I first became involved with Woof Welfare 18 months ago when, out of desperation, I called the telephone number listed for assistance (if possible) with my Jack Russell cross, Buster. I had seen their leaflet detailing their services in Pet City.
Buster Brief background: due to an unfortunate marriage breakdown, Buster was left without a home, and I was asked if I would take him in. I had always refused to have a dog whilst at work, since I didn't think it was fair on the pet. However, I had recently moved my mother in with me, and then my son came back to live at home, so I decided there would be people at home whilst I was working to keep him company, and Buster arrived and soon took over the household.
Buster was absolutely adorable, as long as you didn't take him for a walk!!! He is very good in the house - totally house trained and an absolute pleasure to have. Then you put a lead on him - nightmare. Buster appeared not to like other dogs. As soon as he saw one, he would bark furiously. If we got level with the dog, Buster would be snapping and barking, and if the dog happened to be on the other side of the road he would try to drag me across the road to "get" at them.
I began to dread taking him out. I would pick routes where I thought we would not come across dogs. If I saw a dog in the distance, and Buster didn't notice, I would turn tail, go another way, cross roads, hide in gardens - anything to avoid coming face to face with another dog. If we did have a head-to-head confrontation, I would pick Buster up and carry him past the other dog. Walking Buster became a total embarrassment. I absolutely hated putting a lead on him, knowing that I would spend the next hour apologising to people.
After one fraught afternoon, when he decided to have a go at about four other dogs, I made the desperate phone call to Woof Welfare. Nickola came round within 24 hours, and the rest is history!!! What impressed me was the detail the girls wanted to know about Buster - they spent about an hour with me at home, watching Buster, asking questions, seeing how he reacted. Then we put him on a lead and off we went. It took all of five minutes for Buster to show the problem. Nickola then fetched a couple of her well behaved dogs and walked towards Buster to get his and my reaction, and I think they were horrified by what they saw. Nickola agreed to take on my "problem" dog and soon came to the conclusion that a lot of Buster's problem was his owner, me.
To cut a long story short, Nickola worked with Buster without me, and within four or five days I was invited along to Ferry Meadows to see their progress. OMG - I can't properly do justice to what I saw. I stood in Ferry Meadows with my mouth wide open while Buster ran around off-lead, with at least of four other dogs, and met up with stranger dogs quite happily and without attacking them. Buster needed socialising, and Woof Welfare achieved this. The next day, I had to take my son to see Buster out "on the loose", as he refused to believe Buster could be let off his lead and not cause absolute havoc. He too was "gob smacked", and filmed it on his camera as proof.
Nickola also worked with me, explaining how Buster was picking up on my anxiety and this was making him worse. They taught me that instead of hiding and walking away from other dogs, I should allow Buster to "meet and greet". It wouldn't always work out, but you can't expect all dogs to get along. Now, 18 months later, I can walk Buster without dreading it, and it's no longer a chore. Buster still doesn't get on with all dogs, but by not being frightened to allow him to meet and greet I now have the confidence just to carry on walking. He meets and greets more dogs than he barks at, we have met a couple of dogs that he will walk along with quite happily, and I have not picked him up since.
Where are we now? Well, I am still using Woof Welfare's services. I have been so pleased with their progress with Buster, and Buster absolutely loves being out with nickola and other dogs. Nickola collects Buster when I work, and by the time I get home he has been exercised, kept his socialising going, met up with new dogs, and I know he is well looked after.
Would I recommend Woof Welfare for training dogs? Read the above and make your own mind up!
I have a very lovable but "cheeky" Border Collie. He demonstrated the typical Collie trait of chasing. This was a problem when out walking, as he would chase cyclists and joggers and jump up at them - not a safe pastime!
Nickola worked with Ollie and myself (as I needed as much training as he did, if not more), and now he is far better mannered and chases neither joggers nor cyclists. They truly love dogs and have a natural flair with them, with their main aim being to foster a fun and happy relationship between you and your dog. They work with the dog's natural instincts and teach you how to use positive reward and praise to get the best behaviour.
I couldn't recommend Woof Welfare more highly - whatever your type of dog or it's problems.