A rescue centre recently asked me to assess a boisterous terrier that was proving impossible to rehome.

He’d lasted less than a day with his previous family and staff were concerned he’d spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Billy came with a bad reputation for disruptive behaviour, dragging his handler and lunging at everything in his path, whining and barking incessantly and jumping all over the furniture.

At 12 months old Billy already had an ASBO and seemed doomed to a very bleak future.

I listened carefully to his catalogue of shame then took him for a short walk.

Billy told me a very different story.

He longed to please but had no idea what was expected.

Swamped with affection but deprived of education, Billy was doing the best he could in a world he didn’t understand.

How was he supposed to know how to walk if he’d been encouraged to charge around the park? Billy didn’t even know where ‘heel’ was.

No wonder he lunged at visitors – he’d been fussed for doing exactly that. As far as Billy knew that’s what people wanted.

It took less then an hour to show Billy where to walk, how to meet and greet and when to sit and be quiet. We’re going to work with him over the coming weeks confident he will now find a good home but his life came very close to ruin.

With the very best of intentions owners often show ‘love’ for their dogs by treating them as babies but dogs mature quickly and that cute eight-week old ball of fur will be a fully-grown adult in 12 months.

Having an out of control adult dog jumping up at you or dragging you down the street on a walk is no fun at all.

Unruly dogs can cause all kinds of friction in families. Your time is much better spent teaching your dog some basic rules and boundaries.

He will feel more secure and you will be less stressed.

If you need help join one of my classes on line at vicbarlow.com or text me on 07590 560012 for details.

By The Dogfather