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  • Writer's pictureDogs Taranaki

From then to now...

I started doing Walks & Adventures last year to get dogs out during the day. It was about the pack as a whole, not just one dog. Boy has it evolved since then!

The main reason most of the dogs were coming to me was to get rid of pent up energy and socialise. I quickly discovered each dog had their own unique quirks and behaviours and needed help interacting with the real world. If I didn’t help solve these or dial them down, each individual cog in the pack wheel would stop it turning, and home life would continue to be hard. What owners really needed help with was knowledge, getting the basics sound and a calmer dog. And the dogs needed direction. It needed to be a team effort, and owners are an important piece of the puzzle, especially with the more challenging behaviours. So the dogs learn from me, and owners are given the knowledge I learn about their dog. Some may get homework too. It all starts with the walk. I am discovering way more about the dogs after getting them moving and walking calmly on lead with my dogs in high traffic areas than if I meet them in their home or let them run off lead. The dogs show me if they are anxious, scared of dogs, love birds, or see themselves in charge. Understanding their ‘why’ helps me get their cog turning individually and with the pack, and which dogs need more time before I could trust them off lead. The walk helps shift the dogs’ focus from ‘me’ to ‘us’. It allows them to learn to relax the mind, and be part of something bigger than themselves. Most dogs (& people) find being the one responsible for making all the decisions stressful, especially if they’re not equipped with coping mechanisms and/or too young to shoulder that responsibility. Taking that burden away by showing good leadership and direction allows them to find their inner calm, and just be the dog they were meant to be. This is not done by creating fear or being the ‘boss‘, as some would have you believe. A dog who fears me or doesn’t respect me will not choose to follow me, on or off the lead. I have learned more from the dogs in such a short space of time, about them and myself. I listen, I observe, I seek to understand. And I still have more to learn. In doing so, what I do has morphed into being somewhat of a life coach for the dogs! This wasn’t done by my choosing but where the dogs pushed me. I didn’t set out to be a coach or trainer, but teaching life skills in real world environments has taught me I can give so much more to these amazing dogs. The end result is I do things very differently to other dog walkers in the region. We each have our place, and we each have our own groove, but what I do works for the dogs who I take, not just with me but at home too. What I do will continue to evolve as packs become more settled and established, and the dogs show me more of what they need from me. I will continue to share our stories and my knowledge with you, and I thank you for being part of our journey to give dogs the chance to live their best life.

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