Useful Information - Article links provided by Heidi Doherty - Dog Behaviourist


There are over 450,000 pet dogs in Ireland (2017 statistics) with 61% of the population owning a pet dog or cat. My name is Suzi Walsh and I have been working with dogs professionally for the past 11 years, dog owners come to me to help them with their dog behavioural and training issues. For 5 years I was co-owner of one of the largest dog daycares in Ireland, caring for over 50 different dogs a day in an off lead cage free environment.

One of the most common behaviour issues that I work with is reactivity on lead resulting from dogs having inadequate exercise or traumatic incidents while restrained on a lead. A dog is far more likely to bite or have aggressive behaviour while on lead because they are unable to put sufficient distance between themselves and their fear or frustration, this is called the fight or flight response. Although I am not advocating that dogs are off the lead near roadways, I am encouraging safe off lead play and responsible ownership.

There are countless studies showing that having a dog, decreases blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and even the feelings of loneliness. Dog ownership also increases the opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities as well as human socialization, the presence of a dog also improves the mental well-being and immune system of children among countless other benefits.

Even though dog ownership is on the rise in Ireland it is also becoming far more difficult to fulfil the needs of the pet dog causing owner stress, behavioural problems and even abandonment for some dogs. In my professional experience so many behaviour problems including aggression are actually caused because the dog cannot burn off energy in an urban environment. There are very few if any dog parks which satisfy the welfare needs of the dog, the parks are poorly laid out, they are small and most of the time unfit for purpose.

Dog owners need to be taken into consideration by local councils and authorities, they need to be encouraging responsible dog ownership by working with dog owners and not against them.

Suzi Walsh, dog behaviourist.

The Calgary Model Explained - Bill Bruce

Bill Bruce changed the face of animal management in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and increased dog licence compliance to 95 per cent , all the while decreasing dog incidents and creating multi parks for all residents , with no segregation or isolation .   He is an advocate of training education information, consultation and proper enforcement when needed. He was the animal control manager in Calgary city and his model is what most  councils should strive to have. Click on the link below to see the video.

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Siobhan Owens - dog behaviorist
Dog Training Dublin Pet School | Dog Training in Dublin, Meath, Kildare. Ireland  
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* Allowing Dogs to Sniff Helps Them Think Positively - Psychology Today

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* Encouraging Dog Walking for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

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* Welfare of dogs: normal behaviour patterns

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