Jake's Story

Photo of Jake
Becoming owners of a Border Collie is not a decision to be taken lightly. They call for massive commitment as they need and expect a great deal of physical exercise and also, because of their high intelligence, a great deal of mental stimulation as well. My husband, Peter, and I were well aware of the challenges we would face but still decided to go ahead and adopt Jake, a two year old short-haired Border Collie (with an ‘interesting’ background history!)

Thanks to the support and help from HULA (particularly from Sara) we were able to take Jake home after a week of intensive contact – taking him for walks, having him for a little while in our home etc. Our 2 little kittens were the major concern as we did not know if they could all live together without blood and fur flying!

Photo of Jake
It soon became clear that Jake was incredibly insecure and nervous of everything and a true Collie in that he took responsibility for the whole world! Vans, lorries, buses, bicycles, male pedestrians – all received aggressive barking, snarling and quite a scary lunging.

The kittens soon developed a typical cats’ disdain for canines and in spite of being followed everywhere and the constant attempts by Jake to ‘round them up’ they showed him they were not to be intimidated and became extremely haughty - plus the occasional swipe!

An additional problem was that Jake got very excited and aggressive towards any stranger who rang the bell or (horror of horrors!) tried to come into the house. Our social life took a distinct downturn!!

On the plus side – he was devoted to us and always did everything he could to please. He was also keen to stay close and came when called if we let him off the lead (only in wide open spaces though and not if other people or dogs were close).

Photo of Jake
Thanks to the expert advice of Lynne Davies, the dog training ‘guru’, Jake’s aggression was eventually calmed. She showed us that we were allowing him to dominate us and be the boss in our own house! To cut a long story short – we created a crate for him in which he now sleeps and eats. He relates so much to this personal space that he often chooses to lie in it even when we are in the house. He is not allowed upstairs and has been given quite clear ‘rules’ about his position in our household.

Photo of Jake
The most dramatic change was brought about by the use of a spray collar which Jake wore all the time on our walks. This made a huge difference literally within hours of wearing it. Jake has now relinquished his responsibility for the world and everyone in it and no longer demonstrates any aggressive behaviour on our walks. He is still very loudly protective when anyone enters our house, garden etc but we are working on that and his ‘excitement’ is usually quickly controlled. His stress levels are greatly reduced and he is more relaxed and secure.

We take him to training every Sunday morning (at Lynne Davies’ school) and thoroughly enjoy it. Jake is a different dog now and a real pleasure in our lives. We are taking him to Cornwall in June – we are fairly sure he has never been on holiday or seen the sea – so we are really looking forward to giving him these new fun experiences.

Photo of Jake

One year on...

So many people have related to Jake’s story on this website that we thought we might do a final (?) update on his progress.

Since he has been with us he has: Is he perfect?  No, of course not!

He still:
Photo of Jake

We are opening a bottle of champagne this weekend (last in October) to celebrate his arrival in our lives. Without doubt, he is one of the best things that ever happened to us and we love him to bits.



Photo of Jake


Our huge thanks to... All at HULA (especially Sara); Lynne Davies – the best ‘dog behaviourist’ in the country; Ian and Dan who have trained him brilliantly; Justine – our friend who was the first to give him love and confidence; all our friends, relations and acquaintances who have survived his initial ‘scariness’ and apparent aggression and now love him too

Jake is the living proof that with the right training and consistent, loving treatment, any rescue dog can become a valued, integral part of a family.



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