Monty and the dreaded lead

Monty is 5 year old male Frenchie who came to live with Fran and her family less than a year ago, from an unknown background. They fell in love with him quickly as he was an affectionate and delightful character, but soon discovered that he had one problem.

Monty couldn’t bear leads! Not even the sight of one or anything similar. He would fly into an uncontrolled  spin and attack them ferociously in true bull dog fashion, hanging on for dear life and spinning round shaking his head to. His shocked owners discovered that the only way they could get him to release his victim was to turn him upside down and wait. Monty would eventually stop, calm down and relax enough to be put down on the ground again, when he almost appeared to be embarrassed about the whole affair.

His issue meant that he couldn’t wear a collar, harness or lead, had to be carried to the car to go out and his life was very restricted as he could only be taken to secure locations where he wouldn’t see dogs on leads. He generally got on well with other dogs so altogether the outlook was miserable.

Things came to a head when Monty took a dislike to the stirrup leathers on a passing horse. No damage was done to the horse, Monty or the stirrups but Fran contacted me. She wasn’t optimistic but she was pretty despondent. I had certainly never dealt with this problem before but we decided to give it a go.

We started by guiding Monty to understand that Fran and the rest of her family could take care of him in any situation so he didn’t need to worry. They helped him to understand the rules of their home so he started to run around the house less and relax more. Monty learned to focus on his owners so he could be distracted more easily from anything that was upsetting him, and increasingly he learned to trust that he would be safe.

Monty wearing his harness

Over time and with much loving patience from Fran, we desensitised Monty to seeing leads, first at a distance, then increasingly close to him, sometimes moving and sometimes attached to anther dog. After a few weeks he was able to distract himself, especially with his favourite game, snuffling for treats in a cardboard box full of paper

We had a massive breakthrough when Fran managed to put a harness on Monty. It took her days of patience but at last she could start to think about taking him out!

Two months into the training and Monty is now going for walks on a lead. Not only that, the lead was bright pink so hardly difficult to spot! Day by day he is relaxing more. Fran is delighted and I have to say I’m pretty chuffed too!