Kaz's 'mostly travel' blog

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Just Abi

This page has become quite long so started a new one:



Those who know what a struggle it has been in the past to walk Abi without being pulled over will understand my absolute joy at seeing how far she has come with walking to heel.  Here is a picture of my young niece walking Abi today:

And the unthinkable… Abi walking with another dog (Chester):

The handsome Chester with Carla:

Sunday… Abi’s second Good Citizen class.  Knowing what to expect, I was less apprehensive than last week and Abi seemed quite eager to get in the hall to join the other dogs.  These classes present a wonderful opportunity for Abi to socialise.

One of the exercises today was to walk in pairs into the village… this is quite a big deal bearing in mind Abi’s fear of traffic (I was less concerned that she was walking alongside another dog).  Anyway, she didn’t lunge at cars once… I wonder how much notice she takes of the other dogs’ behaviour and gains confidence from seeing their lack of reaction to traffic.  The only negative thing was her walking to heel… she takes a step backward when the gencon is used and starts to pull like mad (the very thing that the gencon is supposed to prevent).  When I walked her later that day using the body harness, she immediately walked with a loose leash again (phew). The trainer doesn’t like the harness though, so I’m a bit stuffed when at classes!

Today, when Ela and I took Abi to the woods, there was a touch and go moment; a rather large, off the lead dog came running towards us.  The owner was screaming at the dog to return to her, but it fell upon deaf ears.  Anyway, the dog was all over Abi who just stood there looking a little nervous, but she didn’t react at all.  I was massively proud of her. 



Now Abi’s behaviour is so much better she was able to spend 3 hours out with Darren whilst he was gardening today (last summer it was impossible – scroll down a bit for summer 2010 picture):

Tomorrow I am meeting up with Carla to walk Abi and her dog together (we’ve not tried this yet)



Yesterday Abi commenced her Good Citizen award at the local dog rescue group.  She was meant to be in the Hooligans class, but Carol felt she was ready to launch straight into the bronze training.

Apart from the fact that the people are absolutely wonderful and supportive, they do the one thing that I feel is so important for our dogs; socialisation.  I was never sure how polite Abi would be with other dogs… being a German Shepherd, most dog owners don’t want her near them.

Anyway, from the moment we arrived, help was on hand and she was gradually introduced to dogs and people before the class commenced.  Incredibly she was soon calm and relaxed.

After Abi had completed her hour of bronze training, Carol kindly allowed her to take part in the silver class.  This was all good for both Abi and myself as I was able to gain confidence and Abi enjoyed the tasks and getting close up to her peers.


Yesterday Davena and John kindly agreed to come and join Abi and I for a walk in the woods… I confess to feeling a wee bit nervous because the last time we tried this together (several weeks back), we literally moved from tree to tree so that I could tie Abi securely to the trunks to allow other dogs to pass without a blood-bath.  Memories of her lunging and hostile barking are still very much on my mind.  Actually, she was so well behaved we were all surprised.  I did give other dogs a wide berth, just in case.

At lunchtime today I met up with Carla, a volunteer from the local dog rescue organisation and we repeated the walk we did yesterday, but just longer (almost 2 hours).  We encountered lots of dogs and people… nothing negative happened.  Carla said she could see a massive difference in Abi’s behaviour… mostly her focus on me awaiting instruction (personally I think it had something to do with the liver cake Carla had made) and her walking to heel.  When we reached an area where we could see for some distance in all directions, I popped a muzzle on Abi, then let her off the lead.  Her recall was 100%… again, that liver cake did it!

We are due to attend the good citizen class on Sunday which begins with the dogs’ socialisation.


A massive ‘Gulp’ moment this morning… Carol from the local dog rescue centre suggested we take Abi for a walk along the High Street.  I was initially concerned that with all the activity, Abi might have a bit of a knock back on progress.  Silly me for worrying!  It has only been about 3 weeks that Abi has willingly got into the car, so I was surprised that she hopped into Carol’s car without any fuss.  She was also good as gold walking along the busy street.  We nipped into the pet shop with her where Abi calmly watched the rabbits, birds, etc… then we went into the funeral directors (lol)… the lady that works in there has a soft spot for Abi and keeps some treats in her drawer for her.  Finally we went and enjoyed a cuppa outside a cafe… kids were skateboarding within a couple of feet of Abi’s nose, but she laid there without making a move or bark.  Another positive day!


