We have a one year old Black Labrador called Rigby who has been with us since he was 15 weeks old. We have a busy family life with 3 small children and always wanted to have a dog to complete our family. Things started off well in March 2014, but gradually Rigby started to dominate our house. He has always been a friendly pup and just wants to play most of the time with our 3 young boys. Occasionally, at meal times he would become protective of his food and bark at us if he thought we’d take anything away from him. Then, just before Christmas he bit our neighbour, not badly, but enough for us to act quickly. Rigby was sent away to a behaviourist for 6 weeks to assess if he was a danger to us or anyone else. The idea was that he was to be rehomed. We were devastated.
Thankfully, the behaviourist thought he was safe to be in a family environment but he needed a lot of work and more mental stimulation, and classed him more of a ‘working dog’ than a ‘domestic pet’. The behaviourist recommended us taking Rigby back for a month to see how he reacts to being back in our family again, however, with it, came some strict instructions. He must be trained twice a week with a trainer and kennelled outside and not to be left with children. This is where Frank comes into the story. I googled Gun Dog trainers in our area and found Frank. I rang Frank and he was extremely helpful over the phone and invited us to his house to meet him and talk us through how he trains dogs. At this stage we still hadn’t had Rigby back, so we drove an hour away to meet him. Frank is a friendly man who made us feel comfortable and more importantly he never once blamed us for letting things get out of control. It’s a problem he is all too familiar with and a problem we knew he could fix. He is hugely experienced and knowledgeable who is straight to the point, no-nonsense and his military background shines through to his training techniques.
So, we booked in 3 sessions a week with Frank, and with the extra hours we put in at home (which has been hours and hours) we were absolutely determined to fix Rigby’s bad habits and teach him the methods and techniques that Frank has taught us – WITHOUT TREATS, but lots of praise. Rigby is now well on his way to being the well behaved dog that we always wanted. He sits, walks without pulling, lays down on command, recalls and all to simple, straight forward commands. Without Frank, we’d still be at the bog-standard dog training lessons, and probably nowhere near where we are now. It has been Frank’s hard work, our determination and a dog that wanted so much more, that we are a happier family with a great dog.
Tomorrow is our big day… Rigby and I are being assessed by the behaviourist to see whether we can have him back permanently. Frank is confident that we’ll ‘pass’ and do you know what? I am too.
Thanks Frank, you really have turned things round for us, in such a short space of time (4 weeks). We will continue seeing you, to bring out the best in Rigby, and hopefully next year, he’ll be out picking up.
UPDATE: THURS 26TH FEB 2015 – We passed the assessment with flying colours. Yippee we get to keep Rigby. Thanks Frank for all your help and encouragement.
By Mr & Mrs S Knight, Essex