets many dogs. He doesn't wear a muzzle now... because he doesn't need one.
Thank you so much Gabriel...you have helped my boy to grow into the beautiful balanced dog that I always knew he was.
Jackie and Buddy (of course)
Having my golden retriever Lillie from a pup and not previously trained a dog myself, I was very much influenced by her puppy eyes and cries when it came to discipline and training.
Living in the countryside in Ireland we were very much on our own, she didn't get much socialising with other dogs. I gave Lillie the run of the house and surrounding field. I very much gave into her whimpers, barking and moans thinking she needed comfort and attention.
Returning to the UK and walking around the estates on lead we both had to adjust.
Lillie would lunge at other dogs and bark and on occasions growl. I became quite embarrassed about it and dreaded the approach of owners walking their dogs. I felt she was quite aggressive. I didn’t know what to do I blamed Lillie.
This is where Gabriel and Echo came to our rescue. Lillie was proved to be a very submissive dog, needing a leader of the pack to follow. It seems she was communicating, wanting to socialise and as I was nervous, pulled on the lead triggering Lillie to defend me due to my lack of confidence and guidance. She needed leadership.
Although I disciplined Lillie, I was unaware of the boundaries she needed in regards to leadership, and also she required balance and calm. As Gabriel says... ‘relax’!
Since joining the pack walks, both Lillie and I have learnt a lot. I have seen dog behaviour between confident and timid dogs, and how they meet and greet and respond to each other. When Lillie is unsure she gets out of the way, I would have panicked before when a more dominant, boisterous dog would approach, making the situation more energised.
Dogs deal with the 'now' ...not like humans... who will carry past experiences that influence our behaviour and fears. Now, I will correct the other dogs, and have recently used my knowledge and confidence with other uncertain dog walkers who have the same human approach in a similar situation.
Now it’s a pleasure to walk Lillie, and as many of you who have met her know, she is definitely not aggressive, and will regularly waddle up to individuals for a quiet moment of cuddles!
Thanks Gabriel and Echo
Jane and Lillie x
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