Jess is a Border Collie – she’s 8 months old
and going for a walk has become a nightmare for her owner Anita. Jess is obsessed with
chasing cars, bikes and even joggers. Dogs that chase can be a very serious problem and
has the potential to be extremely dangerous. I really don’t like taking her out on a busy
road. It’s ‘s that bad. She’s pulling as soon as you get her out the gate. If a car comes
from behind, she starts spinning round and round. It’s – I can’t let them – my kids are
teenagers, I can’t let them take he for a walk because she might run into the road.
You know, it is a really serious problem. It took Anita 22 years to persuade her husband
to get a dog. Now that they’ve got one her husband is regretting his decision. He says
if Jess can’t be trained properly she will have to go. If Jane can sort this out, I’ll be the happiest
person in the world, because, you know, just the thought of getting rid of Jess… I just,
you know, I just want to be able to walk her properly. So.. oh god. I would just like Jess
to, you know, I’d just like to be able to walk Jess. You know, because I want her to
have a nice life. Well, Dog Behaviour Expert Jane Hanshaw can’t
promise miracles but if Anita is prepared to work hard, Jane’s confident she can get
this car chasing under control. Hi, how are you? I’m alright thanks. How are you? Not bad, thank you. Hello, Jess. How are you?
Right, am I alright sitting here? Good. Thank you. Looking at her there, I would say that
she’s more of a working sheepdog. Right. Rather than a border collie as such. She is
a border collie, don’t get me wrong, but she’s the working strain. So you’ve got the supercharged
version. She’s hard-wired to chase. That’s what shepherds use. They need them to herd
the sheep. So in her – part of her makeup is to chase. So she’s doing what comes naturally
to her. So in the absence of sheep she’s choosing cars. Jane has taken Jess away from busy roads and
other distractions to teach a basic command ‘Leave It’. If Jess masters this the plan
is that she’ll eventually learn to leave cars, bikes and the other things she chases. So basically you put a really tasty treat
in the palm of your hand. As the dog’s nose goes for it, just close your fist like that.
You’re not shouting, you’re asking it to leave it. When she goes, uh? Good girl. Take it.
And then you give to her with a take it. Teach it on food initially, and then once she knows
it well, what I’d like to do is go, -‘eave that car, leave that jogger, leave that bike.’ A head collar can be a really useful tool
for controlling a dog that lunges, because basically It can’t get the power from its
shoulders into that lunge. You’ve got control of the head. What’s really important on the
head collar is that you spend some time getting your dog to accept it. Even if you’re only
just putting it on for a few seconds and rewarding that acceptance. Don’t rush it, spend the
time and then that will help you later on the training. Jane’s already spent some time with Jess ensuring
that she’s comfortable wearing the head collar in the house, before moving to an outside
environment. Walk with me? Come on, let’s go. What we’re
looking for ‘ good girl, super ‘ is some really nice relaxed walking. Oh, that’s much better.
And I’d like to turn that way, so that I’ve always got the dog on the inside. Good girl.
Lovely. Super. A lot of praise when she gets it right. We’re not going to tell her off.
What I’m looking to do is I want to be really relaxed. I want you to be relaxed and I want
her to be relaxed. I’m not looking for a tight lead. The point of it is if this head collar’s
on she can’ get the power behind that lunging that she’s doing. So we have to get her to
accept that first. Which is what we’re doing now. Jess seems to have accepted the idea of wearing
a head collar but how will she cope with passing traffic? Jess hardly reacts as two cars pass by. Good girl. So she looks behind and we use
that leave it again. We’re not telling her off. Don’t be cross. She’s already bothered
by the environment enough really. So good girl. What a good girl. Oh, that’s so nice,
you’re lovely. Good girl. Good, good. With just a couple of hours training Jess
has gone from this – to this. Just imagine what Anita could achieve
in a couple of weeks if she sticks at it. I know you were a little bit upset earlier
on; you thought you might have to give her up if you couldn’t cope. Do you feel better
equipped now? 100 per cent better. I just can’t believe
the difference from, you saw what she was like this morning. It”””’s like, unbelievable. So what’s important is that you do lots and
lots and lots of really small sessions. Five or ten minutes four or five times a day is
much better than a sort of hour slot at the end of the day. Do you feel you might have
to give her up now? Think you can keep her? I do yeah. I can see a light at the end of
the tunnel now. The difference today, I just feel so ‘I can see, you know, she can – she
can do it. She can do it.