Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

My Border Collie cross: 'ENZO'

EnzoHello and welcome to my dog page.

I have been a member on this site and forum since March 08 and haven't looked back since.

The advice, training and tips I have learnt have changed everything I previously knew, or more accurately didn't know, about dogs and its been a welcome eye opener.

I have always loved dogs and have been lucky to have shared my life from an early age with some wonderful, loving companions, all of which left their mark, captured my heart and left me yearning for more.

BlackieMy first dog was a black German Shepherd cross called Blackie and he was my everything.

He was picked from a rescue centre, where he had been nursed back to health after being found beaten, starved and dumped in the New Forest, left to die.

He was a very noble looking dog that carried no baggage from his traumatic experiences. Blackie and I were inseparable but sadly our time together was cut short as my Father saw fit to find him a new home with owners that could give him the exercise he so badly needed or that was the excuse he gave us. It was my first experience of the pain of loss and its true to say he took a piece of my heart with him and even after over 30 years, I still miss him, long to curl up next to him, feel safe and fall asleep as I often did as a child.

SootyThen aged 13 Sooty a black Spaniel X was brought home by my Father, much to my mothers annoyance.
Faced with three pleading children, promising to look after him, she agreed he could stay. He then proceeded to poop on the living room carpet, not a good start!!! He was six months old, a little terror who enjoyed chewing everything he could get hold of and we would often come home to shampoo dripping down the stairs and shredded toilet paper.

Thankfully he soon learned to finally behave and even won my Mother over with his doe like eyes and happy temparment. He went on to live a happy, healthy life until we sadly had to do the right thing and put him to sleep aged 13 due to illness. He was the most placid, easygoing dog we ever had.

BrackenThen came Bracken, another abused rescue. He was a black and tan collie crossed, we think with an Alsatian. He was stunning. Hated the postman and the phone, to the point where he once crashed through a double glazed front door because the postman called while I was on the phone.

Thankfully it wasn't the postman in general he had an aversion too but the red bag and after shouting at the posty who was running away to drop his bag, Bracken gave up the chase and came back. Thankfully our postman was very understanding and would leave his bag at the bottom of the drive before delivering our mail. He lived to the ripe old age of 12, despite a heart problem that was diagnosed with an estimation of 3-6 months tops before it failed. He stunned us all by being active and happy for a whole year, before it finally started to fail and again the sad decision to put him to sleep was made. It broke our hearts and led us to search for a lookalike nine months later, which led us to Enzo and in turn this website and dog forum.

Enzo Here is Enzo, he was 7 months when we brought him home on Valentines Day.

Sadly Enzo had serious issues. He was diagnosed with mild epilepsy, which we are still unsure was a correct diagnosis, but can't dispute that the medication he was on helped a great deal with his odd behaviour of staring at nothing for long periods of time as well as his aggression.

We spent six months getting lots of help and advice from the forum, with his nervous aggression towards other dogs and visitors, tried everything we could to alter his behaviour and finally after going through the process of searching for a new home with a more confident owner who could give him the leadership he seemed to need, decided to give it one last try and enlisted the expertise of a wonderful behaviourist named Lez.

Things started to improve and after losing any confidence I had due to stressful walks, seemed to be making slow progress. Inside the house with just the family Enzo was a very placid, obedient dog. Sadly as soon as visitors arrived he became very stressed and would take a nip at people. We did manage to avoid the problem somewhat, by telling people to completely ignore him, keep their hands out of reach and by me assuring him that they meant no harm. He would soon have a sniff and although never totally relaxed was much calmer and would eventually go over for a fuss. Unfortunately Enzo did not discriminate between people and didn't care if the person he chose to bite was male, female or child, making him very unpredictable and a danger to others. After a few weeks of thinking big improvements were being made, learning to be a strong leader and implementing lots of changes, Enzo tried and would have succeeded if our actions were not so quick, to bite a 9 year old girl who was visiting, it had also escalated to growling, hanging on to her clothing and shaking his head, which was something he had never done before. Thankfully the girl was unharmed and not at all fazed by it and I was quickly able to remove Enzo and calm him down but the time had come to make an emergency phone call to seek Lez's advice about our options.

Despite being on holiday Lez felt it vital to meet up and talk face to face. At the meeting Lez reminded us of at least 6 incidents of Enzo biting and nipping people, one such incident where he had actually drawn blood. We also knew ourselves of another 6 unprovoked attacks that had happened in the past. We were left with two options, the first to have him muzzled constantly around visitors, which giving his age, just 13 months and how sociable we are as a family, was not something we felt was fair to him. The only other alternative as rehoming him was not an option was to make the hardest decision of our lives and have him put to sleep.

I knew in my heart that this was the only thing, as sensible owners we could do. It was becoming more and more aparent over the course of time that Enzo had a lot more wrong with him than just behavioural problems. We, along with the vet, all came to the conclusion that he had something wrong mentally and it wasn't something that could be cured, regardless of how strong or experienced his leader was. I was told that sometimes a dog comes into the world, with so many problems that there just isn't room in society for them, which helped me cope with our actions. We decided that the kindest thing we could do for him was to put him to sleep and pray that he would finally find some peace. The vet agreed that it was far better for us to make the decision ourselves and allow him to go peacefully with dignity than to run the risk of having a policeman with a court order making us do it.

