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Dexter

We fostered Dexter in September 2011, then realised we couldn't let him go, so adopted him on 1st January 2012. He is a Saluki Lurcher and was around a year old when we fostered him after a bad start to his young life.

Right from the beginning he was problematic, very barky and reactive with other dogs, and scared of many things, including motorbikes, joggers, horses, lorries etc., and as you can imagine, this made walking him, with our other two dogs, very stressful!

After a year of this, I contacted GRWE who advised me to get in touch with Sarah Cooke, who works with many of their rescue dogs and came highly recommended. Dexter and I have been having one-to-one sessions with Sarah since October 2012, and he is a different dog! [back to all testimonials] She told me that he doesn't need loads of exercise, as we have a large garden where he can run off his energy with our other Saluki Lurcher, Dizzy, which immediately took the pressure off. He also didn't need walking with our other two dogs, as that too was stressful, so now he goes out for 10 minutes in the morning, and 20 in the evening on his own, just round the block so he doesn't get too stressed! The change is fantastic, and he can now walk past other dogs (on the other side of the road) without totally freaking out. He isn't reactive to any traffic anymore and deals with most things really well.

Sarah has saved the sanity of both ourselves, and Dexter and for that we will be forever grateful!

Since starting training with Sarah we have had a few sessions with Caroline and Piper - 6 months ago the idea of Dexter meeting another dog in close proximity was impossible to imagine, but they were both perfectly behaved and (we think) have fallen a little bit in love with each other.

However, the pinnacle of our work so far was taking him to Badminton Horse Trials for the day. We knew it would be full of all the things that worry him, loads of dogs, people and horses, as well as noises and situations that would worry him. We loaded ourselves up with cooked chicken, making sure we weren't expecting too much from him, and preparing to leave early. He was fantastic all day, and outshone all our expectations! We couldn't have been prouder of him and we can't thank Sarah enough for all her help, support and positive reinforcement. We know that many things will still worry Dexter, but we also know that it doesn't matter and that we can deal with it - he is our beautiful dog who we wouldn't be without, but thanks to Sarah his is our beautiful, happy and confident dog, who is improving every day!

Louise Flower & Dexter. June 2013

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