Alfie the English Springer Spaniel

Alfie the English Springer Spaniel

We got Alfie, an English Springer Spaniel, when he was 16 weeks old, he was the nervous puppy in the corner so we thought we would adopt him in case no one else did. He was an absolutely gorgeous puppy with a bouncy friendly nature. We went to puppy socialisation classes, training classes, read all the books and more, spent hours on training and thought we were doing everything right. We wanted to train him well and eventually take part in something like agility. We used treats for training all the time as we had been advised and to some things he responded well, he went happily to his crate, could sit, stay, come, wait but was quite pully on the lead which when he was a puppy wasn't too much of a problem as he wasn't strong like he is now at 2.5. As he got older he got stronger and walks became more difficult, he pulled, lunged and it became quite a battle, no fun for us or him. We were constantly buying new leads or the latest harness that claimed to help with pulling, none of which worked.

We could let him off the lead but again, as he got older, he started to run further away from us and although he wasn't running away he was madly running through the woods without any thought. He cut himself on barbed wire one time. He would also take off to play with other dogs or chase birds.  It was difficult to get him to abandon the mad play and come back to us. 

We realised that somewhere we had gone completely wrong despite the time, energy and money we had put into training him, Alfie was hyper, only did what he wanted when he wanted and was a danger to himself and others with his mad charging around when out.  

We started to think we needed some professional help as we didn't want to go back to a standard training group, it obviously had not worked for us. We came across Sally's website and read the reviews which were very positive. Due to the Covid situation Sally was doing her sessions via Zoom so we rang her and set up a time for a 2 hour Zoom session. Right from the start of the session you could sense the calmness from Sally, this came through her voice and Alfie went into his cage and went to sleep for the first part. She explained her techniques and taught us via the Zoom call how to put them into practice whilst observing us and Alfie. He immediately responded to the techniques and the improvement was very noticable. We are looking forward to putting all we have learnt into practice and with follow up with Sally are confident her techniques will ensure our life with Alfie will be calm and more enjoyable for him and us.   

Many thanks Sally


Alfie in his new calm submissive state
Alfie is his new calm submissive state.

Update 7 weeks after our first Zoom with Sally

We have been working very hard with Alfie to put into practice the things Sally has been teaching us.  Some things are falling into place quickly and easily and other areas things will take longer but we are committed to doing it the right way.  His fussy eating has completely stopped, we have changed his pattern and food and now there is no hesitation in eating his dinner in one go.  Previously we were having to tempt him to eat his food, now he sits quietly while we prepare it and when told eats the lot.  He no longer charges out of his cage which he used to previously.  He lies down, we put his lead on and he waits for us to calmly lead him out.  His lead work improves by the day.  We are putting a lot of time into this as he would pull and lunge and taking him out was very difficult.  Seven weeks since starting with Sally we can walk him without the desperate pulling and lunging.  He stops when we stop and doesn't move until we start walking.  He sits at every road and waits for us to move.  There is a slight tension to his lead, he is walking faster than us which we are still working on and we are not yet at the point when we can walk him on a long walk or by dogs/people, but all in good time.  Nothing can be rushed.  He would still change to high energy if there were distractions but it is early days.  He is trying very hard and we are confident we will get there and Alfie will be a much calmer dog.  Sally is always available to give advice and we do ask her for it.

Karen & Paul