Tails of a Dog Therapist – Episode Nine

Episode nine

A lot of the enquiries that I deal with on a daily basis are from people who are struggling to walk their dogs. Let’s face it we all want to be that person in the park who’s dog is enjoying their run but stays with them, the one who’s dog returns to their side and looks at them with one gentle call of their name. We want to be the ones that other people are in awe of and comment on, but for most of the doggy parents I speak to that’s the complete opposite to what is actually happening on their walks.

In the last week alone I have spoken to parents who’s dogs react aggressively to other dogs, ones who run off to play with every dog or say hello to every person and just won’t come back and ones that pull so hard on their lead that they have pulled their parents over. I even spoke to one poor lady who’s dog pulled her into the road trying to get to another dog! These are not enjoyable walks and not what they thought they were signing up for when they got their loving companions.

Obviously the circumstances of the last year haven’t really helped. Lockdown and social distancing has meant that training classes and socialisation groups couldn’t run and people and dogs couldn’t mix in parks, so our dogs haven’t learnt how to behave when out and about.

My training walks weren’t something I planned to do when I set up my business. I wanted to come away from general training techniques and concentrate on my therapy work, but I really enjoy the lead and recall work and because of my therapy training I understand reactive dogs so I decided to offer this service alongside the other things that I do.

I offer two types of training walks.
The first is a 1-2-1 session with you and your dog. We go on a 45minute walk together and I listen to your struggles and watch how your dog behaves. I then show you what you need to do to correct the behaviour and how to manage it while you’re working on correcting it. While I’m showing you this I will be explaining the reasons your dog is behaving the way they are so that you understand them better. I find that this helps to make things feel a bit more normal because when we have dogs that are playing up in public we feel like everyone is watching and judging us but I promise you everyone has been there and had these struggles at some point. I then send you a write up via email detailing everything we have discussed so that you have it to refer back to as you start to put things into practice.

The second training walk service is for the busy pet parents that just don’t have the time to spend on the training. It starts off the same as the 1-2-1 session but after I have followed that process with you I then take your dog out three times a week for a minimum of one month and walk them for an hour each time. While they are out with me I will be training them and working on the behaviours that we have discussed and will be keeping you updated on their progress.

The reason I offer this service is because I have worked with so many people who have full time jobs and fitting in training the dog has to wait until the weekend. There’s nothing wrong with this and I applaud all of the parents that spend their days off working to better their relationship with their dogs and make their time together more enjoyable, but if the weekend is the only time it’s happening then the behaviour will take a lot longer to correct and then people get fed up and tend to stop trying. So I find that by taking the dog out myself it gives them more opportunities to learn the behaviour that we want and makes things easier on their parents when they have to take over.

So if your dog walks cause you more pain than pleasure then why not give me a shout and we can discuss the best course of action for you and your furry friend.