Years ago my wife rescued some battery hens. They were in a dreadful state with half their feathers missing.

Mrs B soon had them in comfortable surroundings where they could strut in the sunshine and feed in a more natural environment.

Our existing hens did not like this one bit and attacked the newcomers at every opportunity.

We later learned this was natural behaviour for hens.

So why am I telling you about chickens in a dog column? Because it’s essential to know about this behaviour if you keep poultry but that’s not what humans want to hear.

We’d like to believe the newcomers would be made welcome by the existing brood.

But Disney didn’t make his fortune describing animals as they really are, he did it by depicting them as humans like to see them.

Unfortunately that’s also true of dogs.

We want them to be as we see them rather than how they really are. You can get away with it when you’re making a cartoon but not when you are training real dogs.

It’s absolutely vital to have a basic understanding of your dog’s psychology if you want a well-trained, balanced dog.

Twenty years ago when I became a professional trainer, I agonised over telling owners what they wanted to hear or how things actually were and risk their disapproval.

I opted for the for the latter as I knew it would produce better results in the long run.

I reflected on this over Christmas when I saw the plethora of books, videos and downloads on-line offering instant answers to dog behaviour problems with little more than treats and cuddles.

Anyone who has ever watched in horror as their dog chased a cat over a busy road will understand the futility of calling it back with a biscuit or separating a dog fight with cuddles.

Sadly, reality isn’t always what we would like it to be.

Respecting our dogs for what they are is a true token of our love.

You can email Vic direct at or text 07590 560012.

By The Dogfather