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Mendmydog Days

UPDATE 21/4/24: I am proud to announce that after 3 years of study, I have just received my Graduate Diploma Animal Behaviour Management Level 6 (Bachelor's Degree) by Compass which I have passed with Merit (2:1). My next step is to apply for Provisional Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CAB) with APBC so watch this space.

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It has been a very busy year for me, studying almost full time, alongside running The Surrey Ark Team and working on Behaviour Cases at the same time but I have loved it. I have recently found out that I have passed (with Merit) the Graduate Diploma in Animal Behaviour Management Level 6 which is Degree Level 1.1 administered by Compass and is Accredited by the ABTC (Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors) and Institute for Animal Care Education. This was a challenge for me in my middle years and going back to studying at Degree level but I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole research element and it has given my confidence a boost as I went into it with some trepidation. I have learned a lot too, never too old to learn as they say and in this business it is pretty much essential as new research is coming out all the time. It will soon be the case that Behaviourists will be regulated by law and quite rightly anyone working on dog behaviour issues will need to hold at least a Level 5 qualification and for more serious issues, a Level 6, which is what my next goal will be. I am now hoping to become an APBC Provisional Clinical Dog Behaviourist shortly.

Since Lockdown last year there have been many emerging issues for our dogs and puppies. With the current recession, many people are now giving up their dogs to rescue centres that are completely overwhelmed in many cases. This breaks my heart and I am a firm supporter of anyone who takes on a rescue dog. I have only ever had rescue dogs and probably will not change now as you save two dog's lives when you take on a rescue, the one you have adopted and the next dog who fills their space. Many are now being destroyed as there is simply not enough space for them.

I am seeing a lot more dog reactivity cases as we have all been dodging each other outside and this can affect how we have been walking our dogs, tension really can travel down the lead. Some dogs who have had bad experiences with other dogs, while young or adolescent when they are in a critical 'one time learning period, where owners have meant well and in an effort to socialise them, they have had bad experiences sometimes in poorly supervised situations, where they have been overwhelmsed by other much bossier/larger dogs and have subsequently developed fear and mistrust of other dogs. It is far better to have fewer but all positive experiences up until your dog leaves adolescence at 18 months to 2 years than bad experiences which can make them fear reactive around other unknown dogs. This is much harder to undo but easy to prevent. I am also seeing a lot of territorial guarding in the home, which is a potentially serious issue that always needs addressing as it can quickly escalate into aggression. I have got busier and busier which has been fantastic as there is nothing more I like than helping owners to overcome issues with their best friends and enjoy a happier and more relaxed life with them going forwards.

I finally lost my dear lifelong pal, Chip in January 2021 and this totally broke me for a while. Chip was my 'once in a lifetime' dog who will always be in my heart. It not for him I would probably not be doing what I do now. He was the most amazing dog and a challenge at times when he was young but ended up being my stooge dog around dog reactive dogs as he was just so chilled around dogs. Chip will be part of me forever and really helped our Romanian Rescue dog Fizz settle in. She misses him too.

I had a call from the ‘Dog’s Behaving (Very) Badly team asking if we could help with some reactive dogs that Graham Hall was training and take along some calm dogs to use. My daughter, Leah and myself took our old dog Chip and Rolo, one of our clients dogs who were superstars, see photo. The episode was shown on Channel 5 about a month ago. BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex On 26th January I was invited by Nicky Patrick to speak live on BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex about dogs on her Sunday night show ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ which I thoroughly enjoyed and had a lot of great feedback from.

Hope you are all ok out there, lots of love to you and your best friends x

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