Canine Nosesense is a practical foundation learning platform for anyone that is interested in gaining a better understanding of our canine companions. This is an integrated approach to canine education, teaching, empowering and motivating guardians in their understanding and application of each element and expanding on their skillset.
Combining my passion for scentwork with keen observational skills and having witnessed the added confidence and independence that grows in dogs by engaging in 'free work' (developed by Sarah Fisher), these and other techniques, form the foundation of my teaching. By demonstrating the art of observation and explaining the important significance of sensory enrichment and education, we work together to bring relaxation and confidence. We explore the sensory integration system and use Ttouch training principles such as bodywork and groundwork, incorporating games of engagement and applying teaching methodology inspired by other professionals working in the world of animal education and welfare.
Whether you are one person seeking to learn more about your furry family member or you are working with dogs as a dog walker, carer, or rescue worker, there are plenty of opportunities to gather information and improve your working relationship. By nurturing gentle, mindful interactions between dogs and their guardians, we can promote emotional, physical and mental wellbeing for both ends of the lead.
Puppies are born with two primary senses, smell and sensory awareness and as they go through their lives sometimes attention to these senses gets left behind. Canine Nosesense offers the opportunity to reengage with those important navigation life skills and gives insight into aspects of growing trust and building teamwork between guardians and their four-legged companions.
We have launched our ‘Stuff & Nosesense’ three-day course and will also be launching one day Canine ‘Sense-Ability' workshops especially for professionals that work in rescue organisations or with assistance dogs.
You can learn about the three-day course here Stuff & Nosesense
I have lived with dogs for over forty years and worked with them for the past twenty. I set up Four Paws Learning in 2015 when my passion for teaching and expanding and sharing the learning journey became a full-time profession. I am a Tellington TTouch Practitioner P1. A certified trainer and full member of INTO Dogs. A professional force free trainer and full member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPGBI) and an ISCP Affiliate Member.
My journey into nosework began as a volunteer with Dorset Search Dogs in 2012 where I learnt alongside an operational search team as a handler for two years. I then spent three years learning with Talking Dogs Scentwork ending in my accreditation as a Trainer and teaching TDS workshops throughout 2016/17. I have since completed the OCN Accredited Detection Handler Course at the UK College of Scent Dogs (UKCSD) and continue to work on further accreditation and involvement in support of the Bravehound charity.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop or would like to learn more about any aspect of what I do, please do not hesitate to contact me.
It's true, this will not be a long blog post and the subject on which I am writing only takes a minute or two too, though it can alter and influence the thinking of another person for a lot longer. I am talking about the gift of appreciation and what's more, it's free!!
I regularly walk with a lovely group of guardians and their dogs. We meet each week and I coach them in practising their skills in the real world. We have great fun learning about dog body language, consensual play and what it looks like, how to engage our dogs when there are distractions around, what protocols to follow around people and their dogs, how to relax in public places and a lot more besides. I love these walks and for me sometimes it feels like I am having far to much enjoyment and fun to be actually imparting important knowledge and influencing the behaviour of dogs and their guardians.
On the 15th December some of us were able to take time out to meet together for our festive lunch which was organised by one of the lovely guardians Kirsty. What a lovely job she did, from the germ of an idea grew a very well planned event with attention to the little details and everyone's needs catered for. This enabled us to have a precious time of sharing thoughts and aspirations, enjoying good food and company and made all the more special for me by the gifts I received from this lovely bunch of ladies..... firstly my shoes with my gorgeous Rossi plastered all over them, another Kirsty inspired idea and reminding me that it was my quest for knowledge to better understand my collie that led me to where I find myself today.
Secondly my Thankfulness Jar - the wonderful idea from Rachel and to which all the lovely ladies contributed. Over the course of the months we had been walking together the ladies had been given little notes to write their thoughts from the walks on what they had been learning or what had inspired them. I was advised to either open them all at once or save them for when I was having a bad day and then use them to cheer myself up. Such a very thoughtful gift and a brilliant way of inspiring, uplifting and showing appreciation.
I opened a couple then put them back in and have decided to share them throughout 2019 and use them to guide my teaching on the Four Paws Learning business page on FB. I always struggle to know how to keep the page ticking over as I don't want to spend all my time on FB, I very much like 'being in the moment' rather than taking pictures from the outside. So I think sharing some of what others have learnt and expanding on their thoughts would be a splendid way to travel through the year. So there you go ladies, you have paid it forwards and thank you again for making me feel so valued and treasured as your friend and teacher.
You will see I have shared just three so far and will expand on some of those during the first week of 2019!
A positive, peaceful and Happy New Year to everyone who has supported us here at Four Paws Learning and to those of you we have still to meet in person, we wish the same!
It's back to school week this week.
As I drove to an appointment early yesterday morning and found myself stuck in the inevitable queue of traffic outside a school, the pavements were swarming with families and little children taking their first trek to 'big school'. Little small people sporting new school uniforms, some smiling, some looking anxious, some posing for that 'first school photo', carrying bags that looked to big for their tiny frames, some talking animatedly, others silent and tight lipped holding onto their parents hand.
The parents too, not sure whether to be happy or sad as their youngster becomes a school goer, wondering how they will cope on their first day; ready with those words of encouragement, reassurance and support as they usher them into the school gates. They have the wisdom and foresight to realise that at the end of that first day, most of the fears and insecurities will be forgotten and instead new words will be added to their vocabulary, they will have made a new friend, have added new experiences and new skills to their learning foundations and they will be tired, hungry and ready for home.