We have just returned from another very good walk around the lake.  Again, she had to be reminded occasionally to not wander in front of me, but she heeled for a good 90% of the walk.  The challenge today… there were some new anglers at the lake (most of them know Abi and she usually gets a fuss).  Anyway, she immediately realised that she didn’t recognise these chappies so let out a solitary and whispered ‘woof’. I turned her around and walked away a few paces before approaching again… this time she didn’t make a sound and continued to walk to heel (rather than her old ways of pulling towards them and barking like mad).  Incredibly I was also able to have a quick chat with the guys whilst slowly walking past them… delighted!


Scary… Nigel left yesterday and now it is entirely up to me to carry on his good work with Abi.  Within an hour of Nigel leaving, Abi started to challenge me, but now I understand what is going on, so stood my ground:

Firstly a friend knocked… Abi barked, then stopped (as trained)… however, when my friend entered the house Abi started to jump up with excitement.  I immediately isolated her and waited 5 minutes before letting her greet my friend again… this time, no problems.

Next challenge… 4pm feed.  She watched me prepare her food, then as instructed I pretended to eat from her bowl before placing it on the floor.  She just laid there and didn’t move, so after 10 seconds I removed her bowl (ha… she moved then, but too late).  She went without her 4pm feed and when I delivered the 8 pm feed using the same method, she was sitting at my feet ready and was eating as soon as the bowl hit the ground.

This morning I psychologically prepared to take Abi out on a walk… remember; patience, patience, patience!  I was taken aback… she was good as gold.  Came when called and stood with the lead attached waiting for me to lead.  We walked around the house for a couple of minutes… no problem.  Then advanced to the front garden for a short stroll… still brilliant.  Then the test… her first time around the lake since being trained.  During the entire walk we probably only stopped and changed direction about 10 times.  Even then, she wasn’t pulling, but just getting slightly ahead.  Chuffed!

We’ve just got back from walking Abi in the woods (this is one of those ‘face my fears’ moments).  In the past I’ve had to tie myself to a tree to stop being pulled over when Abi sees another dog.  This afternoon we saw several dogs… she only barked at one, even then, she didn’t lunge as usual.  As we were walking towards the exit, Abi was calm enough to continue without making any fuss as a large dog passed us… fantastic!


Abi out walking with Nigel this morning:

Abi has hit ‘the terrible teen’ stage!  If anyone has any advice, please don’t hold back:

  • Pulls like mad when on a short lead
  • Started to lunge at anything that moves e.g. dogs, people, cars
  • Jumps up when greeting people
  • Loss of hearing – recall

Picture taken by Angela just before Christmas when we were out walking the dogs

13th Dec 2010

Yesterday I bought Abi an object to seek out. She’s been fantastic and loves the challenge!

2nd Dec 2010 – feeding the ducks

2nd August

Family visit… walk


5th July

The grass is parched… nothing is simple…


Not good!!!


Abi being difficult… preventing the gardener from weeding

May 2010


Resting after some high spirited play with Gemma (the hotel owner’s English Springer)

Mark making a fuss of Abi

With Ela

Watching the sheep

Washing the muddy paws after a walk

Playing with Meg (next door’s Collie)

Meg and Abi

Learning how NOT to lunge and bark at traffic


Those ducks

Naughtie girl – after jumping in the lake

The early days

Angela and Mark’s new puppy (I’ve got potty training duties Monday to Friday)

April 6, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hi Kazzie, The photo’s are great, let’s just hope you can keep them rolling, after the incident with the camera 😦

    The pool looks so big, I can now see why it’s going to take days to fill up !!!


    Comment by helen | August 12, 2010 | Reply


    Comment by johnferd | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hi, my german shepherd bitch who’s 11 months who I love dearly has hit her teens and has been barking very loudly and pulling at other dogs even on the other side of the street and i’ve been at a bit of a loss until now. Was it the same with Abi? How did you get her calm again? I’ve been doing basic dog listening from a book but was thinking about contacting the guy you worked with, he looks really kind and confident.. Its good to see someone blogging about bringing a dog up, thankyou! x

    Comment by katy | November 25, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Katy… I’m going to email you.

      Comment by karen123 | November 25, 2011 | Reply

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