In 1985 (31 years ago) I was running a class of about 20 dogs all various breeds and sizes. There was a lady with a Rottweiler and another with a giant poodle they both wanted to fight.

Those that are involved in the running of training classes or indeed attend schools are aware that it is uncomfortable when there are two dogs especially large ones that want to have a go at each other it is not a happy situation.

The class was disrupted many people with small dogs were agitated and nervous. I now had two problems the dogs acting aggressively and the clients who were now afraid of the situation.

That night I kept thinking about these dogs and knowing the giant Poodle was a hunter and a fast dog, the Rottweiler genetically a herder was fast off but would tire quickly I had an idea.

After the class I asked the two owners to stay behind I explained that I wanted these two dogs off lead and wanted them to run it off with the Rottweiler wearing a muzzle which would occupy him in any event trying to get it off. They agreed my heart was in my mouth but according to my knowledge of the breeds I thought this might just work.

I let them off leash and you can imagine how the Rottweiler tried to chase the Poodle, but as I anticipated within minutes he was truly tired and laid down panting trying to get the muzzle off. He again gave chase and after a few minutes they started sniffing each other and ten minutes later I removed the muzzle they then ignored each other and started sniffing the ground ignoring each other.

The following week I asked 2 more owners to stay behind I now had four dogs and was strict inasmuch that I did not want any human interference and asked everyone to stay calm and certainly not to speak. The four were released and after a little running around and sniffing the dogs virtually ignored each other and wanted to scent and pee!

This is how socialization started I believe I was the pioneer that all dogs need to be socialized before we even start to try and train them lead work etc. I am of the opinion that there is too much human emotion and interference by not allowing dogs to be dogs and too many verbal commands or words being bandied around.

The recall is simple I made all the class bend down open their legs and clap their hands, no whistling nothing other than clap. When you have a group of dogs off leash there are always a few that will come back quickly, the others follow. My theory is that when a person bends down with open legs clapping their hand most dogs will come back especially if you’re holding a treat.

In my classes there was always a rule, simply no talking, no verbal commands. Walk with a leash when you stop jut tap the bottom and most if not all dogs will sit within 5 minutes of this exercise most dogs will from then on sit automatically.


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