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My world of dogs (Part 2)

Of those, one went on to be a major prize winner, and two went Best in Show, a couple of years afterwards. Another major problem occurs with the dog that is kept with companions at home, and goes to pieces when away from them.

Often with these, separation from the pack, bringing into the house and treating as a pet dog solves that problem as then the owner becomes more important than the other dogs. It is more difficult if there are only two dogs kept in the home and not outside. The dog needs to be alone with his handler for considerable periods, and to have confidence in himself.

Many of my owners have dogs bred by accident. Many are cross breeds. Many are pedigrees, but the names in those pedigrees can be very odd. Rosie of Ripon.

Sally of Luton. Most, whether pedigree or not, have come for help via vets and the Rescue Organisations, having been offered to another home, usually between ten months and two years old.

Invariably we hear they have wonderful temperaments. Invariably we discover that much has been left out and the new owner has to cure some very odd habits. One dog that went to another behaviourist attacked electric light bulbs.

Research (with much difficulty) revealed that children had teased him with torches. Half of those that come to me have had the kind of life that few us of us even want to think about. Shut all day and night in shed or garage; never walked; occasionally fed. Kicked and cuffed and even burned. Tormented by children. One had staples through its ears. Another a pencil rammed down the ear canal. They are afraid of feet and hands and leads and very much afraid of slipchains.

Some have been chained and never released to run. Some have raw necks. The new owners are always kind, always gentle, but many may have a first time dog, and have been caught by an appeal on TV or in a newspaper or magazine to re-house one of the many abandoned. They are completely baffled.

Others have been to a dog class, often a very large and noisy class, where everyone shouts at the dogs, and dogs bark and some are off lead, wandering. There are dogs that lunge and bark One poor little fellow had been set on every time he went to class as he went in the door.

His owner was blamed, not the owner of the large dog without manners that terrorised him. He was reprimanded by the instructor when he went back for the fifth time and decided to bark first. He was taken from his owner and walked round the room, being jerked, with a chain round his neck, off his feet, every time he passed another dog. Finally, terrified beyond reason, he bit the instructor. They were told not to come again as he was vicious.

Continued to my world of dogs part 3