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Alfie and Woody


My husband and I took on two rescue Lurchers in June 2008. We had owned a rescue dog before and wanted to take on more. Our new dogs were brilliant with people but their behaviour with other dogs was awful and with two of them, there was little we could do if they did want to run and bark.

Our first Lurcher was Alfie. Alfie had been a stray, and had been taken to the rescue charity where we found him. He had self-confidence issues that made him bark and run at other dogs on his lead. He also had no recall when we first got him - something he has infinitely improved upon now. He had run away several times and had been missing for 6 hours at a time.

Our other Lurcher was found tied to a gate after the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria. Malnourished and with an appalling coat, we took him because we felt we could make a real difference to his behaviour and well-being. He had major frustration issues, lacked all self-confidence and used to scream (and I mean scream!) and jump 5ft in the air when another dog was in sight.

We started consultations with Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in March 2009. We had lost our way with their training and were not progressing further. Since March, both dogs have been whistle-trained, clicker-trained and have been socialised really well. They have stopped the running and barking on their leads, and now meet and greet other dogs in a stress-free way for both them and us! Although they do like a good run together, their recall is now massively improved (a little more time and I think we'll have it!) and they are fast becoming normal, laid-back, confident dogs. This is not only incredibly rewarding for us to see, but has improved their welfare enormously.

The care and help we have received from Sarah Heath and Ali Scott has been fantastic. We give a monthly update on the boy's progress via email (the easiest way for us), and we get really useful advice and ideas for new games and training techniques back. We can then formulate a plan for the near future with goals to achieve. If necessary we can request further sessions with Ali or Sarah, depending on how we are doing.