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The welfare of our dogs doesn't just rest with owners, but is our responsibility as well. In conjunction with the Code of Practice for Animal Welfare, we aim to take that further and ensure that at no point are any dogs placed into any kind of situation that could be of a physical or mental detriment. Our aim is to ensure that all dogs receive the highest standards of welfare throughout the experience.


We will not force any dog to conduct an activity that they do not feel comfortable doing. - There is nothing worse than forcing a dog to conduct an activity that it does not feel comfortable with.  A good chat with the owners beforehand helps to understand what the dog will be able to do.  We do not work on the principle of what the dog will "tolerate" but what it is actually happy to do.  Forcing the dog to do something outside of it's limits not only puts pressure on the dog, but also the owner, and that is not what we are about.

We will always be aware of how the dog behaves in their surroundings. - All dogs react differently in their surroundings, especially if it is a new area to them.  If they have never interacted with a cow, seen a squirrel etc, these are things that may cause an unwanted reaction through anxiety, nervousness, prey drive or curiosity.  Being able to understand how your dog reacts un an unfamiliar area allows us to plan accordingly and reduce the risks, whilst having an enjoyable session with your dog.

We will always consult owners and obtain a detailed history of what factors may affect a session. - Knowledge is key.  In many cases I will never have met your dog(s).  Understanding the needs and requirements of each dog is fundamental to conducting a successful session, and you the owners are the primary source of the background information.  Some questions may sound bizarre, but it all helps to paint a more rounded picture into which we can work and adjust as necessary.

We will always be aware of weather conditions, environmental aspects or proximity of other wildlife and dogs, and advise prior to any session if any aspects may change. - The safety and well being of your dog(s) is absolutely paramount along with yourselves and our team.  Weather is a constantly changing factor and we all react differently to different conditions.  Timings for all sessions are dependant on available lighting but temperature, rain, other wildlife, other dogs etc can have a huge impact on how well your dog(s) enjoy the session.  We will always consult and advise, and where required reschedule a session in order to to put any un-necessary pressure on you or your dog(s).

We will not tolerate any form of abuse towards any animal.-  Each dog is an individual character, they all react differently to any situation.  It is up to us to ensure that we all make this a happy experience. We do not accept any mistreatment of animals in any shape or form.  This also applies to dogs interacting with other animals.


For further information, please do get in touch.

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Stress is a commonly used word that describes feelings of strain or pressure.


Causes

The causes of stress are exceedingly varied. Perhaps you are stressed out by your job, you become nervous when meeting new people, or you get anxious when your daily routine is disrupted. To reduce stress levels, you may seek comfort in several ways. Maybe you find solace in the company of a trusted friend. Perhaps you relieve stress when occupied by routine chores like cleaning the house. Or maybe you blow off some steam with physical exercise. "Our dogs can become stressed too." Our dogs can become stressed too. Since we know how stress makes us feel, we certainly want to help alleviate our pet’s stress as well. However, our dogs do not voice their feelings, slam down the phone, or have a tantrum, so how can we tell they are stressed?


Indicators

The signs of anxiety in dogs are often subtle. In fact, some stress-related behaviours mimic normal behaviours. What are some of the indicators of stress in dogs? Pacing or shaking. You have seen your dog shake after a bath or a roll in the grass. That whole body shake can be amusing and is quite normal…unless it is occurring as the result of a stressful situation. For example, dogs are commonly stressed when visiting the veterinarian. Many dogs “shake it off” when they descend from the exam table and touch down on the ground. Dogs, like people, also pace when agitated. Some dogs walk a repeated path around the exam room while waiting for the veterinarian to come in. Whining or barking. Vocalization is normal self-expression in dogs but may be intensified when they are under stress. Dogs that are afraid or tense may whine or bark to get your attention, or to self soothe. Yawning, drooling, and licking. Dogs yawn when they are tired or bored, they also yawn when stressed. A stressful yawn is more prolonged and intense than a sleepy yawn. Dogs may also drool and lick excessively when nervous.

Changes in eyes and ears. Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera (white) than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head. Changes in body posture. Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopaedic problems shifts his weight to his rear legs or cowers, he may be exhibiting stress.

When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid. Panting. Dogs pant when hot, excited, or stressed. If your dog is panting even though he has not exercised, he may be experiencing stress. Changes in bodily functions. Like people, nervous dogs can feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. When your dog urinates shortly after meeting a new canine friend, he may be marking territory and reacting to the strain simultaneously. When faced with an unwelcome situation, dogs may “escape” by focusing on something else. They may sniff the ground, lick their genitals, or simply turn away.

Ignoring someone may not be polite, but it is surely better than being aggressive. If your dog avoids interaction with other dogs or people, do not force the issue. Respect his choice. Hiding or escape behaviour. An extension of avoidance, some tense dogs literally move behind their owners to hide. They may even nudge their owners to prompt them to move along. As a means of escape, they may engage in diversion activities such as digging or circling or may slink behind a tree or parked car.

How can I help my dog handle stressful situations?

In order to differentiate stress signs from normal behaviour, you must be familiar with your dog’s regular demeanour. Then you can tell if he is licking his lips because he is anxious or because he wants a treat. When relaxed, he will have semi-erect or forward-facing ears, a soft mouth, and round eyes. He will distribute his weight evenly on all four paws. Distinguishing normal behaviour from stress signs will help you quickly and effectively diffuse an uncomfortable situation. "If your dog is stressed, first remove him from the stressor." If your dog is stressed, first remove them from the stressor. Find a quiet place for them to regroup. Resist the urge to overly comfort them. If you want to pamper them with petting or treats, make them earn them first by performing an activity (e.g., sitting). Responding to routine commands distracts the dog and provides a sense of normalcy. It is amazing how comforting sit, down, and heel can be to a worried dog.

For further information, please do get in touch.

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