I was loading the dogs into the truck when a smartly dressed gentleman approached and shook my hand.

“Thank you so much, “ he said. I was agog.

“Don’t remember me do you?”

I shook my head.

“Barney, the bull dog.”

Then I got it. Barney was a typical British bulldog; stubborn, fierce and fixated. He hated cyclists, polythene bags, loud noises and snapped at anyone who touched his flanks.

Barney hadn’t had a decent walk for a year, refusing to go any farther than the end of the drive. His demented owners were at their wits end having tried every kindness they knew to snap Barney out of his phobias.

I explained their kind intentions had been interpreted as weakness and no dog will take direction from a pack member weaker than himself, especially a nervous unbalanced dog.

In order to help him they had to gain his respect and show leadership. I slipped a lead on Barney and ran him down the garden path. He wasn’t used to travelling at such speed and before he knew it we were 200 yards down the road. Every time he dug his heels in I tugged him along releasing the tension on the lead as soon as he moved with me.

Barney soon realised that it was MY walk and not his. Once I gained his respect I introduced a few rules ( no walking in front, no lunging at other dogs etc) and enforced them consistently. Once I had leadership Barney deferred his fears and anxieties to me. Reconditioning his responses took a couple of months.

‘Thank you so much,” repeated Barney’s owner.

“What for?”

“For giving us back our dog. You worked magic.”

I was exceedingly flattered but sadly he was wrong. It wasn’t magic but leadership and YOU can do it.

Come to one of my classes and learn how. Just visit vicbarlow.com or text me on 07590-560012 for details.