A bit about me…….I grew up around dogs. My Grandmother bred Shetland Sheepdogs, so from a very young age I was put to work with feeding, walking and cleaning out duties. This definitely taught me skills in reading body language and energies, even as a child.
We always had a pet dog in the family too but MY first dog was Samson, a rescued Rottweiler who joined my life at just 2 years old and changed it completely. Before meeting Samson, I had been reading every dog behaviour book I could find, wanting to learn more and more and more……
I decided to make this passion my profession and to help dogs and their owners understand each other better. So in 2011, I trained as a behaviourist and never looked back. In 2013 I qualified as a Dog Groomer too, so that I could provide a home from home service for dogs needing sprucing. I also left college with a qualification in First Aid for Dogs and Canine CPR.
In 2011 Samson underwent a cruciate ligament operation. He recovered completely but this experience sparked my interest in dogs’ diets and natural forms of medicine. Samson needed to be lean so that no added pressure was put onto his joints and I was warned too that arthritis may be a problem for him in the future. So I researched and then changed his food to the raw food diet, on which he thrived. I supplemented it too with appropriate herbs and plants to aid his recovery and maintain his general health and wellbeing long term.
In 2014 Samson did something that took my breath away and terrified me to the core. He swam an entire estuary in Devon whilst we were on holiday, to get to the sheep in the field on the other side. Luckily we got to him before anything unimaginable happened but this had me gobsmacked. I questioned myself and my knowledge. In a state of shock and fear, I sought help from another behaviourist. I learned a different approach that blew my mind and muddled my thoughts but somehow made complicated sense in a unique way and this has been my path and my approach ever since. Samson’s unexpected behaviour helped me to see dogs in a different light and also showed me how it felt to be a vulnerable, confused and frightened owner desperately trying to understand her dog and potentially save his life.
Samson often worked by my side during difficult cases so that I could follow his cues. My teacher, my soul mate and my best friend, we worked together to help create calm and balanced relationships between dogs and their owners. Unfortunately, I lost my boy at just 7 years old to bone cancer in September 2015. I remain broken hearted but eternally grateful that he came into my life and taught me all that he did. He was the wisest dog I have ever known, who set me on a path of discovery and learning that I will continue to follow for the rest of my life. He is missed every day but his lessons and wisdom live on.
In June 2016 I found Louis dog, a 12 week old puppy, looking to be rescued/re-homed. I am his third home and he has tested and taught me incredible amounts already. Although similar in breed (Rottweiler/English Bullmastiff cross), he is so completely different in character and personality from Samson and his lessons are so very different too. He teaches me daily (as all the dogs I work with do) and keeps me questioning, learning, understanding, communicating and striving to be the best I can be.
Samson’s ailments and my research/contribution to his wellbeing fuelled an interest in Zoopharmacognosy. A behaviour led method that focuses on a dogs approach toward selected essential oils, herbs and fatty acids, which it chooses to facilitate its own health, wellbeing and general maintenance, both physically and emotionally. In November 2017 I qualified as a Consultant in Applied Herbal Choices for Dogs and am awe struck again by how much more I am discovering about our canine friends.
In 2018 I decided to rename my business to be more in keeping with the changes in me and how I work. ‘Packleader Malvern’ became ‘A Dogs Approach’ which better describes my approach………connecting and communicating with dogs, to help dogs and their owners feel understood.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.