FLOYD, LABRADOR, 5yrs
When we first got Floyd as a rescue dog, he was a very timid chap. After a few days he wouldn’t leave my side. Very touching at first but something was obviously not quite right. He would sit at my feet everywhere I went, to the point of me tripping over him on many ocassions. Leaving him in the house on his own was out of the question. For the first few months he never made a noise. Not a single bark. But then he started barking at absoloutely everything. That’s where Sara came in.
On her first visit she suggested we gave Floyd “his place”. A folded towel in front of the TV – two yards or so from my feet. It took a few days, but he soon realised that it was alright to be that far away from me. Nothing bad was going to happen to him.
As far as leaving him is concerned this has progressed well. We worked up to a couple of hours relatively quickly, and on our return he is slowly getting better at not going completely bonkers, (technical term). As Sara said, ignore him until he calms down, then make a fuss. The barking has also decreased dramatically. He still barks a couple of times when someone comes to the front door, but that’s a huge improvement.
He is also thoroughly enjoying the weekly agility classes up at the farm. He comes home tired and has a couple of hours sleep. All in all, the improvement in his behaviour, and more importantly his happiness, is fantastic.
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Sara to anyone with dog behaviour issues. But in truth, I think we’ve learned more than Floyd has. As she said, it’s about being able to see things from the dog’s point of view.
Thanks again Sara,
Dave and Angie, (& Floyd), Watts.
BELLA, BORDER COLLIE, 18mos
We were new to owning a dog and had no idea of how to go about training Bella to be obedient, keep her busy, and help her be a happy dog. Sara gave us advice and guidance and devised a plan for us to follow when different situations arose. This was really useful, as we quite often forgot what we were supposed to do!
She did several one-to-one sessions to build our confidence to let Bella off the lead, and make us realise that Bella will come back to us and took much anxiety out of this situation. She also brought her own dog along, Chalkie, so Bella got used to walking with other dogs.
We cannot thank Sara enough for advice and training she gave us, we now have a happy dog; who is kept busy, is a pleasure to be with and is obedient (most of the time). Sara, with her advice and guidance made this a much easier process.
Derek and Linda
POPPY, SPROCKER SPANIEL 21mos
Poppy started her training with Sara in puppy classes at 14 weeks old. The classes have been so valuable with all the tips. As I never had a puppy before, the thought of letting Pops off her lead on walks was frightening until Sara said we would do an off lead walk together.
Now walking with Pops is no longer stressful as she stays beside me and she comes back by way of whistle or just calling (speed of this sometimes varies if birds are nearby!).
Now Poppy does a weekly social agility and obedience class which she loves as she is so full of energy.
I would definitely recommend attending Sara's classes to anybody who is looking to get a puppy or even an older dog.
Alison and Poppy
CHESTER, GERMAN SHEPERD, 18mos
It was becoming impossible for me to walk Chester because of the pulling and the continual chasing after other dogs, never being able to get him to come back. I had almost stopped taking him out on my own as he was just too strong and undisciplined for me to handle.
On more than one occasion he pulled me over and one time through a hedge. The biggest real fear I faced, was if another dog was on the other side of the road, that he would pull me and him under an on-coming car. At the same time as this we had to take him to the vets, Chester was in pain and decided that he would not be touched or handled in any way by the vet. Around this time I had been recommended Sara.
Right from the outset Sara set boundaries for Chester. She observed how he rushed to meet visitors far too enthusiastically. Within a short space of time she had him in a relaxed position so that we could talk.
Sara devised a plan which revolved around suitable, nutritious treats to facilitate and enhance his obedience. I can honestly recount that within two weeks of Sara working with Chester we had a different, yet the same dog in our home. He was calmer, reacted to commands, seemed happier and more in control of his own behaviour. He really is happier—he knows the boundaries. In a short space of time I have regained my confidence in walking Chester on lead, his pulling is reduced to a minimum, I no longer fear that he will drag me into the road or to a pushchair, elderly persons or for that matter another dog. Sara has accompanied us to the vets with Chester and has devised a long term strategy to aid him to overcome his fear, this is a work in progress but having good results.
She has provided us with concise and knowledgeable advice on diet, grooming and health which has resulted in Chester looking altogether more handsome than he was.
In nine weeks our dog has stopped digging, stopped trying to escape out the back gate, walks to heel, ignores guests until invited to say hello and has stopped jumping up at people. He also now respects household items and has stopped all chewing. Sara tailors her training plan to suit your dog and your family or individual circumstances. She provides complete technical and practical advice.
Overall, Sara has provided me and my family with the tools to use, training Chester with maximum effect. We now have a well balanced young German Shepherd who has manners, understands what is expected of him, enjoys his walks and has stopped trying to dominate situations. He also attends weekly agility for fun classes provided by Sara, which gives him a further outlet for his physical energy, enhances his dog socialisation and stimulates his mental reasoning.
I cannot praise her highly enough.
Thank you Sara
Sue, Peter, Robyn and Mark Harries
BARNEY, LABRADOR, 6mos
A day with Barney before Sara 6am - Wake up-a chunk of wall missing, Barney jumping up to greet me eyeball to eyeball.
7am - Barney came in from the garden, trailed mud through the house chewing a snail.
8am - Out walking, Barney met another dog and played tug of war with it's ear.
