It’s a sad fact that February and March usually see an upsurge in the number of abandoned dogs as the practical reality of those cute Christmas presents kicks in. But if you’re struggling to cope with the furry member of your family, help is at hand.
Pawfect Dogsense offers obedience training in Kings Heath Park and uses positive reinforcement to help train both dogs and their owners. As assistant trainer Sara says, “If you expect your dog to understand human, then you should make an effort to understand dog.”
“The first thing we do in puppy classes is to teach the owner how to desensitise their dog to touch and examination, which makes trips to the vet much easier.” Owners then learn how to get their dogs to sit, wait and come back, and the classes also help dogs socialise with each other. Trainer Hannah also offers agility sessions with jumps and hoops, socialisation walks and one-to-one training at home for a more individually tailored plan.
However, even with the most well behaved dogs, some owners struggle to find the time to give them the attention they need, and that’s where a professional pet sitter can help out. Since launching Second City Pet Services in June, Eleanor has helped care for dozens of local pets, including one African pigmy hedgehog. Her main business is dog walking, but she also feeds animals in their homes and boards pets at her own house while owners are on holiday.
“They provide everything,” she says, “food, bedding, toys, instructions. I just provide the care. I basically look after their pet as if it was my own.”
Sara urges anyone thinking of getting a dog to adopt from a shelter and give an abandoned pet a new home, while Eleanor is keen to stress the importance of doing your research, to prevent problems in the future.
“Too many people choose a dog on what it looks like and don’t realise how much exercise it needs. It’s important to pick a breed that is suitable for your family, your house and the amount of time you have.”
by Alexandra Taylor