Challenging Behaviour

Playing with Fire

Playing with FireEver wondered why dog rescue centres are packed with adolescent dogs?… it is because we can be a NIGHTMARE! Just when families think they have us trained, and are replacing their cute energetic pup with a calm mature dog we just HAVE to prove them wrong.

Our family were well prepared for us, were experienced dog owners, and have consciously worked hard on our training and socialisation (even a vet for goodness sake!), but we are proud to have still stretched them to the muttering “why on earth did we get these dogs” point!



Dog on tableFrom about 5 or 6 months old we knew the boundaries but started testing them. The treats were on the table ready to reward a grooming session… but Freda decided to bypass the grooming and get up on the table to get straight to the treats.

From about 7 months the lure of swimming has proved too great for Bert, and he eschews Tom Daley grace for a muddy splash into the canal given the opportunity.



We are worn out with walkies, and occupied while left home alone. We have puzzle toys which keep us working on getting treats, rather than on causing trouble. We have good manners with humans, and apart from one random skirting board incident (it tasted TOO good), those have not been our issues.  Rather than give the family one set of problems to work on, we have divided to rule…

 I am Freda the Rabbit Terrorising Escape Artist!

Freda Cone

Ah, I remember it well… 31st August 2016 was the day I got my first sniff of that powerful drug that is rabbit chasing. Since then I have not looked back. In fact, I don’t look anywhere, and lose the use of my ears too, so my family can shout themselves hoarse calling me back, but all I want is RABBIT.

The addiction is so strong that minutes after returning home after my first successful hunt I found a way out of the previously assumed secure garden.

The moment the lead is off, I am too. It’s like I cannot help myself. My family bought me bells so they can hear where I am in the undergrowth, but they cannot hear them underground! Haha! The next stage in their warfare was putting a buster collar on me! Drat! That slows me down and I cannot wiggle into burrows or get through so many fences, but I am learning to reverse through hedges to make me more streamlined!

 I am Bert the Inappropriate Aggressor!

Bert Border Terrier 9 months

I have two heroes, Buster the Lab and Allan the Retriever who are both AWESOME! I like to lick their faces, incessantly, whether they acknowledge me or not, and sometimes my licking can get frenzied and turn into nips. Buster and Allan love it, but sometimes I get confused and try out my trick on other dogs that look like them, and for some reason they don’t like it so much. Mom is convinced it is going to get me into trouble as apparently I am not good at reading doggy language for “leave me alone”.

I am great though at reading doggy language for “I am going to kill you”, so while I leave most dogs alone, any that are displaying aggression, I have to show aggression to too! Great game!

Recently I have decided this game is particularly good while I am on the lead. Mom needs protecting, despite telling me she is Top Dog, I don’t believe her, and have to defend her from other passing dogs.


We have co-ordinated our campaign of terror well, making sure we have different issues, and working in conjunction with the two human adolescents in the house for maximum hair tearing out. Joking aside, while it has been fun, it is important that our humans realise that with some hard work and patience we can get through it, and you can too. Over 47,000 dogs were abandoned in the UK in a year, and we are determined to not be one of them.

Is this just a passing phase, training needs, or our lifelong characteristics? Mom and Dad are working on it. Will let you know how the battle of wills progresses. We are off to destroy the compost… who needs clean water bowls when there are puddles, who needs nutritionally balanced dog food when you can scatter rotting vegetables around the garden…

Border Terriers foraging in compostLove and licks,

Your Border Terrorists,

Bert and Freda xx



  1. Barbara Atkins : October 23, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Bert and Freda love your little games but you have to listen to mom and dad ,you might meat up with some not nice friends so mom and dad don’t want you to get heart love you both.??

  2. Mmmmm…. could their behaviour be blamed on the fact that Grandma Millie refused to even acknowledge their existence when she met them? Gave them a complex and they have to let you know they are there!!

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