I have not posted on here for quite a while though did document our journey with Dexter as he grew up from a puppy to the adolescent he is now and the challenges we faced, with both the ups and downs along the way. It is quite hard to believe but he is now 17 months old and we are of course still a work in progress but one that is moving forwards positively. Since my last post we have been having regular 1-2-1 training sessions to educate and train both us as owners and him, and I can honestly say that I wish that we had gone down this route a long time ago and do suggest that though relatively expensive don't be afraid to do this if you are having problems. Despite having dogs whilst growing up and family still having them it really did not prepare us for dealing with a more challenging dog. Though we did puppy training (twice) and a couple of courses of gun dog training, got advice here and read books and articles it is evident with hindsight that though useful for initial socialisation the group environments were not really suitable for such an excitable, overly friendly, driven dog and it was unfortunate that we were not advised by the early trainers to consider a different approach. With the 1-2-1 training we have learned how to work on relaxation techniques, tapping into his natural instincts in particular which is probably the biggest change and most important advance, distraction tactics, exercises around lead walking to reward more effectively, getting his attention and keeping it, use of a long lead to build on this when loose walking etc. A lot of this seems so simple but has been very effective - we never realised that the command "find" having scattered a few pieces of treat on the floor could divert him from almost anything he has just taken an interest in ! He loves using his nose to seek out and find things (mainly food), but we incorporate games around this and even loose in a field he gets absorbed in it for ages regardless of distractions. The amount of food treats we are using has probably doubled at least with walks and training at hime, but we are using them differently and more effectively. Dexter's lead walking is vastly improved, he walks past most dogs and people even on the same side of the road, some of whom growl or bark without lunging or engaging, pulling is almost a thing of the past (except those damned squirrels that run in front of us) and we are enjoying it far more because there is less anxiety about what we might encounter and how he will react. The walks are not focussed as much on quiet routes and locations at early/late times to avoid the distractions, as we build up the progress we seek to up the stakes gradually. Dexter still finds the world an amazing exciting place being a very boisterous, excitable, playful adolescent, and wants to investigate and get involved in everything but we are all progressing thanks to learning through the 1-2-1 route.