My name is Dena and my family and I own a crazy but gorgeous Staffy crossed with a Maltese, called Reggie. Reggie is now nearly seven and the transformation we have seen in his behaviour since attending The Canine Classroom is second to none.
Our story begins when we had just emigrated from the U.K. and had settled happily into our new life in Australia and decided now was the time to get the dog we so wanted. We all agreed that we would rescue a dog so after a few weeks of looking the picture of Reggie came up and we immediately fell in love, so off we went to see him. When we arrived at the shelter we were greeted by a 14 month old rambunctious overexcited adolescent who just couldn’t contain his excitement. While we were there one of the ladies told us that his previous owners didn’t want him anymore and had taken him to the vet to get the green needle, well immediately we were taken in by the sad story. She continued to tell us he was house trained, very friendly a bit excitable so just needs ‘a bit of training’. He was the right age and size for us and we loved the energy and character he exuded and agreed to have him.
Reggie settled in very well with the routine at home, everything there was good but from the word go we were struggling with taking him for walk’s. He would pull and drag us the whole way and burst into a run, we could see that he had no social skills and would lunge and bark at dogs when we walked past and jump and mouth anyone who attempted to say hello. Being our first dog it didn’t take us long to realise we were out of our depth with him. Over the next few months it got worse and worse, we had even had a few private lessons with one of the trainers who were connected to the shelter but it had no effect. As I was the main dog walker I had to deal every day with this behaviour, with some dogs he seemed quite aggressive and I started to really dread passing other dogs and my dream of having a dog was turning into a nightmare. As time went on I was getting more and more upset.
Our luck changed when we were walking around Lake Kawana one Saturday when we saw The Canine Classroom board outside the school, so off we went to investigate and had a lovely chat with Lisa who advised us to come along to a ‘First Timers’ session at Coolum on the Monday. Dave told us Reggie was dealing with anxiety resulting in his aggressive and stubborn behaviours as well as a lack of early socialisation and could probably see we had no idea what we were doing! He recommended we enrol Reggie for the fast track option which consisted of a week’s board and train along with ongoing classes to a Control standard. I don’t think we could have signed up quick enough!
When Reggie came home the improvement was amazing, he was calmer, would listen to commands, and the icing on the cake was no pulling on the lead, couldn’t believe it, in only a week! Now it was for us to catch up at the classes. Our journey with The Canine Classroom began in 2011 and since that day Reggie is now a very different dog. We have slowly come up through the levels to now have a dog that has great obedience. Dave and the other amazing trainers at The Canine Classroom have helped me learn how to manage his reactivity toward other dogs. I have become more confident and so has Reggie and I have come to love our walks again. He’ll always be a somewhat reactive dog but I can now correct him in the right way. When he looks at me for reassurance, he melts my heart because I know he trusts me.
Reggie has come so much further than any of us expected; he has now passed through advanced and all the people who knew me in the beginning when we first got Reggie have commented on what a different dog he is and have commended me on what I have achieved.
I can only take a small part of the credit because without Dave and his patient dedicated team I would not have the dog I have now and every time a new dog comes into class and Reggie is friendly with no reaction, just reinforces what we have learnt and that is why I shall keep coming to class.
When Reggie came home the improvement was amazing, he was calmer, would listen to commands, and the icing on the cake was no pulling on the lead, couldn’t believe it, in only a week!