companion animal behavioural services
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Dylan (the dog)

I named my buiness after my first dog Dylan who I rescued at 2 months old - and even at that young age he already had many problems. Although his life was short his great personality and wonderful nature left a lasting effect on me.

My first dog as an adult was a 2 month old black whippet X called Dylan to whom I give my business name. Dylan was a very misunderstood young lad who despite a very good history of socialisation had learnt through sheer cleverness, to be aggressive in order to get his own way. At times he was quite convincing and would stand on the sofa and show a full set of teeth and gums, a full spectrum of growls and lunges, in order to prevent being taken off. He would perform these behaviours whenever you approached him when he had a chew/bone/food/other household item or if you wanted him to do something he didn’t want to. He had learnt that his behaviour worked initially, but had had to step up the anti each time when he felt he was being challenged, and so each display had become more and more convincing. When I got him he was 2 months old and his future was not looking bright.

I tackled this problem by firstly teaching him some canine manners in a positive way that he as a dog would understand. I then worked out a behavioural modification programme for him, and stuck to it. He was allowed no privileges and was never challenged or punished for his behaviour. Within two months he had completely stopped this behaviour and never repeated it again. He was a delightful dog that seemed to have a special healing ability. Many dogs that had problems around other dogs were completely fine with Dylan as aside from anything else; he was exceptionally good at reading other dogs’ body language.

Dylan was a perfect working companion and assisted me with many of my home visits. At the time I had Dylan I was working at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People as a Placement Officer. It was my responsibility to help my deaf recipients to work with their new Hearing companion and to train the dog to work in the home. From then on we as placement officers visited on a yearly basis though every few months initially to check that there were no problems, at times visits were made to dogs which had developed a behavioural problem in the home also. Dylan helped often with recall problems, heel work, and help to relax some clients about dog ownership in general.

Sadly at the age of only 10 months he was run over and killed whilst I was on holiday. To this day I miss him dearly and always will. I understand the effects that losing your much-loved friend can have on your life. Many people often play down human bereavement over an animal and people are often told to get on with their life and get things into priority, "as it is not as bad as losing a human". My grief for Dylan was real in every way, and took along time to come to terms with.