10am - Postman knocks, rugby tackle Barney to the door, stick an arm out to receive mail.
12pm - Barney refusing to come out from behind the shed – eating another snail.
1pm - Hanging the washing out but Barney started charging and chasing me, retreated inside.
2pm - Second walk of the day – quick walk around the block - all calm, met no dogs.
Barney & Yogi, perfect examples for socialising other dogs
I had already attended a village hall puppy class with Barney however, after only a few sessions his behaviour seemed to get worse and not better! At around the same time I met a fellow dog walker who recommended Sara. I gave her a call and since then we have not looked back.
Once Sara established what we wanted and what Barney needed we were given a training programme to implement and follow. Barney went from strength to strength. He stopped eating snails and very quickly understood the boundaries Sara set.
Now he is 18 months old and is joining us on trips to the seaside and family camping holidays. Following Sara’s techniques means that we can take Barney into dog friendly cafés and pubs, where he now understands to lie down and stay on his towel. Sara’s Saturday training classes have taught Barney to socialise. We can now enjoy walks on Sudbury meadows with confidence, knowing that we are in control of him and he's happy to listen to us. Sara’s training philosophy embraces “family”. My eldest daughter has soaked up Sara’s advice and guidance so Barney has no choice but to stay on task. My youngest daughter, who happens to have Down-Syndrome, enjoys nothing better than to train Barney in the garden following precisely the obedience training Sara promotes in her classes. I have watched as Jesse’s confidence grows and her bond with Barney deepen.
3pm - Friend ‘called in’ and promptly left after Barney spent the time jumping on her.
5pm - Son popped around with his girlfriend, Barney ate her shoe!
6pm - Barney won’t come in from the garden, on a snail trail.
7pm - Last walk of the day, Barney met a few dogs – no one was impressed
8pm - Barney settled, went for a bath…24 sausage rolls disappeared from the kitchen!
9pm - Barney running like a lunatic around the living room, have to hold his collar to stop him.
10pm - Barney chewing my arm, my dressing gown, I am going to bed for a rest!!
I was well aware this unruly pup was growing up fast and I now had an out of control, very strong dog.
Barney was out of control
At 14 months old Barney was the perfect example of good behaviour, both indoors and out so, we got another dog! A 15 month old yellow lab called Yogi, who did not make it through training for Guide Dogs for the Blind, due to his nervous traits. Of course, now he is training, using Sara's behaviour techniques, that have become second nature to us. He crosses the road confidently, enjoys agility and follows Barneys balanced lead. I am so very grateful to Sara for what she has done for my family. Sara is only a text or phone call away and ready to chat at the end of sessions over any blips we have had. Words alone cannot do her justice – if you and your dog are in need of assistance I wholeheartedly recommend Sara.
MARTINE, IRISH WOLFHOUND, 10mos
Sue is an experienced breeder of Wolfhounds, over the years competing and winning at many shows around the country however, her vet advised her to talk to me when Martine was 10 months old as she was very shy of people. At her early shows Martine would react to the judges trying to avoid them and ultimately avoiding being placed.
From the very start everyone loved having Martine attending the classes at Lead the Way, it's not often you see the wolfhound breed. I started to judge Martine on a weekly basis, approaching her from all sides, progressing to using props…. with a hat on, coat etc.
When she was comfortable with that we progressed to others in the group, male and female and it wasn’t long before Martine could hold a perfect standing position whilst being handled and checked by whoever approached her.
At the age of 2yrs old, Martine went on to qualify for and come second in her class at Crufts. We look forward to seeing how she does at future shows.
Gallahad another of Sue’s wolfies was showing signs of poor breathing, he was petrified of traveling and would refuse to get into her van to get to the vets for a much needed lung scan. With lots of daily practice, Sue and I worked at making her vehicle a comfortable place for Galahad to be. In a relatively short time Sue was able to get Gallahad to the vets to get a very reassuring scan and the right medication to enable him to return to good health.
Such good health in fact he and Martine went on to produce 11 puppies 6 months later. Of course, those puppies Sue kept started coming to the social classes as soon as they were old enough and with the he same confidence Martine gained, are winning open shows and earning their own place at Crufts.
ALFIE, COLLIE X, 7mos (DEAF)
I was asked if I would be interested in training a 7 month old deaf dog. I love a challenge and couldn't wait to get started. My first visit to his home was to address how to get Alfie to focus around the home and to stop giving his owners the run around.
We established Alfie is totally deaf and we spoke about how to use a long line to enforce commands and to use rewards for focusing and checking in on his owners more frequently. John and the family increased Alfies walks and started social agility at my field.
At first agility was hilarious all Alfie wanted to do was run and play with other dogs and not come back. There is no point calling a deaf dog! Our dancing and waving of arms just made us look mad to the rest of the group and I am sure no one else had the faith I had in Alfies ability to learn and respond.
Little by little using a guideline, Alfie would complete the agility course laid out and every now and again we would let him off and maybe get him to complete 1 or 2 jumps before he gave us the run around.
Jump to 5 months later and to everyone's amazement Alfie progressed to completing his first 20 obstacle agility course, off lead, following his owners hand signals and although he couldn’t hear it he could see everyone cheering at how far he has come. He continues to build good focus skills and loves meeting his doggy friends at his weekly class and is now off lead on all his walks with his owners.