Canine Behaviourist and Trainer


Vee, Timber and Valour


The following email was sent to me from Vee Deplidge regarding her two male Caucasian Ovcharkas.    


emailHi Lin

Wanted to say a HUGE ‘thank you’ for the help and valuable advise you have given me with the training and behavioural  problems with my 2 male Caucasian Ovtcharka’s .


Like you told me, it would  not be easy living in harmony with this fantastic, difficult, and dominant breed, but you smoothed the way for me.


I hasten to add you are the only trainer I have heard of in the country that knows and worked with the breed..


Being 5ft 1” and weighing in at 8 stone, it was far from easy trying to walk 2 co’s,  the youngest, 15 month old Valour tipping the scales at 93.6 kilos (almost 15 stone). Now they are perfectly controlled and we enjoy our walks together. I despaired when Valour reached 10 months of age and challenged Timber for top dog position. With your help and advice the transition has been almost painless.


Thank you once again Lin, it would not have happened without you




Pete, Debs and Jemma


The following emails are from Pete (published with his kind permission) with regard to his spaniel Jemma:  The initial email outlines Jemma's problems and the second the outcome of following the behavioural modification programme I suggested:






Hope you are OK and well.  I came across your web site and tried to call so I thought to E-Mail instead


Understanding that our dog problems may stem from our own we, that is Debs and I we would like your initial thoughts.

We have an 18m old cocker spaniel called Jemma, she is an ex show dog which we have had for 7 weeks now.


Her previous life consisted of grooming, travelling long distance in a Camper Van and parading at dog shows, her life was spent in the company of two other younger spaniels and her owners would see her and walk her four times a day for about an hour each during which time she was allowed in their large home. She was well treated and loved and came to us as totally normal very placid and loving pet dog.


She is perfect in many ways, beautiful and black, loves to be stroked and tummy tickled, she eats well, very house trained, travels exceptionally well and is very loving towards us.  She can be trusted not to go upstairs and not go on the furniture most of the time.  She doesn’t chew anything she shouldn’t and doesn’t watch us eat our food.  She’s quite happy to sit or lay near us.  She’s very quite during the day whilst in our company and only occasionally has a low growl at external sounds.


Us, well we’re both 50yr olds, full time office workers living on a modern housing estate in a 4 bedroom house with drive and good size garden. With no children between us or living with us we decided we had room in our lives for a dog. We’ve both had dogs in our past, albeit in previous lives.


Typical weekday

Our Mon to Friday is waking up at 6.45, letting Jemma out in the garden, letting her have a small meal and then a 15min walk then I leave for work at 8.45am

Debs leaves earlier so that she can have a longer lunch and spend 30mins with Jemma whereupon she has another 15min walk


3 afternoons a week my two children come to the house form school at 15.45 and take Jemma out for a 20min walk


2 afternoons, either Debs or I return from work at about 17.00 and let Jemma out and sometimes walk her.


We’re both usually in together for 18.00 when Jemma is fed her main meal and we have ours.


Then at about 22.00 we both take her for a 15min walk, sometimes off the lead cos its quiet.


She gets a treat and is put to bed in the kitchen.  Overnight she has run of the wood floored kitchen and can sleep in her large cage, made up as a den with a cover over it and soft pillows inside (she loves this and will frequently go in it while we are in the kitchen)

During the day she has the run of the kitchen and can sleep in her cage, she generally has dog chews and always water.  We leave day time TV on for her cos she enjoys watching ‘Loose women’ at lunchtime.


Typical weekend

On weekends we do the same except we don’t go to work and the number of walks are reduced in favour of longer walks. We do our stuff around the house and out and about.  Jemma is with us most of the time, being quite happy to stay in her travel cage in the back of the jeep while we run short errands. We take her everywhere we can and have altered our lifestyle to go to dog friendly places.


She is good whilst out, she will walk to heel 30% of the time whilst 70% is an impatient but gentle pull to the front. We persist on pulling her back.


While she will return when off the lead it’s only in her own time. Occasionally I have had reason to think that she has impaired hearing and vision because she sometimes appears confused at who we are and where we are from a distance of about 100ft and that’s without distractions. She frequently stops to listen to sounds but appears to look in the wrong direction.


During the weekends she has the run of all downstairs and we frequently let her out whenever we are near the kitchen door.  She stays near me when I’m working outside.

She’s good with others, dogs and humans although quite shy at first.  She never knew about a roll and scrap on the floor, nor retrieving balls/ toys and had never been let loose off the lead.  We’ve introduced her to these since.


I am the leader I can see she acknowledges that, she’ll take notice of me far more than Debs and will follow me around and suck up to me more.  I am the one who reprimands her because my voice range is greater than Debs’s.


Our problem is that Jemma cute and unassuming that she is is constantly challenging me for the leadership role especially when I’m soft and loving with her.  It appears that the harder and more distant I am with her the better behaved she is. As soon as I give in and cuddle, tickle and play with her she assumes at least joint seniority and has been known to jump up on the settee and sit next to me all smug.  She races me to be first out of the door and in the door.  She races ahead of me on lead free walks, quite contrite and full of herself, the madam that she is.


Then our biggest problem occurs when its bed time and she is in the kitchen on her own.  She is fine when I leave her with her treat and will prob sleep a couple of hours only to wake up and pad on the kitchen door, small sharp yap, followed by a long whine.  When left to do this she has done it all night and we upstairs get no sleep.


I have since gone down to scold her with a deep ‘NO Jemma’. She will generally remain quiet for between 15mins and 90mins before starting all over again.  I have tapped her nose as well but feel crap doing this.


I’ve tried shutting her in the cage but she just thumps her paws at the cage door.  Not at any time have I seen her upset when I arrive and sometimes I’ve secretly observed her just lying there yapping and whining like “If I cant sleep neither is anyone else!”   So here I am typing with eyeballs full of grit.


Its not all the time that she does this prob 3 nights in 7 on average.


I think that it’s me she’s missing because I’ve over fussed her that previous day cos if I blank her after one of these episodes she is generally OK that following night.  But I hate blanking her that’s not what this is all about.


Debs thinks that its because she doesn’t like being locked in the kitchen on her own for the periods we’re at work and the night time and would rather she have the run of all downstairs.  This is not always true either cos she’s yapped at the weekends as well.

I don’t see why we should have to give into her to the point of letting her in the soft furnishings rooms unsupervised just in case she has a toilet accident, goes on furniture or damages some household item.


We have made her as comfortable as we can given the circumstances but no way am I leaving the TV on overnight so that she can watch horror movies!

What should we do………….leave her all night and sleep with ear plugs in

Or Let her have the run of downstairs, soft furnishings and all 


Hope you can help



emailHi again,


Just to give you some feedback on your excellent advice. Jemma, our black cocker spaniel is responding really well and has stopped yapping altogether now. I carried out your instructions to reassert myself as the leader by feeding her last, letting her out of the door last, putting her in her cage (unlocked and locked) while we’re still around and stopped petting her as much and she responded well. The only time she slipped was when I started to pet her again and so I would ignore her for a day and she would come round to our way of not barking. However she’s got used to things now and I can pet her without her reverting to yapping. She’s a really happy dog with lots of love to give and enjoys a good run on an open field. She’s my shadow and my mate, much to the disgust of Debs my partner who just cos she’s too soft has taken up position No 3 in our little ‘dog pack’ of 3. hahaha

Once again thanks

All the very best