Our focus at MAD for Dogs is to encourage and facilitate a better understanding of your dog as an individual.
By teaching the skills to recognise the needs of each individual dog we can then provide the tools and guidance necessary to create a calm connection for both ends of the lead.
We provide the equipment and create a safe non judgemental environment in which learning can take place.
We will start by introducing you and your dog to an activity called free-work which is part of Animal Centred Education aka ACE. Free-work is our conversation starter, a little bit like a first date, where we all get to know each and with the dog as our focus, we start to learn about them and their role in your lives.
Free-work offers choice, independence and freedom for your dog and taking part requires no training, they can just be themselves. We then have the opportunity to observe and gather information about them and their bodies. Comfort expands, discomfort restricts; low impact experiences on and off the lead help to improve balance and posture enabling dogs to release habitual behaviour and movement patterns. An animal that has fluid, flexible and efficient movement is able to settle more quickly in novel situations and recover more quickly if something does excite or worry them. The more you practice observing your dog and the more relaxed they become, the more you will see. As they move on different surfaces and textures igniting their sensory systems we may notice differences in their posture or the way they handle themselves that might shed light on behaviour patterns, or enable us to make small adjustments to their daily care that will vastly improve their well being.
It is beneficial for both dogs and their guardians as they relax, unwind and gain knowledge, providing a successful learning environment for other skills to be added.
There are many similarities between us and our dogs and by drawing the correlations between us and them and giving you examples of how your behaviour and moods can impact on them, we hope to help you better support the mental health of the dog that helps you with yours.
ACE incorporates methods developed by Sarah Fisher at Tilley Farm, concentrating on detailed observations and building calm foundations on which further learning can be established. At the foundation of ACE is Sarah Fishers' innovative Free Work developed from working with the dogs at Battersea and then energised by her learning journey with lovely bull breed Henry during 2018. Working with and learning from the inspirational Sarah Fisher over the years and being part of Animal Centred Education, there are sure to be exciting times ahead as we all collaborate and share this AM-ACE-ING work!
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