What struck me in that short period of just sitting and observing, was the individuality of each little group I looked at. There was a different emotion on every face and I could see each parent responding, some with a gentle reassuring arm around small shoulders, some sorting out a dishevelled uniform or tidying messy hair and each one ministering to the needs of their child and showing respect for their feelings and acknowledging their worries. No doubt at other times some of the behaviour of their children might not receive such an empathetic response but today, because of the day and the anticipation that has built up to towards it as the end of the summer holidays approached, most parents would be totally understanding and not expecting anything apart from nerves and excitement.
They understand that their little person is about to embark on the first level of social learning on their own and for maybe the first time in their lives will have mixed emotions. They may well have voiced theirs fear of 'I need to know where the loo is' and 'how do I know where to go,' 'what do I have to do first' 'what do I say when I speak to a teacher' the list of new experiences and fears to overcome will be easy for some and daunting for others, all feelings are valid and all taken into account, because we as humans should have respect for each other.
What has this to do with dogs you might ask? for me, respect is one of the first things I explain to any of my clients, especially if I am working with a puppy. What does respect look like when engaging with a dog, whether it's your own or one you meet in the street? To get it right and show respect takes the same forethought and care as dealing with a child. Science has proven that dogs are sentient beings, capable of emotion and reading our expressions, and what's more, each dog is an individual, not a one size fits all. That first social canine human interaction can set the tone for the rest of the conversation.
So if you would like to practise some new skills when meeting and greeting canines here are a few guidelines.....
When meeting a puppy for the first time....
There are many other subtle signs and then there are those dogs that have tried being polite, have not been respected and then feel the need to growl, bark or show teeth and even defend their space. I don't think any of us would feel proud if we reduced a child to screaming, crying and lashing out with their fists. It really is time to give dogs the same consideration and respect. Give them choice so they don't need to use their voice.
Lets go back to school and re learn respect, care and consideration for humans and canines alike.
Puppies learn to communicate at an amazingly early age, despite being born blind and deaf they are able to source everything they need to survive when they first arrive in the world, by using their super powerful nose!
As their sensory skills develop they follow their nose and by pushing along with their feet they move their little bodies. Exploring on their bellies and experiencing novel surfaces is the start of mobility and awakening their tactile senses, increasing confidence to negotiate what will become their familiar surroundings.
As time progresses their mouths become part of their learning tools too. They learn that jostling a sibling at the milk bar can gain them access to a prime place to suckle. As they get stronger, their limbs and muscles develop and their eyes open, followed shortly by the ability to hear.
They are already learning a language that will stay with them all their lives to communicate with their own kind. Learning how to join that conversation is where we start to develop our bond with these incredible beings.
Studies have shown that puppies have a critical learning window between 5 - 16 weeks of age. During this time it is most important that puppies have appropriate education for each stage of their development. Early introduction to stimuli such as novel surfaces, size appropriate unusual objects, soft toys to explore, different textures, mindful body work, sights and sounds. These should all be started with care and consideration by the breeder as part of habituation to home life and the environment.
Teaching social skills with people and other dogs should always be supervised and carried out in the most pleasant and positive way possible being mindful to set up the surroundings and ensure that the puppy is feeling safe and on familiar territory. Give choice.
In an ideal world each puppy will be shown respect and offered the ability to choose to engage with humans, not just picked up because they are small and cuddly, but rather have the human sit on the floor and allow the puppy to approach them.
The lessons learnt at this formative time will be those which will become part of your dogs learning history and form the basis of how he/she will respond when faced with different scenarios in the future.
I have been breeding for 23 years and have always striven to produce confident well balanced puppies. As part of my dedication to keep up to date with current methods in both the breeding world and the training world, I have attended and continue to attend workshops and seminars to expand my knowledge. Applying what I have taken from the seminars and workshops over the years to my own litters and adult dogs, enables me to see for myself what works for us. I am passionate about canine education and I offer help and support to those seeking to breed well balanced puppies, or effectively educate adolescent and adult dogs.
All my canine education and the work I now do with my litters has at it's foundation the Tellington TTouch Training method. I am supported as a part of INTODOGS as a Full Trainer Member, acknowledging that welfare for both human and canine and having an ethical approach to teaching is at the forefront of all we strive to achieve.
All my teaching is based on four key skills,
Here at Four Paws Learning I help you lay those foundations with your puppy or build them with your adolescent or adult dog. Giving you practical advice and ideas to build a fun relationship with your puppy built on mutual trust and understanding. All the teaching is FORCE FREE and based on the scientific principle of progressive positive reinforcement.
Appreciating that busy professional people and families leading busy lives can sometimes find it difficult to integrate training the four legged member of the family into a hectic daily schedule, I give the opportunity for you to press the 'easy' button and let me do it for you. I teach puppies and dogs in real life situations and in lots of different scenarios.
Day Training is a convenient and effective, bespoke training package, tailored to your requirements and goals. I teach your dog in a mindful gentle and positive manner and then help you achieve the understanding of the skills and methods used so you can maintain the behaviour. The result will be a relaxed and happy dog that is a pleasure to live with. If you would rather have a more hands on approach through the whole process then please take a look at my 121 Learning and I am happy to modify any services to suit your individual requirements.
"Spreading the word on how dogs learn and communicate, not just as puppies, but for the rest of their lives."
Copyright Four Paws Learning 2018