It's no exaggeration to say that Wendy has completely changed our lives in helping us to train our "wayward" Heywood! We didn't really understand the frowns when we introduced her at puppy class as a Border Collie/Jack Russell cross, but soon began to realise why, as the challenge increased.
Heywood is a lovely little girl but has been described more than once as being like a wild fox when we first took her along to the classes at about 4 months old, but thank goodness we did. I hate to think what she'd be like now at 14 months if we hadn't. Fortunately she has a lovely nature and took immediately to the socialisation classes, although the "go play" was by far her favourite part of the session! Still, we made good progress and she's great with other dogs, playing as hard as they'll let her but submitting immediately if we meet an unfriendly dog, obviously deprived of these valuable early lessons.
The biggest problem we had, which is common with many dog owners, was with the dreaded "recall". Off the lead walks at the beautiful St. Anne's Hill in Chertsey was no problem at all... until it came time to go home. Would she come back to my husband, who took her out for her daily walks over the winter months? NO, she most definitely would not! He used to spend an hour at a time waiting for her to come back in the freezing cold as she intermittently returned to make sure he was still there and then sped off again before he could catch her. More than once she appeared on the end of someone else's lead, who had managed to catch her, having seen her racing round them a couple of times having great fun on her own!
We were truly devastated that what had previously been an absolute joy had become a nightmare. An extending lead was purchased and it seemed we'd be confined to this restrictive exercise for ever more. My husband lost all enthusiasm for the walks, and although Heywood didn't misbehave in the same way with me, we discussed it with Wendy and booked a one-to-one session for just her, my husband and the naughty pup.
What a brilliant idea that was!! Having watched how Mike recalled Heywood, Wendy recommended a simple "Heywood here" combined with pointing at his feet. He was pretty confident he'd cracked it in just the one session when he returned home, so it was with great excitement that we went out together next day to try it out. It was Heywood's first time off the lead for a while so we were a bit nervous, but all went well and it was then building up to the all-important, time to go home. Would it work out in the real world as well as it did in the training field??? Oh Yes!!! First time of calling when she was over the other side of the field - she stopped what she was doing, came over and sat at our feet!!! Thought it might have just been beginners luck so I tried it myself next day and it worked immediately, and from then on it really has worked like a charm. Guess she just picked up that simple command and now knows that's what's expected of her at the end of the walk, so our stress-free walks are back!!! Can't wait to take her out now, come rain or shine.
This ended up a longer story than intended but just wanted to let everyone know how fantastic it is to have a dog able to understand what we want her to do. Everyone says dogs want to please, they just need to know what you want, and that's certainly been the case with us.
Can't thank Wendy enough for her brilliant weekly training sessions at Company of Animals, and this personal session was the best thing we've done with our new little rascal - it really was the icing on the cake!
Don't hesitate, book a session, it could change your lives too!!
Julie - Heywood