We rescued Toby a four year old doberman from a local re-homing centre a few months after the death of our much loved dog Oscar, also a doberman after ten and a half years.
It quickly became clear that Toby was going to be a challenge, and certainly wasn’t the dog that had been described to us at the rescue centre...he pulled like a train and absolutely hated other dogs, to the point that he sunk his teeth into my partner Paul's thigh trying to grab a dog that was walking past us on our first walk.
We were shattered, we desperately wanted to give Toby the life he deserved as he was everything we wanted,very loving, fantastic in the house and with people...just terrible when he was out for a walk. We knew we needed some professional help as this was way out of our area of expertise, so Paul contacted Yorkshire Dog Training who advised us to bring Toby for an assessment.
We went with the thought in our minds that if they couldn’t help that we wouldn’t be able to keep Toby, it was such a huge responsibility to own a dog that was aggressive towards other dogs, how and where to walk him and how to take him to the vet were questions we just couldn’t answer.
We need not have worried, after a thorough assessment of Toby's behaviour towards us and other dogs Craig recommended
that he have a weeks residential training and then some one to one training sessions with us to enable us to learn how to control Toby properly and make him understand what we wanted from him.
He came home after that first week very much improved, and although advised not to walk him around too many dogs until we'd been for our first one to one session he'd walk to heel, sit, stay and wait in the garden with no problems.
We were heartened when, during his weeks stay YDTC sent us emails and photographs of his progress, one of them of Toby sat a few feet apart from another dog... we couldn’t believe our eyes!.
During our one to one sessions, Craig took time to explain to us why the way we behaved when we approached other dogs with Toby could impact on his behaviour, even the way we spoke to him and held his lead could contribute to the way he was feeling, in short we were anxious and therefore so was he..so we were taught how to handle the situation, ultimately helping us to feel confident enough to handle Toby.
Over the next few sessions, Craig and Hazel with the help of their dogs walked up and down, round and round and round again
with us and Toby to get him, and us, used to being around them without him snapping or lunging at them as he'd done in the past.
In our last session he walked with me off his lead, to heel past another dog....I would never have believed he would be able to do this
and I am absolutely certain that without Craig and Hazel's patience and understanding of our complex and misunderstood dog that
we wouldn’t have him and the happiness he brings us now, their knowledge and dedication to their profession is an absolute credit
to them and we are so grateful.