Four years ago yesterday, our friend Ned came to live with us, following the loss of our cat. Ned’s owner at the time loved Ned dearly, however had just moved to an unsuitable house and was gone all day to work in Brisbane – not the best environment for a smart and outgoing 11-month-old working pup.
I fell in love with Ned at first sight – I have always been a “dog person” – and figured that training him would be a breeze. After all, I had grown up breeding, showing, and training mini Dachshunds. This surely wouldn’t be that much different, right? How wrong I was.
Ned had energy to burn from the get-go and constantly needed stimulation. When we went for walks, he was all over the place – dragging me from pillar to post (sometimes literally), and absolutely “losing it” at any other dog who came near us. Needless to say, his first eleven months hadn’t involved a great deal of socialization: he just didn’t know what to do….and neither did I! A few awful encounters at the dog beach only helped cement Ned’s anxiety about other dogs.
After nearly a year of struggling to help Ned learn how to do the right things, we enlisted the help of Dave and the crew at The Canine Classroom, and we have never looked back. I remember the first thing Dave said to me was, “I see you love the dog….but you love the dog too much!” That one phrase gave me so much to reflect on and really changed my perspective. Dave ensured me that Ned wasn’t a lost cause and reckoned he could pass us through the Control level of the program. I needed to be more assertive, though – I had let this (admittedly gorgeous) dog rule the roost for far too long!
Our first day of training, Ned and I showed up with Ned so anxious he was ready to rip every other dog’s face off – quite literally. I just wanted to go home, however Dave took Ned’s lead and settled him down quickly and firmly. I was amazed, and Ned has loved Dave ever since; I think because he was the first human who had actually made him stop and think (I have discovered that working dogs are REALLY good at thinking.)
It took us a while for Ned to move on from his orange lead “anxious dog” days, but we are proud to report that Ned has passed through Basic, Intermediate and Control, and has come so far that we are having a go at Advanced. Ned is a different dog these days! Like his mate from class Reggie, he will always be a bit reactive (particularly with certain breeds), but now he knows what to do, and he trusts that I know what to do if we are in a situation where he feels out of his depth. He now has a few neighbourhood doggy acquaintances who he can play with for a little while, he walks nicely on lead and follows commands beautifully, and his recall has improved out of sight – provided there are no seagulls around!
The Canine Classroom has turned our relationship with our beautiful dog from one of anxiety (on both sides) and stress, into one of absolute joy. The Canine Classroom doesn’t only make “bad dogs good and good dogs great”, it also makes owners into people who truly understand their dogs; and equips them with the skills to really bring out the best in their four-legged friends. For me this is their biggest point of difference as trainers, in addition to their direct but compassionate approach to the various issues Ned (and I) have faced over the course of our training. We honestly can’t thank Dave, Maggie (Ned’s great love), Bec, Ryan, Lisa and all of The Canine Classroom’s great team for taking a chance on Ned and me, and transforming our lives for the better. Thanks guys! From Ned and Kate
The Canine Classroom has turned our relationship with our beautiful dog from one of anxiety (on both sides) and stress, into one of absolute joy.