Enzo died in our arms on the 29th August 2008 and my heart finally broke. I can honestly say that no matter the reasons, taking the life of such a young dog and one that I had struggled so hard to try and save and loved so dearly tore me apart. He was supposed to heal my pain at the loss of Bracken, instead it was a long hard struggle with no fairy tale ending.

I did however learn a lot from all the pain during the six months we had Enzo in our lives. From my experiences I came to better understand myself as an owner, my own insecurities and fears and was given a chance to finally deal and cope with traumatic issues from my childhood that had affected me well into adulthood. All of this was acheived thanks to the understanding and care of Lez, Marion, my husband and the many friends I made on the forum and for Martin who allowed me the freedom to share my long tales which helped me express my feelings which in turn eased my sorrow and lifted my spirits. It's true what they say "A trouble shared, is a trouble halved".

I came to the conclusion that Enzo wasn't sent for me to cure him but for him to heal me and everything we went through, all the highs and lows contributed to making me a more confident, happy person. For that I will be eternally grateful and feel blessed that I had the love of a beautiful, if disturbed dog who turned my life upside down but gave me the strength to pick myself up again and make the best out of a sad situation. He will never be forgotten, will always be missed, despite the lack of stress in the home but most of all gave me the love, the best way he knew how, I desperately searched for in a dog.

Less than two weeks later, while on holiday in Spain, Lez called me to tell me about a rescue dog called Toby. His owner had died of cancer, he was taken to the vets to be put down, the vet refused and he was given 5 weeks boarding at the vets, thanks to a donation. He was then sent over from Ireland and placed with a wonderful kennel owner, thanks to the Black Retriever X Rescue Centre, despite being a Collie x Spaniel!! Lez emailed over a photo and a description, stressing that he had no aggression tendancies whatsoever. Needless to say Leigh and I were almost wishing the holiday away so we could go check him out.

TobyOn Monday 15th September, Toby came home with us. To say that Leigh was smitten is an understatement. I was pleasantly surprised to witness the affection he had for Toby and likewise Toby had for him. I was also a tad envious and soon realised that this time I had to share Toby with Leigh, something I hadn't needed to do before as Bracken and Enzo were very much my dogs!!!! I don't think I've ever known Leigh to be so interested in a dog but Toby bowled him over and he adores him. Me personally, I think he is the sweetest little dog I've seen in a long time, he doesn't have a single malice bone in his body, is so eager to please, well behaved, just rusty, very affectionate and has settled in so quickly that I forget that he has only been with us for a week.

He understands the boundaries and rules of the house, although I know he sneaks onto the chairs when we go out or are in bed at night!!!!! He is quick to learn and full of energy but will just as happily settle down in his basket. I do very much enjoy having him in our lives but am still tinged with guilt and sadness for who is replacing and guess it will take me a little while longer to finally heal and enjoy Toby for who he is and what he brings into our lives. The thought of giving him up though is not something I could contemplate, so I know he has already left his paw print on my heart. Whats not to love, he is adorable.

Alas I have been prone to rushing things and trying too hard with him in his first week with us. Obviously my experiences with Enzo affected me deeply and I have put a lot of pressure on myself to establish a strong bond and strict guidelines and am guilty of expecting too much too soon. Thankfully Lez has been on hand to calm me down, set me straight and stress that I need to relax and enjoy Toby and more importantly to just chill out!!! I guess I'm just worried that I will get it wrong and experience some of the same problems I had with Enzo. I could be accused of moving too fast and not allowing enough time to grieve before getting another dog, but I firmly believe the right dog comes along when you need them the most, besides even if I had not wanted Toby, Leigh would have insisted on taking him anyway!!!!!

So now begins a new adventure in our lives with another four legged friend. One I'm sure that again will be a big learning experience, as unlike Enzo, Toby needs a much softer approach, without relaxing too much that he ends up ruling the household. I'm very lucky to have the help and advice on hand from Lez and Marion as well as learning from the forum how to deal with situations as they arise. Having the chance to search the website for everything you could possibly want to know from good manners to behavioural problems as well as sharing others stories, laughing and crying is a Godsend and I am so grateful that through Enzo I searched and found this site and met some wonderful people. The success of it is a testament to all the hard work and dedication of all those responsible for its launch. They know who they are and should feel very proud of their achievements. A huge thank you to each and everyone of you.

Well that's enough from me now, I've taken up enough of your time and I look forward to catching up with you on the forum, where I can be found most of the time causing mayhem, laughter and tears along with trusted and like-minded members.

Enjoy, share and learn your experiences on here too with lots of owners and wannabes who are all trying hard to get it right, but most of all, love their dogs unconditionally. You wont be disappointed. Go on join in the fun, learn or teach, whatever your expertise. Once on board, you will never want or need to look elsewhere.


aka 'Little Miss Chatterbox'
Forum Username - 'Landlady Jayne'


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