Like many others, after having a pretty awful experience with the one and only Peter Hargreaves of Dog Harmony (https://www.dogharmony.co.uk), Hectors owners contacted us to get help with his reactivity to just about everything.
Hector’s owner paid for a two week residential training with Peter Hargreaves and this is a summary of her experience. When he turned up to collect Hector he kneed him, didn’t ask any further questions about him, just chucked him in the van and off he went.
One week later he returns Hector saying there’s no issue with the dog, but upon questioning hasn’t actually put Hector in scenarios where he would be reactive. No photos, no videos. When Hector returned he was a shell of himself and withdrawn, terrified of water, and hyperventilating at loud noises.
His only instruction was that Hector’s owner walked him for 10 minutes a day for 10 days, with no sniffing or toileting allowed. This would apparently make him sleepy all day and improve the reactivity. Obviously there’s been zero improvement made.
When Hector arrived we put him through his paces and assessed his response to multiple dogs, problem breeds, people, on and off leash, and settings. Only after identifying the root emotional cause of problem behaviours can you begin to best address them.
The biggest issue was Hector’s response to dogs when off leash. He isn’t the most confident dog in the world, but is socialised with other dogs as his owner is a dog walker. So when he would see a dog he’d be drawn to greet them, but would then peel his face back and signal that he wasn’t to be messed with to them.
Hector was neutered too young and this can have a considerable impact on the way other male dogs in particular perceive them. A few negative interactions when greeting other intact males later and it’s easy to develop a defensive mindset going in to future greetings.
Throughout the session we went through control and handling, counter conditioning, correct use of markers and rewards, and play and relationship building. We had Hector around other people and dogs both on and off leash, fully engaged with his owner, absolutely no issues whatsoever.
This was a very straightforward case of a learnt response, amplified by a lack of communication and understanding, compounded by a nonsense dog trainer who couldn’t train a budgie to crap in a cage.
Remember to pick your dog trainers wisely guys! Just because somebody has a website and knows how to use social media, it doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. Especially if his name is Peter Hargreaves.
Good work guys! And remember, having a dog is about companionship, so enjoy it!