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The Inglorious Bastard

Just as the famous Tarantino movie came into fruition, so did Hugo my less than amenable and aptly named Rottweiler.

It was a wet, drizzly Monday afternoon and like most Mondays, my day had started somewhat less than perfect.

After a painful morning, dog training in Basingstoke, training personal protection dogs and handlers who fail to pertain the necessary skills to drive a shopping cart, let alone control the drive of a frantic Malinois shepherd with the attention span of a five year old in a sweet shop, I received a phone call that would not only change my life forever, but put my experience over the last 15 years as a security dog trainer to the test.

The phone call was from a local vet and close personal friend who I know through dog training in Basingstoke. She started the conversation with the age old classic line 'Are you looking for another dog?'. Now this was a classically used phrase, normally playing on my heart strings at the promise of rescuing a beloved downtrodden pooch, which 9/10 times was in-fact as sound of mind as Mark 'Chopper' Read, with the same tendencies for violence.

She began to explain that a client had arrived at the practice with a very large built, 9 month old Rottweiler they could not control, he had previous bite history and the owner had expressed that unless it could be rehomed, it was so dangerous, the best possible outcome would be putting him to sleep.

Well, stone me! What choice do I have? I have always had a particular love of Rottweilers, which stems back to my early childhood. I was always fascinated by them and still am 33 years later!

So with a reluctant 'I will finish this session and I am on my way', I loaded my dog pole, adorned my bite gauntlets and headed to meet the owners.

On arrival I was met by the beloved couple, who made Fred and Rose west seem kind hearted. Without further adieu I was handed a lead, collar, harness and bag of cheap sawdust that somehow is sold as dog food. After loading my new Christmas presents into the boot of my pick-up truck, a sinister finger pointed towards the steamed up saloon car, followed by the words 'He's in their'.

Brilliant I thought to myself, as I gave an Oscar winning grimace. So off i proceeded to the saloon car to collect my new social hand grenade.

Well like most soldiers heading into battle, I was far than prepared for what horrors lied for me on the frontline of that vauxhall saloons boot.

As I tentatively opened the car boot, I was greeted by what can only be described as the devil in carnet, lunging, barking, snarling and throwing me around like a 5ft 2 ballerina (I am no Tinkerbelle at 6ft 3 and 19 stone)

This dog is no fear aggression case, he means to intently harm me with every ounce of his soul, like some deranged mythical beast. This dog even at 9 months old is capable of killing me with this aggression drive and weight of 46 kg. Should I make a mistake, it'll likely be my last.

After some rough lead play in the car park and a Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier footwork reenactment, I had him safely loaded into my vehicle.

Now comes the difficult part! Unloading him! After 30 minutes of playing a sadistic game of tug of war with my arm, I had finally managed to move Hugo into his new abode in our adjoining kennel, although Hugo was not a kennel dog, it would certainly have been far too risky for him to enter general population until I had some manner of control over this violent offender.

The next 4 days turned into a battle of wits with this monster, as every time I approached his kennel with his evenings rations, he was so intent on physically disfiguring me, he had simply lost his appetite.

So day 4 approached and by now, he was beginning to feel somewhat more peckish, he avoided his normal sadistic routine of how many pints of blood does the human body hold and showed greater interest in the bowl of freshly prepared raw I was holding.

The time had come for interaction, I cautiously opened the bolt on his kennel, watching his every movement, but he sat patiently watching me, like a lion sizing up its prey.

He allowed me to place the bowl on the floor, take a step backwards and place my hand on the kennel door before making his move.

As my hand touched that door, his eyes changed and within that split second, lunged 3 meters at me with his full force, slamming me into the galvanized paneling. Fortunately for me as he lunged, I managed to catch him by his jowls, gripping him hard, giving him a stern shouted NO! preventing him latching onto my body with a full force bite, we then began a submissive wrestling match which seemed to last hours, ultimately only lasting a few minutes, but eventually he submitted to me as I pinned him to the kennel floor.

I calmly rose to my feet, carefully releasing my grip of him and carefully backed out of the kennel, leaving a trail of blood from my arm from several puncture wounds. He simply remained still watching my every movement.

I knew I had won this battle and he would be more cautious to challenge me in future interactions, but I was far from winning this war and had already suffered several puncture wounds from this interaction.

Day 4 drew to a close and day 5 approached. Once again I approached his kennel, I placed my hand on the bolt and entered, but today, his demeanor was less hostile. As previously done so before, I placed his food bowl on the floor, he approached slowly, watching my every movement and took a mouthful of food. I stood there beside him until he had finished.

This time he did not growl, or change into an aggressive stance. He simply looked at me with curiosity. I decided to chance my arm AGAIN!

I said 'Hugo come here', well blow me down, he made a calm B-line for me, brushed his face up against my leg and encouraged me to stroke him.

What continued from this point on was nothing but continued devotion for me, we began to build trust in one another and by day 10, Hugo moved into the house with me.

Upon arrival within the confines of my 4 walls, there had to be structure. He must know the boundaries and respect for who the Alpha is, to prevent any further escalation. This is not your average pet, this is a serious high drive, Alpha pack leader.

The forthcoming weeks consisted of basic obedience, structured exercises and a lot of impulse control with the other members of my pack.

Now we are 2 years on and Hugo now assists me to rehabilitate and train other dogs in Basingstoke with severe dog aggression, he is the most loving, steady, well balanced dog and without a shadow of a doubt, the most reliable employee I will ever have!

Despite our initial differences, I often look back over what could have been and how that phone call changed both our lives forever! He is more than your average dog and I truly believe we were destined to be together, the bond we have formed now is inseparable, however without the initial respect and boundaries put into place, he certainly would not be here today.






K9 Controls dog trainer with a Rottweiler


Dog training in Basingstoke






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2 Comments


Wow!!! What an amazing story and a fab turnaround!! Now I understand where you got all your scars from! Thank goodness you found each other ❤️

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Jo Yeoman
Jo Yeoman
Feb 13

Such a lovely story and a beautiful dog. Well done to you both, Hugo is a very lucky boy.

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