Every animal has a specific personality, and when I am spending time with a dog, I give him my complete attention. This means that I focus on his needs and try to satisfy them, so that he has a quality experience, and not just a simple walk.
When I meet a client, I like to establish the dog’s particular needs: e.g. to run, to play, to meet another dogs, whether he has specific fears, and whether I have to stimulate or to protect the dog in any way. Basically, I always try to identify what the dog likes, and what he does not like. In this way I can adapt my experience and my knowledge to the character of the dog, and to the requirements of the owner.
Here are three examples, illustrating different dogs with different needs:
a) Millie is a 7-year-old Cairn Terrier. I’ve known her for two and a half years now. She loves to walk, is very curious, loving and determined. Once our walk establishes a rhythm, she walks next to me. But when she stops and wants to smell, I always wait for her. And when she resumes her walk, I let her choose the direction she wants. Most of the time we walk in a natural environment, where she can be off the lead. It’s very important for Millie that I vary the path during each walk. So I usually try to find an interesting path, full of interesting smells! This way Millie is able to walk with someone in a variety of places, and she isn’t bored.
b) Conrad, two and a half years old, is a cross between a Border Collie and a Galgo Spaniel. I’ve known him for almost two years now. Conrad loves to play and run. But he especially loves treasure hunt games and problem-solving activities. When I look after Conrad, I work at different levels of emotional stimulation. So I let him run, to collect and retrieve the ball, and then I involve him in the research game. I alternate these two emotional phases (excitement/calm) for two/three times per session in the same environment (park, forest and so on). In this way he de-stresses, and his physical and mental needs are satisfied.
c) Misty, one year and three months old, is a French Bulldog whom I’ve known for six months. She loves to play with other canine friends, so I always take her to the park, where other dogs are in abundance. When she meets a friendly dog, she has a lot of fun and she becomes an acrobat, leaping around. She runs, rolls, jumps, smiles, and competes for possession of a stick.
I am always careful to read the non-verbal signals of Misty and the other dogs, so that I understand immediately as to whether the other dogs are happy to play when they meet Misty, or if they are too shy. Then I check that the owners of the other dogs are nearby. If everything is fine, I allow Misty to play, and I stay focused on the game interactions between the dogs. I interrupt the game if the dogs become too excited. In these interactions, Misty is able to socialise and to express herself.
All the Best,
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