Dana, Leo & Tas
Dana is now 18 months old she has become invaluable to us and the business. I am not at all religious but I do believe in karma, when Anna from ‘Love Underdogs’ first dropped her off I had no idea she would be so perfect and valuable when helping clients dogs. She had been abandoned as a puppy in the streets of Brasov. Missing out in such a formative period could have had disastrous consequences, fortunately thanks to the efforts of Brandusa and her son, (local dog charity workers who I have had the pleasure of meeting), she has turned into a fantastically social dog.
It is that sociability that I employ in the business, more specifically her willingness to play and her interpretation of a dog’s body language. For example I will put her in the down and approach with a client’s dog on the lead (I always handle the client’s dog initially), before their dog reacts I will start to circle Dana and watch her reactions. Her behaviour will tell me what is going on, the vast majority of times the client’s dog is normally anxious or just ignorant of how to interact properly. Of course on the few occasions that Dana has appeared wary the situation doesn’t get forced, but I then know that I need to take my time to prepare the client’s dog.
Teaching recalls are also easier with Dana’s help, for instance we get the two dogs playing then when the client calls their dog, Dana will come and sit in front of me. This leaves the other dog without the distraction, they will also see Dana being rewarded – model/rival behaviour – and it gives the client the opportunity to reward their dog for the correct behaviour, they then both get released again to play as a further reward. Incidentally Dana, Leo & Tas will come and sit in front of me whenever the client calls their dog, I normally don’t need to give them a command. This is simply because having done the exercise so many times that they are conditioned to return to me. In my outside group classes this is a long term aim for me, that all the dogs are conditioned to look at or return to their owners, as soon as one of them calls their dog.