I will attempt to paint a picture of some of the experiences we have had with our orange mountain of a
dog ‘Kingston’ (Bullmastiff X Doberman – 5 years old), so that you can better understand the tremendous impact the training with ‘The K9 Centre’ has had
Since the day we brought him home as a little pup, he had always had a very exuberant and demanding personality. In the home environment he is an absolute darling. Gentle and affectionate, and with friends and family who he is familiar, is always a pleasure to deal with. When in foreign situations however, he has been known to be a handful to say the least.
When he was 6 months old, we took him to group obedience training through another organisation, and followed through with the beginners course. We were able to teach him simple commands such as ‘Sit’ – however as soon as he was let off leash, he would run away, or go and find something to bark at.
Compared to our previous Bullmastiff X, his energy levels were extreme. Trying to take him for a walk around the block became a chore, particularly because he would constantly be at the end of his leash choking to take front position. Also, being that he weighs more than my wife, it seemed almost impossible for her to walk him herself (after being barrelled over on more than one occasion).
He’s also not so much an escape artist, as a battering ram. Every now and then, there were times where he would burst past us at the gate and run for the hills. On several occasions he ran through neighbours houses with glee. He has never shown aggression towards people, though his size does make him appear menacing, and when he is fixated on something, his concentration seems very difficult to break.
At one stage we tried a dog trainer who we found on a flyer at a pet shop. This trainer’s techniques included ‘Taking him to Dog Parks’ , ‘Flower Essence’, ‘Massage Therapy’, ‘Harness Collars’, and allowing him to ‘Enjoy his own walk by sniffing and peeing on whatever he so desired’. Needless to say, these techniques didn’t have much positive impact on dear Kingston. In-fact, we left him in the care of this trainer for 2 weeks while overseas, and upon return, we never heard back. “Eeek! Perhaps she noticed how he tends to lunge at trucks and buses!” we thought.
Several months after this training, Kingston was declared dangerous by the Council after an incident that occurred between him and another dog at a Council dog park. We have been through a lot as a result, including making expensive modifications to 2 different houses as well as fines, special collars and other things.
For the past few years, I have been walking Kingston as often as possible, though it has not been easy. When he wanted to go on a tree, he would go.. and often I would need all of my strength to restrain him. If he saw a cat then crikey, I would really need to hold on tight, as he would not leave it alone (and in fact the next day, he would remember seeing it, and be looking everywhere in the same location). He would also still lunge at things if taken off guard, and would get very excited seeing other dogs along the way.
Recently I made contact with ‘The K9 Centre’. Even upon first discussions over the phone, our trainer struck me as sensible, knowledgeable and professional (and has since also proven to care about the results which has been demonstrated by great service including follow up calls etc). He told me that he was confident we could re-shape Kingston’s behaviour, though warned me that I would be wasting my time and money, if I was not prepared to put in just a little bit of effort each day. We agreed to these terms and commenced our first lesson that week. I can barely express how impressed we were. Under our trainer’s handling, Kingston was instantly a responsive and amazing (in our eyes) ‘Wonder Dog’. I could tell that he was obviously very experienced in dog handling, and that to acquire that level of skill myself would take some practice, though it was very encouraging in the first instance to see the immediate potential in our pooch.
From that day on, I have been working with Kingston daily, practicing the ‘Calm Pressure’ techniques that K9 has taught us. It has not required much effort from my part (In-fact with just 15 minutes of intense training, Kingston is more exhausted than from a 45 minute walk!!!). We truly have gone from strength-to-strength. Kingston now walks beside me and I can essentially hold his lead with my one finger as we walk (at the pace I set). We’re also getting to the stage where I can see that I will soon be able to control his behaviour by vocal commands alone. Every day he is getting more an more attentive and he is really willing to please. I can tell also that he is enjoying it so much. We had a real break through moment over the weekend, when my wife finally felt comfortable enough that she was able to handle him by herself (and did so with ease).
I could not recommend this training more highly. We honestly thought Kingston was a lost cause. We always adored him as our pet, though had basically resigned to the fact that his behaviour was set in stone. Who says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? With these techniques and guidance, our old dog has in such a short amount of time, undergone an incredible transformation!
Thank you to ‘The K9 Centre’ for helping us to achieve what we thought was impossible.
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