Harry had been abandoned and found in a park in north west London. He spent three months in the Mayhew rescue centre because he had a bad wound to one of his legs. He struck me as a friendly dog. The Mayhew were very clear that they could not vouch for him behaviourally, but yes, he did appear to be friendly with people and other dogs.
My first night with him at home was chaos. I couldn’t get him to settle. He destroyed cushions. He tore a curtain. He ran around manically.
The next few days were more of the same. Jumping on the table. Knocking things off the work surface. Being sick in the car. Chewing books. Snarling aggressively at visitors. Being hugely energetic and completely unresponsive . At the end of the first week I was on the verge of returning him. I genuinely felt I couldn’t cope.
Our first session with Jane felt like a lifeline. We had five more. Actually it was me being trained, not Harry. Jane showed me how to respond to him and how not to respond him. How to be clear about the behaviour that should be rewarded. Actually allowing him appropriate things to destroy. How to understand the hunting instinct of a lurcher. Looking for opportunities to let him run. Being patient about teaching him recall.
It’s now eighteen months later. I take him for a run every day in Highgate Wood. He takes off, disappears, chases squirrels. And comes back when I call.
When on the lead, the lead is always slack. He loves visitors. He is great and tolerant with children. He is very good in pubs and public places. He sleeps brilliantly.
He is brilliant.