MEET Olla . . . he may look like a tough, no-nonsense German Shepherd dog, but he was once so nervous that even the sound of the wind in the trees sent him into a panic.

And aggressive dogs terrified him to the point he would scream.

Such was the extent of Olla’s daily stress and anxiety that “dog whisperer” Shaun Hesmondhalgh wondered whether it was cruel to keep him alive.

But 18 months on, the three-and-a-half-year-old is a happier dog after Shaun worked with to build up his confidence.

Olla, came to Shaun, who was an officer in the Royal Air Force Police training dogs, shy, nervous and worried at the age of two.

Shaun, aged 43, who lives in Bolton, said: “I started to wonder whether it was right to allow a dog to live in such way. Should a dog have to experience daily fear, stress and anxiety?

“I’m not afraid to admit that, several months in, I felt exasperated by his irrational fear and high levels of stress.

“But I refused to give up on him because there was nowhere for him to go.”

Obedience training and a change of diet were the key to Olla’s change in fortunes, according to Shaun.

Now, he is helping others who have problems with their dogs, including those displaying aggressive behaviour.

Shaun is sharing his experience of being a dog handler and trainer through his business The Way of the Dog.

He says he is not a dog whisperer but rather a professionally trained trainer.

“It’s not just about training a dog to understand and respond to simple commands. In some respects dogs are like us, sometimes they need to build confidence and trust before they are happy,” he said.

“Sometimes it is a quick process, but it can also be for the lifetime of the dog.”

Shaun is also a member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, a committee member of the British Police and Services Canine Association and is working towards accreditation with the Kennel Club Accredited Instructors Scheme.

In his 24 years in the RAF Police, he trained dogs for a variety of purposes, from counter terrorism and force protection to competition, winning awards at a national and international level.