I felt compelled to put together a (long overdue) blog post now that the year is coming to a close, showing your dog's progress on group walks in 2022.
Putting together a group walk is not always easy. There are lots of things to take into consideration.
Is the location appropriate for all dogs on the walk? What type and how much wildlife is there going to be on this walk? Is visibility good or are there lots of trees or twists and turns? What are each individual dog's likes and dislikes and capacity to cope with the environment and the other dogs' temperaments? Do their play styles match? Do they play at all? Is there going to be any/much lead walking? Is the terrain suitable for any older dogs? How far do you have to travel?
There is so much to think about that it's much more than just piling 5 dogs into a van and rocking up to the moors.
I pride myself on getting to know all my dogs well and learning their individual wants and needs and making sure their mental and physical wellbeing is protected on all walks. Getting to know my dogs well allows them more freedom and I make use of long lines, marker words and rewards to keep them safe and help shape new behaviours where possible.
I wanted to give a shout out to all my dogs for the progress they've made this year and I hope it makes you smile when you spot your dog and their friends...
Molly is a very sweet little Macedonian rescue dog with a big instinct for chasing things that move.
Molly is always on a long training line (Houndagrips for anyone interested in a good long line, waterproof and coated in rubber webbing to avoid rope burn) for her own safety and through marking and rewarding any orientation to me, her focus on me out and about has improved massively. She is very cuddly and always goes crackers when I come to pick her up, I definitely have a big soft spot for Molls!
Where do I even begin? In January of this year when I took Jasper on, he was scared of me and wouldn't let me touch him let alone put his harness on. I was very careful not to push him to do anything he wasn't comfortable with but as his dad needed him walking 5 days a week you can imagine how difficult this could be. I had doubts that it would work out and was worried Jasper would never feel okay about me.
Working with Jasper's mum and dad I spent time outside of work having coffee with them in their home, chatting and getting to know Jasper with no pressure for him to interact with me. Gradually he started to approach me on his own terms, take food and one day he asked me to play! I was over the moon and then it just clicked. He happily let me put his harness on, he would ask me for food and belly rubs, he would lick me and jump up on me, he would orient to me if he felt vulnerable, and now when I come to pick him up I get the same amazing warm welcome that he reserves for his family!
I started walking the beautiful Bebe in June of this year when she was 10 months old and it's been such a pleasure to watch her progress. Her dad has put in a lot of effort to her training and it shows! Bebe walks nicely on a lead (except if one of her friends trots off ahead and then she goes into meerkat mode standing on two legs so she doesn't miss anything!), and her recall has come on in leaps and bounds. She is very respectful of other dogs' boundaries, she doesn't try to play with dogs who don't want to but she will happily play for hours with her boyfriend Abe who never says no!
For this reason I am very pleased to be able to take her on walks with my own dog who doesn't tolerate dogs pushing her about to play but is very happy to sniff and gently say hello and get to know dogs in a respectable and dignified manner. Bebe and Badger get along very well and Bebe even gave Badge a cheeky kiss on the face today which was far too cute.
My big sensitive baby! The afternoon group would be missing something special without Abey Baby.
I took Abe on towards the start of last year and when he was newly rescued by his fab mum (also mum to Queen Patch). When I first started walking him he had zero recall and would happily bugger off to see anybody and everybody but with lots of work from his family and with the regular group walks, staying on a long line and lots of marking and rewarding, Abe is a reformed character.
I have big trust in Abe these days, he can recall away from other dogs and people all the time and he is such a pleasure to walk. Despite his size and strength he is very sensitive and in tune with your emotions. If you're having a hard day, you need a cuddle off Abe and everything will be alright.
Heidi and Tia
Two beautiful Collie GSD Cross sisters who have become an integral part of All Creatures. They're both so different but equally fun and sweet.
They've settled nicely into groups that suit their individual needs. Being part Collie they both struggle with herding inappropriate things sometimes but both present differently. Heidi will chase cars and Tia will herd other dogs, so she is placed with dogs that aren't fast moving and don't initiate play with her.
Tia is very cuddly and frequently stops what she's doing to run over and shove her butt against my leg for scritches, and Heidi finds the biggest stick she can and rams it into my leg repeatedly so I know she's found a good one.
These two make me laugh every week and I love them both.
Bruno joined the gang in January of this year. He's a sweet, soft 12 year staffy with a penchant for treats and singing. He talks to me constantly, no matter what he's doing, he's vocalising about it. Whether he's excited when I get to his house, rolling around on the grass, shouting at me for taking to long to pick up a poo or telling me he wants food or a stroke, he is literally always singing about something.
Bruno walks beautifully on the lead and has a very gentle nature. He gets along with everyone, dog or people, and just toddlers along taking his time and enjoying just being out in nature with his friends. As Bruno has gotten older, his hearing is failing and for his own safety he walks on a lead now but occasionally he wants a blast around with his mates and we go to a more enclosed place and clip his long line on and he charges around like a puppy again!
No progress necessary as she is literal perfection, but she gets an honorary mention for being unashamedly Patch 😂
I can't mention everybody as I will be here all night but here's a little gallery of the rest of our amazing pooches.
Thank you for reading!